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Where Is Guatemala?
Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America,
bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest,
Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras to the east and El
Salvador to the southeast. Its area is approximately 42,000 square miles (about the
size of Tennessee), with an estimated population of 13,276,517. The country
consists of three main regions—the cool highlands with the heaviest population, the
tropical area along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, and the tropical jungle in the
northern lowlands. Volunteering will take place in Antigua which is in the highland
regions. “Spring/ summer” weather (really their winter) will likely be cool to warm
and rainy. This is not a tropical island location!
Course Options
This volunteer experience may be used towards psychology course credit. For all
options, ABV and travel costs apply.
Options include:
• For psychology majors enrolled in Psyc 451 Psych Seminar on Cross Cultural
Families for Spring 2014. Two or more weeks of volunteering may be used as an
extra credit project. There would be no additional FSU charges or course-related
assignments other than meeting attendance.
• For FSU & non-FSU students seeking course credit, enrollment in DGCE’s summer
Session A as Psyc 355 Contemporary Issues in Psychology: Exploration of
Family Life and Services in Guatemala. A minimum of 3 weeks of volunteering
would be required, along with completion of readings, daily journaling about
volunteer experiences, and preparation of a 5 page paper on a topic of personal
interest (e.g., child labor, women’s status, impact of tourism, Mayan cultures).
FSU tuition fees apply.
For FSU psychology majors interested in Fall 2014 course credit as Psyc 345
Directed Study in Psychological Research: Examination of Family or Service
Provider Behaviors in Guatemala. A minimum of 3 weeks of volunteering
would be required and, during that time, daily journaling and observation
recordings would be completed. In the Fall, meetings with Dr. Ludemann would
be scheduled to discuss experiences, participant observations, and readings. A
final a 5 page paper and PowerPoint presentation on a topic pertinent to
observations made would be completed and shared with classmates. This would
be a 4th Fall course only.
Participation as a volunteer, without Seminar or Topics credit, is also
encouraged. Student status is not required. A minimum 2 week stay is required.
It is strongly recommend daily journaling be completed and meetings attended.
Guatemala is a democratic republic. The official language is Spanish but there are
21 distinct Mayan languages as well. Economically, there is extreme poverty and
pockets of wealth. Education/literacy and health care services are areas of extreme
A Broader View or ABV
Tentatively, a volunteer experiences will be arranged through A Broader View
Volunteers ( This is a US charitable foundation
and depending on individual Spanish language skills, volunteers may be placed in an
infant hospital setting (CASA Jackson) or an elementary school (The Dreamer
Center) on the outskirts of Antigua (less than 3 mile walks). Other service program
placements may be possible, including women’s rights, home and water system
construction, and men’s homeless shelter. Minimum time commitment is 2 weeks.
Living arrangements may be provide at the Ixchel Spanish School or area host
families. All host accommodations include American style toilets, running water,
drinking water, and 3 meals per day Monday-Friday and two on Saturday.
Why Language Immersion
Language immersion is required of any volunteer not fluent in Spanish to the
intermediate level – most locals do not speak English well or at all. Even for
volunteers who are fluent, classes are encouraged. The tutoring is one-on-one with
a locally trained residents (usually women). The instruction is a means for locals to
earn an income and is conversational. It is an amazing experience to work with one
person so closely for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week.
Spanish tutoring will be through the Ixchel Spanish School
The Costs of Volunteering
ABV will cover airport transportation and living arrangements **:
• With Spanish immersion:
2 weeks = $1275
3-4 weeks = $1500
• Without Spanish immersion:
2 weeks = $980
3-4 weeks = $1150
Not included:
• Saturday night and Sunday meals
• Personal travel and expenses
• Travel insurance ($29 through FSU Study Aboard program)
• Airfare to and from Guatemala City (approximately $700)
• FSU course credit charges through DGCE
** Since A Broader View Volunteers is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, US tax payers'
program fees and related travel expenses are tax deductible. ABV programs strictly adhere to
the IRS requirement that you volunteer/work 8 hours per day, 5 days a week. For questions on
tax exemptions refer to IRS publication form 526. The charity number is 26-0594308.
Please visit ABV’s website for specific about their programs:
Sights to See
There is so much to see in Guatemala – from the volcanos to the oceans, ancient
ruins to modern cities. There are colonial historic areas, many Maya cultures and
traditions to experience, coffee plantations, shopping, and more! Arrangements may
be made privately at local tourist agencies or via other contacts. In country travel
will involve additional costs, but relatively cheap by US standards. All travel is in
GROUPS – for safety and cost. Individual explorations will not be permitted.
Contact information
For more information about participating in this volunteer experience, contact
Pamela Ludemann, Ph.D. in the Psychology Department, 209 Crocker Hall or
[email protected]

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