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Latin America: Guatemala and Cuba

Cross-cultural semester: Spring 2004

Program Description

Participants in the Central American semester will experience a window into another world- the world of Guatemala and Cuba; a world with a diversity of people, religion, economic status and a history of revolutions.

EMU students will spend significant time with CASAS (Central American Study and Service), a cross-cultural study program in Guatemala. The first two months, participants will live with families in Guatemala City while studying Spanish and learning about the culture, history and issues facing the people of Guatemala. In addition, there will be a special focus on peace-building efforts by Catholic, Protestant and Mayan groups. Following this time of intensive Spanish study, students will travel independently for one week within Guatemala or neighboring Mexico, Honduras, Belize or El Salvador.

In the final three weeks of the CASAS program, students will be placed with organizations throughout Guatemala for a learning/service assignment. Options include working in a health clinic, women's cooperative, appropriate technology center, orphanage, or in the construction of homes. The work setting is selected with students once they are in Guatemala.

At the beginning of April, the group will spend two weeks in Cuba, a country quite different from Guatemala. The Martin Luther King Center will host our group as we learn about and experience the reality of Cuba and relate it to the Guatemalan experience. The EMU group will return to Guatemala in time for Holy Week activities in Antigua and a final retreat at Lake Atitlan to reflect on the new relationships and understandings from the semester and discern individual/group responses.

Semester Leaders: Nathan & Elaine Zook Barge

Enrollment: maximum 22 students

Course Credits: 15 Semester Hours

Course Descriptions:

CCUS 202 Cross-Cultural Understanding 3 SH

In Guatemala, students will live with families and study culture in context to learn skills of adaptation and empathy, as well as ability to critique one's host and native culture.

SPANISH LANGUAGE Six semester hours at one of the following levels (placement based on previous knowledge):

  • CCSPA 102, 112 Elementary Spanish I & II 6 SH
  • CCSPA 202, 212 Intermediate Spanish I & II 6 SH
  • CCSPA 302, 312 Advanced Conversational Spanish I & II 6 SH

CCHUM 302 History of Central America 3 SH

Students will study the highlights of Pre-Columbus, colonial, independence and contemporary periods. This will be the foundation for our understanding of current events and problems.

CCPSC 302 Contemporary Issues 3 SH

This course will consider current social and political issues with an emphasis on peacebuilding efforts of the Protestant and Catholic churches as well as Mayan groups in Chiapas and post-war Guatemala. There will be a special focus on the Anabaptist response in this context of violence.

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