On the Guatemala Program, CSB/SJU students live and study in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, in the Guatemalan highlands.  This is the second largest city in Guatemala, often referred to by its Mayan name "Xela".  This city is located 80 miles west of Guatemala City.

Program Highlights

  • The program includes 3 weekend excursions to Antigua, Lake Atitlan, and Mexico.  In addition, there is a week long excursion to Tikal.
  • One-on-one language instruction daily propels students Spanish language skills throughout the semester.
  • With its volcanoes, rainforests, and shorelines, Guatemala makes for many great outdoor adventures.
  • Optional Pre-Health track: take full advantage of the Guatemala program while adding a special focus on Medical Spanish and Public Health Issues in Guatemala.


The academic program has two phases. During the first five week phase (Phase I), students focus on language learning through daily, intensive, one-on-one instruction in Spanish. During the second ten week phase (Phase II), students continue with 3 to 4 days a week of one-on-one Spanish instruction, and add 1 to 2 elective courses from a range of subjects: Theater of the Oppressed, Mayan culture, and Central American history. During Phase II, students also start their service learning placements. The Study Abroad Seminar course, group activities, and program excursions span both phases. The program serves students of Spanish, Latino/Latin American Studies, Peace Studies and a wide range of humanities and social sciences. The program is offered in 2 tracks:

Guatemala Studies Track (prereq: HISP 112)

Registration includes:

  • 4 cr. Study Abroad Seminar
  • 4 cr. Spanish language course at the appropriate level during Phase I
  • 4 cr. Spanish language course at the appropriate level during Phase II*
  • 4-8 cr. Elective course(s)

* Students who complete HISP 312 prior to study abroad will take HISP 363 during Phase I; during Phase II they will not take a Spanish language course for credit, but instead will enroll in 2 elective courses for 8 credits

Pre-Health Track (prereq: HISP 112)

Registration includes:

  • 4 cr. Study Abroad Seminar
  • 4 cr. Spanish language course at the appropriate level during Phase I
  • 4 cr. Medical Spanish language course at the appropriate level during Phase II
  • 4 cr. Elective course
  • 2 cr. Public Health Issues Course (taught in English)

For a complete list of classes please refer to page 2 of the Guatemala brochure.

Experiential Learning and Activities

CSB/SJU works very closely with our partner in Xela, Celas Maya, to provide students a variety of activities to truly experience la vida guatemalteca. Students enjoy activities such as cooking classes, soccer games, visits to indigenous co-ops and markets, and Wednesday night salsa dancing.  Additionally, students who participate on the Guatemala program will find that service is built very naturally into the program - all study abroad students are required to complete service with a local community agency.  Previous placements have included schools, non-profits, environmental agencies, and fair trade organizations. All of these out-of-the classroom experiences combine to provide students a rich and engaging experience abroad.


Participants live one-to-a-family in homes in Guatemala. Meals are provided in their home. This meal arrangement covers the duration of the academic program and is included in the cost of the program. On excursions the director will arrange for some group meals, but students will be responsible for other meals.

Program Dates

The approximate program dates for Guatemala are early January to early May.

Financial Considerations

For more information on the Program Fees for this program, please refer to the Guatemala Program Brochure. Another great resource is the Financing your Experience brochure. This brochure includes estimates of what past participants spent on this program, along with information regarding scholarships and financial aid for study abroad.

See which Scholarships you may qualify for with participating on this program. 

Explore Further

Spring 2020 Program Director: Elena Sanchez Mora, Hispanic Studies

Spring 2021 Program Director: Roy Ketchum, Hispanic Studies

Program Advisor: Nicole Clements, Center for Global Education