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Guatemala: Spanish Language Intensive

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Six weeks in my bag

Overall, great experience. Comments above sum up my praises. The only constructive criticism I have or plus delta would be for the Where There Be Dragons offices to work in time for the instructors to finish up their paperwork in country (similar to the orientation pre trip but have one post trip as well). This way the instructors can be fully present in our last moments together as a group rather than stressed out about the lives they are being thrown back into, the cultural readjustment, and the paperwork they have to finish up for the offices. I know my group in particular would have loved to have that together time.

Academics:
Its cliche, but you get out what you put in. I put forth 110% all the time, and as a result I received a tremendously empowering and inspiring experience. During all my spanish lessons and discussions I actively participated and utilized my time with the instructors.

Living Situation:
Throughout our numerous home stays I was able to overcome my initial discomfort of entering someone else's home. The living situations were raw, real, and reflected how true Guatemalans lived. Within our group, the comforts and amenities varied tremendously reflecting wealth distribution just like in the USA.

Cultural Immersion:
Again, I made a conscious effort to be present and minimize my use of phone and internet. In fact, I only called home three times and never touched facebook. In doing so, I felt fully immersed in Guatemala amongst the local people. That was my choice though. It could have been easy to go the other way as well- to spend free time in internet cafes and only with fellow dragones.

Program Administration:
I could not have asked for a better ITeam. A shout out to Juancho Galich, Ariel Storch, and Steve Neal for guiding us through our six week journey.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

Gave me the travel bug!

Going on this six week trip to Guatemala was absolutely amazing and completely changed my life. The program is well thought through and organized. Where there be dragons truly wants you to get the most out of your experience. The country you experience on this is trip is complex, exciting, and definitely worth while. The staff and other students are great people and travel companions. I would recommend this trip to anyone. After this trip I returned to Guatemala two more times and now I have many more trips planned! Gave me the desire for more travel!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    N/A

Un Verano Perfecto!

This program was fantastic. When i was in 8th grade i did another program that dealt mainly with travel in australia, which is a beautiful county. The philosophy of Where There be Dragons add so much more to the trip. Guatemala was a really wonderful destination, and really made me understand spanish more then my 5 school years did. The program is very reasonable, and really helped me become an aware being in society. To travel to a country makes you have a real connection, and i loved all the memories that i made.

I really understood what a community is. And this program doesn't help you brag about how many community service hours you completed, but its really about learning about the people who run these programs and what they are trying to do for their communities.

Spanish school was really helpful, and the little communities we visit really loved having us. And everyone was so kind. i remember constantly asking for directions! I really go to use social spanish which is something that i don't really use enough in school. I look forward to expand my spanish and hope to visit guatemala again in the future! thank you dragons

los dragones verano 2012

Health and Safety:
I always felt safe. dragons does a really good job with safety.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Unforgettable first experiential education trip outside the US; educational, adventurous and inspiring.

Guatemala, Summer 2006 was my first experience with WTBD. It was a professional, educational, adventurous and inspirational program. The homestay component showed me what daily life in both rural and urban Guatemala is like (Todos Santos and Xela, respectively). The language classes were custom and challenging. The treks we did were remote and beautiful. My trip mates were unique, enthusiastic and compassionate. The instructors were professional, personal and highly knowledgeable. Summer 2006 was the beginning of my passion for travel, my curiosity of other cultures and the supportive and creative community that is Dragons, all of which continue to this day. Highly recommend.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Finding Adventure

To sum up six weeks of exploring the culture of Guatemala in a small piece of writing is incredibly difficult and I know I can't do it justice. The trip was truly a cultural immersion experience. We learned Spanish with locals, stayed with home-stay families, participated with various activities within the different communities we journeyed to, and studied politics, religion, and immigration. When I left, I felt like I could understand the forces that shaped Guatemala and how my role as an American affected their culture. One of the most important lessons I learned was how to be a conscious traveler.
I was challenged in many ways and faced fears that have made me a stronger person. The most important self discovery I made on the trip was that no matter what happens, everything will be okay. In the end, the things that weren't planned and often brought up the most fear, were the ones that we as a group and I as an individual learned the most from. I wouldn't change this experience for the world.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

As corny as it may sound, an incredible and truly life-changing experience.

Dragons was like nothing I have ever done in my life, and impacted me more than anything I have ever done. The group bonding is amazing, and the lessons were eye opening. Yet even more incredible were the homestays. Living with families speaking only Spanish was scary, yet helped so much with language learning, and allowed me to from close connections with strangers across a language barrier, something I never thought possible before. Trekking and the general style of living taught me an appreciation for a simple lifestyle, and a recognition that there are so many more important things in life than material goods. Dragons truly shaped who I am going forward in life, and I recommend it for anyone and everyone!

Academics:
Wish there was more spanish class! Other than that, learned a huge amount about culture, immigration, health, history, politics, and more, in interesting and exciting ways.

Living Situation:
Homestays were one of the best parts of the trip, for culture and language learning, as well as making simple human connections.