Skip to content

Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
Fact Sheet:
Advisor: Cristina Sosa Who Can Apply?: UMA only - non-UMA students consult your study abroad office
Fields of Study: Anthropology, Classics, Geography, History, Latin American Studies, Native American Indian Studies, Spanish Program Options: Grad Credits, Grad Research, Internship Credits, Undergrad Research
Host Institution: University of Arizona Language(s) of Instruction: Spanish
Program Provider: Center for Mesoamerican Research (CIRMA) Program Type: Community Service Learning, Experiential Learning, Faculty-Led, Independent Research, Int. Language Studies, Internship (Part), Language & Culture Studies, Study Abroad, Volunteer Component
Summer Program Duration: 6 weeks In Classes With: All International Students
Minimum Class Standing: 2nd Sem Sophomore Housing: Family Home Stay
Program Description:

Guatemala Lago Atitlan

Do you want to immerse yourself in Central American history and culture, learn a Mayan language, perfect your Spanish, study Mayan archaeology or meet ex-guerrillas from the revolutions of the Cold War?

Study Abroad at CIRMA (Center for Mesoamerican Research):

  • Offers a profound academic and cultural immersion for undergraduates and graduate students.
  • Is located in a colonial city so beautiful and historic it has been designated a United Nations World Heritage Site.
  • Is hosted by one of the most prestigious social science research institutes in Central America, offering access to archives and world-class scholars.
  • Includes opportunities for internships, independent travel, and educational excursions.
  • Introduces you to one of the most fascinating nations in the Americas--a country recovering from a Cold War revolution that has 23 languages, 33 volcanoes, world famous Mayan ruins, and a living, vibrant Native American culture.

CIRMA Classroom Parque Central Guatemala Mayan Language Study

The semester programs and six-week summer intensive program provide undergraduate, honors and graduate college credits from the University of Arizona and are open to students from any university. The program includes courses on Spanish language, Mayan language, Latin American history, culture, archaeology, and politics -- all taught by knowledgeable Central American scholars and designed to promote an understanding of the region from the "ground up." Formal classes are complemented by field trips and a colloquium series. Students have access to CIRMA's unique documentary and photographic collections and the option of interning with one of CIRMA's research, library, or outreach programs.

 Menchu with Students Guatemala Excursion Guatemala Parque de la Union

Antigua, Guatemala today is one of the most popular sites in Central America. Founded in 1543 and only 45 minutes from Guatemala City, it is a vibrant cultural center filled with monumental Spanish colonial buildings as well as myriad coffee shops, art galleries and world-class restaurants – a lively city that is bustling by day and truly comes alive at night. It is located in a region inhabited by people of diverse origins with over half of them from the Kakchikel-speaking indigenous community.

For a complete schedule of classes and registration information, please see below and visit CIRMA's website:

At the heart of CIRMA's academics is a three-semester cycle-full-length Fall and Spring sessions, plus a six-week intensive Summer semester in Guatemala. Students stay for one, two, or even all three semesters. CIRMA also offers week-long, credit-earning field learning experiences, customized classes or educational tours of Guatemala for professors or visiting professionals, and continuing education opportunities for groups of independent learners.

The Study Abroad at CIRMA core academic program is designed for undergraduate and graduate students who seek a profound immersion in Central American society, culture, history, literature and politics. This in-depth, multidisciplinary program combines coursework and real-world experience to provide a unique, bottom-up perspective on Guatemala's and Central America's contemporary problems and rich heritage. Located in one of the region's leading social science research institutes, the Study Abroad in Guatemala program engages the most compelling topics of academic study in an immediate and transformational way.

The 6-week intensive Summer program and the full-length Fall and Spring semesters are tailored to provide students with a sophisticated understanding of the region. Courses of study include Central American and Guatemalan history, anthropology, Mayan archaeology, Spanish language and literature, and Mayan languages, with cross-disciplinary focuses in culture, politics, geography and ethnography. Complementing classes and Guatemalan home-stays are lectures, field trips, internships, service work and graduate advising services. Students also have privileged access to CIRMA's unique documentary and photographic collections. On weekends and holidays, our program participants explore this fascinating country on their own.

The main components of the academic program are:
  • SPANISH LANGUAGE AND MAYAN LANGUAGES: CIRMA offers intermediate and advanced Spanish classes. All Spanish language courses use materials (newspapers, literature, etc.) about Guatemala and the region, providing an additional mechanism for learning about Guatemala and Central America.
    • SPAN 206: Intensive Spanish (4 units)
    • SPAN 330 / LAS 330: Intermediate Conversation (3 units)
    • SPAN 450: Conversation and Writing Skills (3 units)
    • New - LAS 207: Mayan Language: Q'eqchi'; Kaqchikel; K'iche' (3 units). Qeqchí, Kaqchikel, and K'iche' are the most widely spoken Mayan languages of Guatemala. These courses require a minimum of five students.
  • LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES, HISTORY, ANTROPOLOGY, & GEOGRAPHY: CIRMA's university classes in Guatemala offer undergraduate and graduate studies in a wide range of academic courses. Taught by academic experts of the region, these classes enable students to debate and reflect about diverse aspects of Central American society, culture, history, and environment. They are offered at undergraduate (400) and graduate (500) levels.
    • LAS 462: Special Topics in Contemporary Latin America: Central American Narratives of Identity and Nationhood (3 units)
    • LAS 465Z / HIST465Z: Central American History (3 units)
    • LAS 453A / ANTH 453A: Introduction to Mesoamerican Archaeology (3 units)
    • LAS 461 / GEOG 461: Biodiversity, Culture and Development in Central America (3 units)
    • GEOG 455 / GEOG 555: Globalization, Development, and the Making of Modern Guatemala (3 units)
    • New - LAS 495F, Optional Colloquium Trip: Community-Based Tourism in Q'eqchi' Alta Verapaz (2 units)
  • INTERNSHIPS AND SERVICE WORK IN GUATEMALA: CIRMA's internship program offers unique opportunities to undergraduates, graduate students, and visiting researchers to gain exposure to CIRMA's three main collections: The Central American Social Sciences Library, The Guatemalan Historical Archive, and the Guatemalan Photographic Archive. CIRMA also connects students with specific interests in youth, arts, health, education, and development to local NGOs in Antigua that provide volunteer opportunities for those interested in service work in virtually any field, including social services, public health and education.
    • LAS 493: Internship (1-4 units: 45 hours = 1 unit).
  • COLLOQUIUM SERIES: Through a weekly lecture series, students are exposed to nationally and internationally- recognized experts in such areas as history and current trends in ethnic relations, aesthetics of contemporary Central America, prospects for the peace process in Guatemala, the Central American environmental crisis, and the significance of democracy in Guatemala and the region.
    • LAS 495F: Colloquium in Latin American Studies (1 unit)
  • FIELD TRIPS: The cost of the program includes two guided field trips to enable students to see first-hand diverse aspects of Guatemalan culture and contemporary life.
    • GUATEMALA CITY: This field trip introduces students to Guatemala City, the largest metropolis in all of Central America. Some of the places students have visited in the past are: archaeological site Kaminaljuyú, the National Palace, the Cathedral, the Central Market, the Popol Vuh Museum, the Museum of Archeology and Ethnography, the Francisco Marroquín University Campus, the Universidad San Carlos Campus and other sites of historical and cultural interest.
    • PETEN: This field trip gives students the opportunity to visit some of the most important Mayan cities of the Classic Period. Some of the places students have visited in the past are: Aguateca, Tikal, Seibal, and Yaxha. Also, students have the opportunity to stay at a community formed by ex-combatants of Guatemala's Armed Conflict to learn about how they live. NOTE: This trip is not suitable for all students, especially those with limited hiking abilities and/or medical conditions.

For more information regarding this specific program please contact: Office of Study Abroad and Student Exchange, The University of Arizona,, Jill Calderon

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year UMass/IPO Application Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2019 12/01/2018 ** Varies TBA TBA
Fall 2019 05/01/2019 ** Varies TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admissions.

If you are applying to a partner program, you must check their website for ACTUAL APPLICATION DEADLINES. The posted deadline above indicates when your UMass Abroad application materials are due and the program’s deadline may be sooner.