Guatemala & Mexico:
Spring 2012

Program Description

On a hillside near Cholula, Mexico, sits a beautiful church called Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. Underneath that hill, archeologists discovered four preceding civilizations of religious pyramids. This hillside is a symbol of humankind’s need to both dominate and impose. Both Guatemala and Mexico were the sites of giant empires; the Mayan empire stretched across southern Mexico and Guatemala, the Aztec empire stretched across central Mexico and traced its mythological past and future to the Southwest of the United States. These empires were superseded by the Spanish conquest which imposed its language, culture and religion on the region. Currently, the tentacles of the United States’ economic empire reach to every corner of the region.

Mesoamerica (Mexico and Guatemala) was the site of many of the most important pre-Columbian indigenous civilizations. It was also the site of a major Spanish conquest. As such, this region provides an excellent laboratory for the study of Latin American history, from pre-Columbian cultures and their conquest to independence movements and the struggle for modern statehood.

Mesoamerica also provides an excellent laboratory for the study of the culture and religion of the region; from native spirituality to traditional and modern Catholic and Evangelical Christian expressions.

Through home stays and study in both Guatemala and Mexico, students will discover how these historical and cultural realities have shaped the people in the region with whom they meet; and how these factors have formed their cultural and economic destinies.

Estimated Cost: on campus tuition, room and board plus $800 travel fee (cost may be adjusted due to changes in currency exchange rates and air fares)
Semester Leaders: Don Clymer, Language & Literature Dept., and Esther Clymer
Enrollment: 20 students
Credits: 15 semester hours

Course Descriptions

CCSSC 201 Cross-cultural Social Science 3SH
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.

CCHIS 302 History of Mesoamerica 3 SH
Students will study the highlights of Pre-Columbian, colonial, independence and contemporary periods with an emphasis on the religion and empire as dominate themes on each of these periods.

CCREL 301 Religion and Culture of Mesoamerica 3 SH
This interdisciplinary course will emphasize the interaction between various faith expressions, psychological make-up of each culture, and current social and economic realities.

Spanish Language: Two of the following courses, placement based on previous knowledge:
CCSPA 110, 120 Elementary Spanish I & II 6 SH
CCSPA 210, 220 Intermediate Spanish I & II 6 SH
CCSPA 310, 320 Adv. Conversational Spanish & II 6 SH

Immunization Information

Malaria risk in Guatemala: risk in rural areas only at altitudes below 1,500 m (<4,921 ft). No risk in Guatemala City, Antigua or Lake Atitlán.

Malaria risk in Mexico: risk is limited to areas infrequently visited by travelers including small foci along the Guatemala and Belize borders in the states of Chiapas, Quintana Roo, and Tabasco; rural areas in the states of Nayarit, Oaxaca, Sinaloa; and in an area between 24°N and 28°N latitude, and 106°W and 110°W longitude, which lies in parts of Sonora, Chihuahua, and Durango. No malaria risk exists along the United States-Mexico border. No malaria risk exists in the major resorts along the Pacific and Gulf coasts. Risk is very limited; therefore, prophylaxis is not recommended for most travelers to Mexico.