The spring 2022 intercultural group visits Tikal, an ancient Mayan citadel in the rainforests of northern Guatemala. (Photo by Laura Glick Yoder)

Spring intercultural settling in at CASAS, Guatemala City

Students traveling in Guatemala for EMU’s semester intercultural program are just passing the one-month mark. Between settling into host families, starting language classes at CASAS, navigating public transportation and new surroundings, and digging into issues such as privilege, sustainability, and wealth disparities, the first leg of their journey has been full of rich learning experiences.

Junior Emma Hochstetler speaks to her experience so far:

The honeymoon phase is a thing of the past and some days feel harder than others.

Some days consist of Valentine’s Day card-making in the beautiful garden at CASAS, followed by cookies and chocolates, and a group sleepover before boarding our sunrise flight to Northern Guatemala.

Some days consist of language barriers, frustrating cultural differences, noticeable machismo, group dynamic challenges, upset stomachs, and complete physical/mental/emotional exhaustion.

But most days, it’s all intertwined.

Read more from Hochstetler on EMU’s intercultural program blog.

Led by nursing program director and professor Laura Glick Yoder, the group of 16 students are learning more about cultural, religious, and societal issues within a Central American context. The focus of this intercultural experience is for students to explore the meaning, purposes, and impacts of borders (both literal and figurative), by asking two questions:

  • What might it mean to see and experience the world without borders, a place of boundless opportunity for peaceful human relationships and flourishing for all?
  • How can we integrate our faith into responses to cultural differences and the presence of borders?

In addition to the Guatemala intercultural experience, EMU’s Washington Community Scholars’ Center has continued programming. Read about the 15 students completing internships in DC this semester. Visit the intercultural program homepage to see summer 2022 trips, including Spain with Deanna Durham and Byron Peachey, and the West, with Kimberly Schmidt.

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