Guatemala Trip

This past summer, three WRA students had the opportunity to travel abroad to Guatemala to participate in an exchange of language, culture, and experience. The study abroad program consisted of a four day volunteer project at a community school for young children, called Los Patojos, as well as a four week homestay with a purely Spanish-speaking family. The three students who traveled to Guatemala–James Doe ‘20, Suzannah Sanders-Burgess ‘21 and myself, Vivien Marmerstein ‘21–all report the trip as an incredible experience which allowed the students to not only improve their Spanish, but also live and breathe a culture completely different from their own.

Throughout the experience, students participated in a variety of cultural immersion activities with their host family. Suzannah ‘21 recalls her fondest memory during her time in Guatemala: making–or, rather, attempting to make–cake pops with her host siblings, which turned into a complete disaster. Even still, Suzannah loved laughing and talking to her host family through the whole messy experience. James ‘20 recalls his favorite memory of the time spent in Guatemala, which was “performing and teaching magic tricks to little kids at Los Patojos”. Personally, my host family gave me the opportunity to cook Plov, a personal favorite and culturally traditional rice dish, for family lunch one day. I loved sharing a part of my Russian culture with the Guatemalan family. Likewise, James shared a Korean dish called Bibimbap with his host family, and Suzannah baked a unique dish called “Toad in the Hole” from her British culture.

In the end, this cultural immersion not only revolved around learning about the Guatemalan culture. Rather, the students who traveled shared a piece of themselves with their family, providing a truly incredible experience. The Guatemalan exchange, as described my James, Suzannah, and myself, proved to be an “amazing cultural experience”, “life-changing… fun”, and finally, an experience like no other. From going to amusement parks, to tubing and waterskiing, to walking around the outdoor mall eating meter-long pizzas, the memories and new experiences from Guatemala are ones we will never forget. To get involved in this unique cultural exchange, reach out to Ms. Lopez ( or one of the students who participated to find out more.

-Vivien Marmerstein ’21

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