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Integrated Development and Mayan School Improvement

Guatemala is the gateway to Central America and is a land filled with heart, wisdom, and opportunity for human development at all socioeconomic levels.

The intent of this volunteer program is to support regional efforts to meet Millennium Development Goals that strengthen the quality of primary and pre-primary education in extremely poor rural areas. Through distribution of donated and locally produced and procured food at school, these rural programs are working to increase enrollment and improve the daily attendance of students to increase graduation rates.

During this journey, you will deeply engage with communities that are developing their own strategies to balance rural agricultural labor practices with the need for continued access to education. Work alongside community members to improve local school infrastructure. Your group will visit Guatemala City, Iximche archaeological site, and stay in Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your group may also visit the village of San Antonio Aguas Calientes and learn from a successful micro-credit cooperative of traditional back-strap loom weavers. Traveling on to Tecpan, you will see first hand what sustainable agriculture and education look like in rural Mayan villages.

Your experience will be interwoven with the perspectives, culture, history, and current reality of Mayan peoples. You will learn about the legacy of The Civil War, government and education structures, and the new challenges of migration and globalization.

Starting in Guatemala City, you will visit the Plaza Mayor, called the “Center of all Guatemala,” where the four great strands and powers of Guatemalan society converge: the government, the church, the army, and the people. You will learn about current issues visit an educational advocacy program dedicated to supporting children’s rights to access primary education in stable and vibrant schools.

Traveling on to Tecpán, you will spend time in a small Mayan Community specifically selected for your group. Community activities will include opportunities to explore and learn about sustainable development, rural agriculture, the educational system, and community initiatives for vulnerable groups. These service projects often include painting, light concrete, and miscellaneous school improvement tasks. We will work directly with community members to provide a dynamic cultural exchange designed to uplift the collective spirit as well as impart community knowledge to volunteers.

The week will conclude at one of the most historic and cherished Spanish colonial centers in all of Central America – Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This charming city of cobbled brick roads is full of bright colors and thriving culture, providing a grand backdrop to celebrate your time in Guatemala. From here you can embark on an afternoon adventure and hike up Pacaya, one of the world’s most active volcanos.

Loyola University Maryland 

"l highly recommend Via International as a great host agency for meaningful immersion programs, both domestic and international. They are rooted in the community with years of experience and relationships, organized and offer great educational input for the participants. They have everything you need fora comprehensive experience. 

Andrea Coicochea, Assistant Director International Immersions


The Impact

The experience of an immersion program impacts post-travel


Discover how international migration and the Civil War present socio-economic challenges at the community level.


Analyze the unique interdependence between Spanish and Mayan cultures.


Participate in community-defined service projects improving local schools and student health.


Learn how community leadership is demonstrated through communal programs involving access to education.


Understand how indigenous identity can keep its roots while adapting to modern living.

Interested in visiting this location?

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