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  • Locations: Antigua, Guatemala
  • Program Terms: Spring
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Language Prerequisite: Yes Housing Options: Homestay
Language of Instruction: English, Spanish Program Including Multi-Country Travel: No
Program Type: Bethel Sponsored and Consortium Program Internship/Service-Learning/Practicum Availability: Yes
Program Meets Bethel Residency Requirement: Yes Minimum GPA: 2.5 or above
Eligibility by Grade Level: 2-sophomore, 3-junior, 4-senior Areas of Study: Reconciliation Studies, Social Work, Sociocultural Studies, Sociology, Spanish
Program Name: Guatemala Term (Bethel) Open to all majors: Yes
Gen Ed Tags: G - Comparative Systems, Z-tag Cross-Cultural Experience
Program Description:

Guatemala Photo TitleGuatemala Term 2020

Program Description • Spring 2020

Guatemala Term is a cross-disciplinary program designed to provide students an opportunity to improve their ability to communicate in Spanish, to participate in the cultures of Guatemala, to develop an understanding of the connections between community ministry and community development, and integrate experiential learning with formal academic study.

 • Learn Spanish by studying one-on-one with a Guatemalan language instructor
 • Serve in a community-based ministry located in the nearby villages of Antigua
 • Live with a Guatemalan family
 • Immerse yourself in Guatemalan culture
 • Experience a life-changing semester

Partner Agencies

• Students International (SI) hosts students for the semester. SI is a nonprofit, evangelical Christian mission organization that strives to serve the poor through long-term community development ministries.  SI intentionally provides students with opportunities for dynamic hands-on experiences that relate to their specific major and skills. Qualified Guatemalan and North American staff members oversee the specific long-term projects and are involved in the community-oriented lifestyle of the organization. Each ministry site is structured to facilitate student engagement and provides an opportunity to be part of an ongoing ministry that will impact many for the Gospel.
• Centro Lingüístico Maya (CLM) is a language school certified by the Guatemalan Ministries of Education and Tourism.  Located near downtown Antigua, CLM offers individualized instruction and optional weekly field trips to sites around Antigua, and other cultural activities.
• Seminario Anabautista Latinoamericano (SEMILLA) in Guatemala City provides several days of orientation at the beginning of the semester as well as the opportunity for students to complete their coursework and process their experience at the end of the term.

• Completion of at least one year of college-level Spanish (through Introductory II) or the equivalent.
• Minimum sophomore standing
• Minimum 2.5 GPA
• See application for additional policies

Next steps/Contact Info

• Talk with your academic advisor – off-campus study should complement your field of study.
• Ask questions – contact International Studies (651.638.6549) or Laura Sánchez, Program Director (651.638.6092), for additional information.
• Learn more online:
  - E-mail:
  - Instagram:
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  - Centro Lingüístico Maya:
  - Students International:

Within an hour’s drive of the capital of Guatemala City lies the picturesque town of Antigua where Spanish colonial influence remains visible in baroque architecture, cobblestone streets, and Catholic cathedrals. This colorful town and its surrounding villages, specifically rural Magdalena where students complete their internship and stay with host families, provide the setting for Guatemala Term.  Participants learn about the history and culture of Guatemala through interaction with host families, language teachers, missionaries, and from visits to historic sites and communities served through ministry.

Travel (subject to change)
Students have the opportunity to explore many regions in Guatemala through
travel (included in program fee).  Travel sites include:

Tikal  A famous Mayan archeological site in the jungle of northern Guatemala, Tikal was a major urban center of the Americas, behind only Mexico and Peru in influence in the third and fourth centuries. Giant pyramids and other structures remain for students to climb and explore.

Panajachel A unique town that provides a gateway to Lake Atitlán, a 12-mile mountain lake over 300 feet deep and surrounded by volcanoes, with many villages situated on its shores.

Pacific Coast  A short getaway to the coastal town of San José in Guatemala will introduce you to a new climate and landscape in Latin America which include the black volcanic sand beaches.

Guatemala City  “Contrast” best describes this capital city.  History, modernity, poverty and wealth are just some of what one can expect to experience.

There is also time for independent travel on weekends and spring break (examples such as Semuc Champey, Volcano hikes, hot springs, etc) as well as the many 'mini' activities located in Antigua (including coffee and chocolate workshops, eco farms, colonial ruins, weaving lessons, salsa classes, etc). 

The program begins with orientation at SEMILLA.  The semester is divided into alternating blocks during which students work intensively at ministry sites or study Spanish at the language school.  Program concludes with debriefing and preparation for re-entry at SEMILLA.  Spring Break is the week before Easter (Semana Santa).

The group will tentatively depart for Guatemala on January 26th and return on May 16th, 2019. Guatemala Term does not conflict with on-campus interim at Bethel.

April 15th        Initial Application Deadline
Oct. 15th         Final Application Deadline
Nov. 13th        Study Abroad Orientation 
January           Final Program Payment with Spring 2019 Bill
Jan 26             Planned Departure
May 16             Planned return

Courses (14 credits total)
Spanish Language Courses (course descriptions available online)    8 credits

Students study individually with a language instructor from Centro Lingüístico Maya, and receive credit for two of the following courses:

SPA 203    Intensive Intermediate Spanish I in Guatemala. 4 credits.
Synthesis and expansion of language study in order to further develop communicative language ability. Study of the rich cultural diversity in the Spanish-speaking world, including topics such as family structures, racial diversity, and perspectives on death and the afterlife. Intensive one-on-one interaction with Guatemalan instructor. Prerequisite: SPA 102S or placement exam.

SPA 204    Intensive Intermediate Spanish II in Guatemala. 4 credits.
A further development of communicative language ability through the study of the rich cultural diversity in the Spanish-speaking world. Topics include religious practices, Hispanics in the United States, and violations of human rights. Intensive one-on-one interaction with Guatemalan instructor. Prerequisite: SPA 201, SPA 203, or placement exam.

SPA 291    Ibero-American History in Guatemala. 4 credits.
An examination of key historical processes in Spain, Latin America, and the Spanish-speaking communities in the United States with a focus on social, economic, political, geographic, and religious dimensions. Prerequisite: SPA 202UZ, SPA 204, SPA 208, or placement exam.

SPA 300    Intro to Hispanic Literature. 4 credits.
Readings in novels, essays, short stories, poetry, newspapers, and magazines from Latin America and Spain. Prerequisite: SPA 290, SPA 291, or SPA 292.

SPA 302U    Hispanic Cultures: Guatemalan Perspectives. 4 credits.
Study of the history, traditions, cultural practices, values, and social structures of Latin America and Spain. Intensive one-on-one interaction with on-site instructor and interviews with Guatemalans enhance understanding of cultural issues from a Guatemalan perspective. Prerequisite: GES 130 or GES 244; SPA 290 or SPA 291, or placement exam.

SPA 308    Current Issues in Guatemala. 4 credits.
Students participating in the Guatemalan Term use multiple media sources available to them only in the country and interact with Guatemalan people to learn about political, economic, and social issues. Study of a literary text dealing with political issues in Guatemala is included. Prerequisite: SPA 300 or SPA 305.

SPA 323    Advanced Spanish Communication in Guatemala. 4 credits.

Further development of communicative abilities in Spanish including reading, creative and academic writing, formal and informal discussions and debate, and formal presentation skills. Prerequisite: SPA 301U, SPA 302U, or SPA 303U.

Sociocultural Studies Courses 
(all participants take the following two courses)

SPA481 Internship in Spanish or Cross-Cultural Experience Guatemala. 3 credits.
Students choosing an internship in their major department must make arrangements with their advisor and department. An off-campus, cross-cultural experience will expand Spanish communication knowledge and skills.  Students choose to work at a ministry site that offers hands-on experience in a field of interest. Students International staff members closely mentor students at each site, which are located in neighboring villages. A faculty member guides students in connecting their work at their sites with their understanding they are gaining about holistic ministry.

SCS/SOC330G    Sociology of Third World Economic Development. 3 credits.
Sociological study of how regional and worldwide political, economic, and social structures, along with broader historical events, impact local communities in Guatemala.  Exploration of holistic development in these communities, with special emphasis placed on those models that are participatory and culturally contextualized.  Case studies are drawn from Guatemala. This course is completed gradually throughout the semester as a compliment to the language classes and internship.

$24,540 for spring 2020, which is the equivalent of Bethel tuition, room (junior level), and the Royal meal plan. This includes tuition and fees, room, meals, four trips/excursions, and round-trip airfare (Minneapolis – Guatemala City). Financial aid applies for Bethel students (with the exception of work-study and Bethel performance scholarships, e.g. orchestra, forensics). Additional costs include passports, immunizations, independent travel, and personal spending.  Non-Bethel students should consult their home institutions to determine how billing and financial aid are handled.

Students live and take meals with Guatemalan families throughout the semester.  The homestays (in Antigua and the rural village of Magdalena) provide an excellent opportunity to practice Spanish with native speakers and to experience life with Guatemalan families.


Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.