On location in Guatemala
A beautiful land of mountains, volcanoes and lakes, Guatemala is known for its colorfully dressed people, Mayan ruins, and coffee. Suffering from the aftermath of a civil war that lasted more than three decades, Guatemala now must address the needs of the poor while at the same time preserving its natural resources (especially the tropical forests that cover its northern half). For more than a century the nation has been controlled by its army and a small number of wealthy families. On the bottom are the indigenous Mayans, who work Guatemala’s famous coffee plantations and make up more than half the population. Most still speak their native language though Spanish is dominant.
During your time in Guatemala you will deeply immerse yourself in the culture. You’ll meet Guatemalans and learn about their lives through the friendships you make in your ministry sites and language school and through your life in the community. The SI staff, made up of Guatemalans and Americans, will guide you in navigating the various and exciting aspects of engaging in the cultures of the area.
Magdalena Milpas Altas
Students International does community development in the village of Magdalena Milpas Altas, near the town of Antigua and about an hour outside of the capital Guatemala City. With a population of around 10,000, Magdalena and the surrounding mountains are home to a variety of ministry sites. We are in partnership with the local church there as well as schools, farms, senior care homes, and clinics.
Students also spend time in nearby Antigua. Founded on March 10, 1543, Antigua was at one time the capital of all of Central America. Guatemala is home to more than 30 volcanoes, three of which surround the valley Panchoy in which Antigua sits. Fuego, the tallest at 12,300 feet, is the only one of the three that remains active. Antigua is known for its cobblestone streets, colorful architecture and amazing markets.
You will also travel on the Global Bridge program, visiting various cultural and historical centers as well as many natural wonders of this beautiful Central American country. Excursions are subject to change, but typically include:
- Lago de Atitlán, surrounded by volcanoes and one of the most beautiful lakes in the world
- Panajachel, a unique mountain town on the shores of Atitlán
- Famous Mayan archeological sites
- Guatemala City, the bustling capital boasts parks, museums, and the national palace
- Pacific Coast, the coast features quaint seaside villages and black sand beaches