Guatemala and Colombia - Spring 2020

Program Details

Participants in this semester cross-cultural will experience a window into the world of Guatemala (10 weeks) and Colombia (4 weeks) with their diversity of peoples, religion, cultures, and economics.

EMU students will live with host families in Guatemala City while intensively studying Spanish. Along with Spanish classes, students will investigate culture, history and current issues including migration, environment, violence, and economics.  We focus especially on religion including peace-building efforts by Catholic, Protestant and Mayan groups. Planned travel in small groups and a service-learning component will allow students to engage in independent learning within the region.  Following this time in Guatemala, we will transition to Colombia for 4 weeks where students will participate in small-group learning tours about peace-building and reconciliation, analyzing regional variations and the current Colombian realities.  Travel to several different regions in Guatemala and Colombia will round out the semester and enable students to compare the two countries’ history, culture and the splendid landscapes. 


Estimated Cost: Tuition, room & board plus $1,700 travel fee (subject to change)
Semester Leaders:  Laura Yoder, Nursing and Peyton Erb
Enrollment: 22 students
Credits: 15 semester hours

Course Descriptions

CCSSC 201 Cross-Cultural Social Science 3 SH
Students will live with families and study culture in context to learn skills of adaptation and empathy, as well as ability to analyze one’s own and host cultures.

Spanish Language 6 SH: Two of the following courses, placement based on previous knowledge:
CCSPA 110, 120 Elementary Spanish I & II
CCSPA 210, 220 Intermediate Spanish I & II
CCSPA 312, 322 Adv. Conversational Spanish I & II

CCHIS 312 Latin American History and Current Issues 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 the strengths and challenges in the host countries and region. 

CCREL 307 Religion in Society (CIW) 3 SH
This interdisciplinary course will emphasize the interaction between Catholic, Protestant (including Mennonite), and Indigenous faith expressions; the current political and economic climate; peacebuilding initiatives; and local music, literature, and art.


Health Risks

  • Zika virus is a risk in Guatemala.

Pregnant women should not travel to Guatemala because Zika infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects.
Partners of pregnant women and couples planning pregnancy should know possible risks to pregnancy and take preventive steps. Before travel, those planning pregnancy should talk to their doctor or other healthcare provider.
All travelers should follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during and after their trip. Travelers should also use condoms during and after their trip to prevent sexual transmission of Zika. This will protect against getting Zika while traveling and stop its spread to others back home.

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