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Program Description

Guatemala and Mexico have rich cultural histories, and is representative of the political and economic realities of Latin America. The histories and current realities of these countries are closely intertwined with the United States, and demonstrate the close interconnection between affluent and developing countries in our world. In addition, these countries serve as a rich source for understanding the myriad environmental challenges facing our world. In this program, students will gain greater proficiency in the Spanish language; learn about the history of the region and how it affects the current social, economic, and political situation; gain a greater appreciation for the implications of environmental issues to the culture; and see how the Church responds to the issues identified.

The bulk of this semester (7 weeks) will be spent in Guatemala City with the Central American Study and Service (CASAS) program of SEMILLA, the Latin American Anabaptist Seminary. While at CASAS, live with host families, study Spanish, and learn about the history and present reality of Guatemala. We will also make several weekend trips to learn more about how the current political and economic realities of Guatemala, and how these affect the environment. Following our stay in Guatemala City, we will travel to northern Guatemala to visit Tikal National Park, and a returning refugee settlement near the Belizean border. We will then travel to Jaguar Creek, a Christian Environmental Research and Education Center in Belize, for one week of environmental studies. The group will then disperse for a time of free travel, followed by a 3 week period of service-learning in which students will volunteer with organizations in villages and cities throughout Guatemala. We will then travel by land to the neighboring region of Chiapas, Mexico, for a time of learning about political and environmental issues. Finally, we will travel to the U.S./Mexico border at Nogales, Sonora. Students will spend a week with BorderLinks, organization that conducts travel seminars focusing on the issues of Mexican border communities. This will give students an avenue for learning about issues of emigration/immigration, and help students connect their experiences in Central America and Mexico with the situation in the U.S.

Estimated Cost: tuition, room & board + $600 travel

Semester Leader: Doug and Cristina Graber Neufeld

Enrollment: maximum 22 students

Course Descriptions:

CCUS 202 Cross-cultural understanding 3 SH In Guatemala, students will live with families and study culture in context to learn skills of adaptation and empathy, as well as ability to critique one's host and native culture. (Satisfies Global Village cross-cultural experience requirement.)

Spanish language: Six semester hours at one of the following levels (placement based on previous knowledge): CCSPA 102, 112 Elementary Spanish I & II 6 SH CCSPA 202, 212 Intermediate Spanish I & II 6 SH CCSPA 302, 312 Advanced Conversational Spanish I & II 6 SH Students will study Spanish intensively in Guatemala City for the first half of the semester. (Satisfies Global Village cross-cultural requirement.)

CCHIS 302 History of Latin America 3 SH Students will study the highlights of Pre-Columbus, colonial, independence and contemporary periods. This will be the foundation for our understanding of current events and problems. (Satisfies HUM 322 Progress & Ambiguity.)

CCBIO 302 Environmental Science 3SH This course will explore environmental issues in Guatemala & Mexico, with an emphasis on the interaction between humans and the environment. We will explore the relationship between the environment and culture, politics and economics. Students will participate in hands-on environmental projects. (Satisfies lab science requirement.)

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