Living and Studying in Antigua
Information about Antigua
Antigua was the Spanish Capital in Guatemala, founded in 1543. It was the center of power in Central America for several centuries. During the 17th and 18th Centuries, the Spaniards developed the city, building magnificent churches, monasteries, and government buildings. In 1773, an earthquake struck the city, and the Spaniards transferred the capital to Guatemala City. Although the Spaniards ordered everyone to leave Antigua, they could never enforce the decree. Antigua remained home to many, but it was not developed further and thus remained much as it was in the 1700's. In 1944, President Jorge Ubico declared Antigua a national monument and in 1979, it was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site. The classroom is located in a picturesque 17th century convent with a beautiful courtyard and gardens.
The city today retains its colonial charm, with cobblestone streets and colonial era buildings. It is small and easily walkable from end to end. Many people of Mayan heritage come in to the city from the surrounding pueblos each day and sell handmade craft items, including magnificent textiles. The city is surrounded by three volcanos — Agua, Fuego, and Acatenango. These volcanoes are visible from almost every part of the city. The streets framed with bougainvillea and other vibrant plants, and the houses painted in bright pastel colors make every part of Antigua a visual feast. The Antiguëños are welcoming, warm, and extremely patient with tourists. It is a wonderful place to live and study.
During the classroom portion of the program, students will be housed in a lovely hotel in Antigua, in double occupancy rooms. Breakfast will be served daily. The cost of lodging is included in the student program fee.
During the externships, students will receive assistance from Professor Luis Mogollón in locating secure housing.
With the exception of the Spanish immersion course, all courses are held in the same classroom, which is located in the Asociación Cultural San Miguel Arcángel, Casa de Retiros, Posada Belén.
Every effort is made to accommodate persons with physical, medical and/or learning disabilities; however, Pacific McGeorge cannot ensure that the housing and classroom facilities used in the Guatemala summer program will meet the same standards for accessibility as do the facilities of the school's campus in Sacramento. Persons with disabilities that affect mobility should particularly note that developing countries such as Guatemala present significant barriers to mobility over which Pacific McGeorge has no control.
Grading and Performance Assessment
Any final exam will be given on June 20, 2014, which is the last day of the program.
In some courses, assessment will be by projects or papers. The due dates for any other class project will be specified in the course syllabus. Some research-based assignments may become due after the completion of classes.
Transportation to and from the airport is included in the program fee. Some local transportation will be provided when the entire group is engaged in an activity (e.g., legal excursions). On a day-to-day basis, students will not need to use any kind of public transportation, as the classrooms are walking distance from the hotel.
The Mayans call themselves Hombres de Maíz (or People of Corn). Guatemalan food still reflects the heritage of the Maya – corn, beans, squash, potatoes, avocados, plátanos, chiles, and turkey or chicken) blended with the influence of the Spaniards (rice, meats, breads, European vegetables). Less spicy than Mexican food, Guatemalan cuisine is a delicious and nutritious option. Some of the most popular dishes include turkey or chicken in a pepián, which is a spicy sauce made from sesame-seed and tomatoes or stews in a jocón, a sauce with green vegetables and herbs. Soups of all kinds are served frequently and are delicious. Because Antigua is also home to people from all over the world, there is a wide array of dining options including Thai, Mexican, and continental. Restaurants range from the very simple and inexpensive to the extremely elegant. Guatemala also produces some of the most delicious coffee and chocolate in the world; you can sample it in many cafés. Another common drink is a licuado made from fruits of the region. You will eat and drink well in Guatemala.
In general, you will pay for most things in cash. ATM withdrawals are available readily, particularly in Antigua. Traveler's checks are another option. In Antigua, these are easy to cash; all you need is your passport.
Guatemala's currency is known as the quetzal, and as of November 2014 each US dollar (USD) is worth about 7.6 quetzales. Guatemalans generally do not accept U.S. dollars as payment, except at the airport.
Local residents of Antigua are very hospitable and warm to foreigners. They are generally willing to provide directions, advice, or conversation. Although you should be aware of travel warnings issued by the U.S. State Department for Guatemala, Antigua is generally safe. Many tourists visit Antigua during the summer months. Students will be accompanied by faculty members and local guides on all excursions throughout the country during the program.
Cultural Awareness and Local Law
When traveling abroad, you will have many new cultural experiences. You are reminded that you will be governed by the laws and regulations of the host country, and you need to be mindful that some of the host country's rules will vary significantly from the United States. An important aspect of the summer study abroad program is to be alert to these cultural and legal differences.
The United States maintains an embassy in Guatemala City, and many U.S. agencies, such as USAID, have a strong presence to assist Guatemalans in moving their country and laws forward. Therefore, we encourage any of our students to participate in the program, and we will provide advice on how to have a safe, practical learning experience.
Students will need to become familiar with the entry and exit requirements for Guatemala for foreigners. You must have at least six months remaining until your passport expires. More information can be found at http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1129.html#entry_requirements.
State Department Travel Information
For information about travel conditions, advisories, and warnings about travel in Guatemala issed by the U.S. State Department, consult: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1129.html.
No vaccination is required to enter Guatemala, but the U.S. State Department suggests that persons traveling abroad consult with a health care professional to determine what is appropriate in each individual's case.
It is recommended that students are up-to-date on routine vaccinations, such as polio, hepatitis A and B, tetanus, etc. Anti-diarrheal medication, insect repellant, sunscreen, and alcohol-based hand gel are useful when traveling in the region.
For more information about the required and recommended health precautions, the Centers of Disease Control and the U.S. Department of State have Guatemala-specific information.
Staff Contact: Luis Mogollón
Santa Catalina Martir
5ta Avenida Norte No. 28, Calle del Arco
A cell phone number with 24/7 access to program staff will be provided on site.
Contact Ly Lee, Summer Abroad Programs Coordinator
Pacific McGeorge School of Law
3200 Fifth Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95817
Email | Phone: 916.739.7021 | Fax: 916.739.7363