Trip Overview

Spend 13 days immersed in the historic culture of San Miguel Escobar. You’ll dive deeply into the daily details of Guatemalan life, from traditional Mayan culture to current economy, politics & social issues. LEarn more by watching the 3 short videos below, and reading “What to Expect” (scroll down to see).

CHange in perspective: Visiting Central AMerica’s Largest Dump

Change in perspective, poverty, and discrimination. Students visit Guatemala City’s dump, located in the middle of Guatemala City. It is home to over 5,000 people.

Guatemala: student initiated, community driven

We work together with students and staff in our sister community, San Miguel Escobar on four projects: clean and efficient stove installation, working on a coffee cooperative, reforestation, and volunteering at Hospital Hermano Pedro


Connections and Community: Relationships create lasting change

We believe that relationships and connections are what spark the fire for real change. See how our students connect with one another and their world —see the impact for yourself!

On the trip, STUDENTS WILL:

  • Start their journey by connecting with journey mates during a 2-day leadership retreat here in Fort Collins.

  • Stay with an experienced host family who will share traditional meals – and fresh tortillas – each day

  • Choose from four meaningful service projects, including reforestation in the hills of Pastores, constructing clean cookstove, connecting with patients at Hospital Hermano Pedro, or working on a small coffee farm.

  • Dive into the culture with salsa dancing lessons, and the chance to witness a traditional Mayan wedding ceremony.

  • Learn about the politics of coffee, as they interview small coffee farmers about the cultivation and export.

  • Explore a deep cross-section of Guatemalan life with a tour of the Guatemala City Dump, a tour of local nonprofit, and the intersection of Mayan tradition with modern life on a visit to Antigua.

Service Learning

Most days in Guatemala start with several hours volunteering on a service-learning project. Participants choose between construction of primary schools, reforestation, work on a coffee farm or service in a local hospital.

GL International’s service-learning philosophy is also one of humility – participants are not there to fix a problem or to help the helpless. They work alongside Guatemalans on projects the local community has deemed valuable or necessary, learning about the potential for solidarity and service within the Central American contexts. For that reason, service projects often change from one year to the next, as our local partners work with the community to identify where need exists.  GLers have much to learn from their Guatemalan counterparts, and by working together – building team bonds and strong relationships – they do. GL staffers, along with host country staff and student work-team leaders, develop meaningful and challenging discussions and reflections to help participants unpack and understand the experiences they have.

The biggest goal of service learning abroad is that our students step out of their comfort zones. After their year-long participation in service and leadership at home, they have develop the skills, awareness, openness, and confidence to act. Service-learning abroad is an opportunity to put those skills into practice in a much different context. By overcoming new barriers – different language, different cultural background, different values – students are even more empowered to lead the charge to any challenge, and effect positive change