Guatemala & Cuba 2024

Guatemala & Cuba - Spring 2024

During this intercultural semester, we will experience two very different Spanish-speaking countries – Guatemala and Cuba. Through homestays, language study, field trips and travel, we will have the opportunity to build relationships and learn in two countries with diverse populations, religions, economies and histories of resistance and resilience. Each student will be asked to think critically about the interrelatedness of resistance and resilience historically and currently, the role church and state have played in each and our connections as US citizens. We will be challenged and inspired by individuals and groups working at reparation and restoration in both countries.

EMU students will spend the first 7 weeks with CASAS (Central American Study and Service), a language and culture study program in Guatemala City. Following intensive Spanish study, students will have a week of independent travel in small groups in the region before their 2-week learning/service assignment with a Guatemalan organization.

The last three weeks will be spent in Cuba. The Martin Luther King Jr. Center will host our group as we learn about and experience the reality of Cuba, relate it to the Guatemalan experience, and discern our individual and group responses to all we have learned this semester.


Seminar Leaders: Elaine Zook Barge & Nathan Barge
Estimated Cost: $2,400 travel fee + Tuition, Room & Board


ICSSC 201 Intercultural Social Science: Guatemala & Cuba 3SH
In both countries, 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 native and host cultures.

ICREL 302 Religion, Culture and Economics in Guatemala and Cuba 3SH (CIW)
This interdisciplinary course emphasizes the interaction between Catholic, Protestant (including Mennonite), and Indigenous faith expressions; current political and economic climate; peacebuilding initiatives; and local music, literature, and art. Students will also explore the role of faith in gang and immigration issues.

ICHIS 301 History through a Trauma and Resilience Lens 3SH
Students will study the history of Guatemala and Cuba using the Strategies of Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) model as an analysis and assessment tool for understanding current events and ongoing cycles of violence in these host countries. In addition they will learn about processes and tools individuals and communities in these countries have used to address trauma, heal wounds and build resilience.

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


Immunizations and prescriptions may be obtained at EMU Health Services by appointment.
Immunizations may also be obtained from your local health department or primary care provider.

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