Study Abroad in Guatemala

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Studying Abroad in Guatemala

For a study abroad experience full of vibrant colors, indigenous history, and contrasting backdrops of rugged mountain, lush forest, and blue sea, look no further. Guatemala is not the most common destination for study abroad, but it is the perfect location for students looking for a Central American experience that is off the tourist track. Despite decades of civil war, military coups, and natural disasters, the locals possess an uplifting spirit that never dampers. Students will embrace Guatemala’s positive vibes while falling in love with a truly unique study abroad experience.

Where to Study in Guatemala

Guatemala screams diversity in every aspect of life. Travel west into the highlands to experience the land of eternal spring in some of the more modern big cities, or travel east to wander through indigenous villages. Embrace the Rasta-inspired coasts while chilling beachside in a hammock, or dive deep into the jungle for an adrenaline rush. Here are the best places to study abroad in Guatemala.

Guatemala’s heart lies within Guatemala City. This city, known as “Guate” by the locals, is full of contrasts. Wander the streets that are filled with broken down buses next to shiny new BMWs, and gaze up at modern skyscrapers next to tiny dilapidated villages. Guate can be dirty and dangerous at times, but other times is absolutely fascinating. Dangerous areas have been redeveloped into pedestrian-friendly streets filled with hip bars, cafes, and restaurants.

Head straight for Antigua, the heart of the Mayan civilization. While Guate radiates a big city vibe, Antigua emanates picturesque Guatemala. Streets are painted bright colors, covered in local artwork and flower petals, and lined with old colonial buildings. Students feel as if they’ve traveled back in time. Spend your free time exploring markets full of indigenous artwork, relaxing in charming plazas, or trekking through dormant volcanoes.

To get more off-the-grid while studying in Guatemala, consider Quetzaltenango. Some say it’s the perfect Guatemalan town: big enough to keep students busy, but small enough to feel like home. There are enough international visitors to support the tourism industry, but not enough to take away the genuine feeling of a Guatemalan village. The German-influenced gothic architecture is stunning, with glorious town halls and cathedrals contrasting crumbling ruins. Awesome!

Costs of Studying in Guatemala

Wondering what the costs of studying in Guatemala are? One of the best parts about studying here is the cost. Unlike many other popular study abroad locations, Guatemala is incredibly cheap. Your money multiplies when you arrive for your studies. Students can take local transportation around the cities for only a few cents, shop at local markets to fill bags with fresh produce for a couple of dollars, and meet friends for beers that are just over one dollar. Treat yourself to a nice meal out every now and then for only $5.

Of course, students still need to cover the cost of getting to Guatemala. While language classes and other studies tend to be affordable, students can explore their options of scholarships and fundraising to cover flights and program fees.

Student Housing in Guatemala

Here are what types of housing are available for students in Guatemala. While studying abroad in Guatemala, students are sure to have a truly immersive experience. Nearly all study abroad students live in homestays, as it is the most enjoyable and comfortable option. Although it is possible to rent your own apartment, it is not recommended, as it can be dangerous to live on your own. Homestays, however, are safer and much more affordable. Locals are excited to share their culture with international students and travelers, so get ready for some delicious, authentic home-cooked meals, language immersion, and instant community.

Student Visas for Guatemala

For those who are planning a short stay of less than 90 days in Guatemala, a visa is not required; however, students planning to study for a semester that is longer than three months will need to acquire a student visa. Check out GoAbroad’s Guatemalan Embassy Directory for the latest information on required documents, visa costs, and processing times, as this all depends on your country of origin.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Guatemala is a beautiful country, but its history is filled with violence, civil war, and poverty. Students may be wary of the tragedy that has befallen this Central American country, but despite the violence and destruction, there is undoubtedly a positivity that flows through Guatemalan streets. The locals are genuinely happy with uplifting spirits, and they will teach you to take pleasure in the small things, like sharing a meal with family or laughing with friends.

If the positive vibes aren’t enough, you will surely fall in love visually with Guatemala. Black sand beaches in the west meet Mayan pyramids in the east. Dramatic horizons are dotted with volcanoes in between rainforest canopies, and cities feature cobblestone streets with locals wearing colorful traditional clothing. You will never tire of this beautiful backdrop as you study abroad in Guatemala.

Whether you are looking for language immersion or history lessons, adrenaline-pumping adventure or a chance to lend a helping hand, studying abroad in Guatemala has it all.

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Maximo Nivel offers Service Learning, Spanish immersion, Internships, TEFL Certification, and more at our institute in Antigua, Guatemala. University credit is available for most programs. Learn how Maximo Nivel best meets your personal, academic and financial needs. Prepare yourself for a global future—No Limits!

Maximo Nivel

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Study abroad in Guatemala through the Center for Global Education, Augsburg College. Offered during the Spring and Fall, programs are available in Quetzaltenango and Xela. Students spend three weeks with an urban family and one week with an indigenous Mayan family. Participants take one-on-one Spanish language courses and experience Guatemala's culture by attending a Mayan-Catholic mass and tra...


Experience the best archaeological expedition of a lifetime with Boston University Study Abroad Guatemala Archaeology Program. Experience the beautiful colonial town of Antigua while trekking the premier archaeological sites in Guatemala. This study abroad program offers a 12-week stay in Guatemala participating alongside the world's foremost authorities in the ongoing discovery of the Pre-cla...


Delve into the unique culture and history of Guatemala with Enforex. Students have the chance to explore the Spanish language and partake in some cultural activities including fiestas, salsa classes, and tour of Antigua. This program is offered throughout the year.


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Join Pacific Discovery on the adventure of a lifetime on its newest program offering – The Cuba and Central America Semester. This amazing 10-week group journey explores and adventures through six amazing and diverse countries – Mexico, Cuba, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Participants will get to practice their Spanish, explore ancient ruins, get their PADI Diving Certification,...


Discover the fascinating country of Guatemala with AmeriSpan Study Abroad. This international learning program allows students to live and study in the city of Antigua. Participants fully-immerse themselves into the country's language and culture on a daily basis. Learning is expanded through cultural activities and home stay accommodation.


Spanish Abroad, Inc. offers Spanish language studies in key locations in Guatemala. Students benefit from the academic credit, weekend excursions, and cultural activities included in the program.


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Broadreach offers experiential summer adventures for middle school, high school and college students, including scuba, sailing, multi-sport, marine biology, language immersion and community service programs that span the globe. Over the years, we've taken thousands of teenagers to some of the world's most incredible destinations -- the islands of the Caribbean, Australia, Fiji, the Solomon Isla...


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Where There Be Dragons offers semester and summer study programs in Guatemala designed to give participants a deeper understanding and appreciation of Mesoamerican culture. Participants live with indigenous Mayan families, work the fields, and learn Spanish in the western highlands of Guatemala. The next few weeks are spent exploring the Mayan heartland, hiking Tajumulco, Central America's tall...


Join a program that offers an opportunity for students to study and experience the intersection between environmental health, human health, and animal health while traversing the coasts, mountain forests, and vibrant cities of Guatemala. This fast paced experience starts in Guatemala city where students explore the legacy of Guatemala's civil war and of Guatemala's Disappeared and the impact of...