Guatemala was truly an amazing experience, and I can certainly say that I learned a lot. When I arrived, I had no expectations because I didn’t know what would happen or how involved I would be able to get. The bar was raised too high, so I couldn’t see the end.
As someone who studied environmental studies, I can really appreciate the diversity of this program. Not only did I get much better at Spanish, but I also learned about different topics and discovered some new interesting ones as well. Living with a Mayan family, sharing their food and daily happiness, was special and unforgettable. These are the real moments that you cannot experience if you visit for only a couple of days. We heard their stories and saw their struggles, and then we all laughed because I didn’t know how to say “pig” in Spanish, so I had to mimic and make oink sounds.
The program is focused on gaining new skills and experiences, helping within the community, and learning about the culture and history of Guatemala. This unique experience challenged me to come to Guatemala with a clean mind and readiness to learn, and in many occasions re-learn. Some knowledge that I knew about the Maya, Guatemala, or even how to make compost is now more clear and accurate. The humble people I met and talked to will always remind me to cherish the opportunities and the magic of learning. Since I managed to travel a little before the Eco Education program started, I was able to immerse myself in Maya history that is just so rich and full of amazing culture and language.
Guatemala was potentially easy to travel, with some road closures due to regular maintenance or sometimes peaceful protests. People are helpful and mean no harm, but I would still recommend being a bit careful and aware of your surroundings. I had a great time, and with all my heart, I recommend this program to anyone who is hungry to learn.