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High School Itinerary

High School Group Trip

This sample itinerary is from a group of 21 Canadian high school students and 3 teachers that came to Guatemala for 8 days of community service learning work and cultural immersion.

Highlights
Projects were carefully selected to address real community development needs and the students were divided into 4 small work groups. Each group stayed with their project for the whole week to encourage increased participation in and a deeper understanding of the ‘why’ their work was important.

In the afternoons, a series of cultural activities were planned to stimulate curiosity and understanding.
The students stayed with local Mayan host families.

Any high school itinerary is customizable to your specific group size, needs, and goals.

Saturday

  • Arrival to Guatemala City (GUA) followed by private 1-hour shuttle bus transfer to Antigua

Sunday

  • Traditional Guatemalan breakfast, with special meals made according to dietary restrictions
  • Antigua walking tour with professional, English-speaking guides
  • After lunch, private 2.5-hour shuttle bus transfer to Panajachel, Lake Atitlan
  • From Panajachel, private 1-hour ferry ride across lake to San Juan la Laguna, the site for all activities in the coming week
  • Meet with host families in San Juan and go to homes to settle in
  • Dinner with host family

Monday

  • Breakfast with host family
  • Gather in San Juan central park for an introduction to community service learning projects
  • Spend morning in small work groups getting to know project site and start with needed projects
  • Following lunch with host families, students again gather in central park for a San Juan walking tour with English-speaking guides
  • Tour ends at school library for a talkabout Mayan ancient to modern history and culture
  • Afternoon free time and futbol (soccer) with area kids, followed by dinner with host families
  • Evening whole group reflection meetup in central park

Tuesday

  • Breakfast with host family
  • Gather in San Juan central park for an introduction to community service learning projects
  • Spend morning in small work groups getting to know project site and start with needed projects
  • Following lunch with host families, students split into two groups for a weaving workshop (GroA) and a painting workshop (Group B)
  • San Juan is famous for its cooperatives of women weavers using the traditional practice of backstrap weaving.
  • Students make their own scarves, which are later presented as gifts from the cooperative families
  • Additionally, San Juan is known for its art and painting, many depicting different Mayan myths. Students receive their Mayan nahual reading and paint their nahual symbol
  • T’zutujil (local Mayan language) classes at workshop sites or free time
  • Dinner with host families, followed by whole group reflection meetup in central park

Wednesday

  • Breakfast with host families
  • Spend morning working at project sites
  • Following lunch with host families, students alternate activities and Group A goes to painting workshop and Group B goes to weaving
  • T’zutujil (local Mayan language) classes at workshop sites or free time
  • Dinner with host families and restful night in

Thursday

  • Breakfast with host families
  • Spend morning working at project sites
  • Following lunch with host families, students gather at San Juan lakefront for a sacred, personalized Mayan cacao and fire ceremony (in English)
  • Dinner with host families
  • Futbol (soccer) game with local girls’ school

Friday

  • Breakfast with host families
  • To demonstrate learning from the week and let students have some ownership in their projects, the day starts with student-led tours of work sites and how these sites support the San Juan community
  • Each group returns to individual project sites to finish any last items
  • Buffet lunch at local vegetarian restaurant, the social business area of one of the participating organizations
  • Free time in afternoon to prepare for the going away party
  • Gather at library for the going away party
  • Families prepare pepian, traditional Guatemalan dish
  • Live marimba, traditional Guatemalan music
  • Students offer reflective speeches and distribute any gifts brought from home
  • Return home and pack for return to Antigua

Saturday

  • Hike to Rostro Maya lookout spot for sunrise over Lake Atitlan
  • Breakfast with host families
  • Private 1-hour ferry ride across lake to Panajachel
  • Private 2.5-hour shuttle bus transfer to Antigua
  • Following lunch in Antigua, free time in afternoon
  • Special closing reflection dinner at Antigua restaurant

Sunday

  • Private 1-hour shuttle bus transfer to Guatemala City airport for departure

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