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Summer Field School

Our annual Summer Field School brings students, researchers, and faculty from all over the world to Guatemala for a month long trip (typically in June), including two weeks of intensive language classes and two weeks devoted to research. The field school is offered in collaboration with our local partners Wuqu’ Kawoq and Renacimiento

Applications for the Summer 2019 Field School will open in January 2019.

For Summer 2018, the cost for the four-week program was $2,675 (which includes accommodation, transportation in Guatemala, meals, excursions, language classes, research mentoring, and consultant payment funds). Students may apply to participate only in the two-week Kaqchikel language school (the 2018 cost for the two-week program was $1,550). However, there are a limited number of places for the two-week-only option, and priority will be given to local NGO workers and interns with Wuqu' Kawoq. We hope to offer reduced program fees to certain groups of participants, including NGO workers/volunteers, Guatemalan residents, and participants who are entirely self-funded.

Field School Components

  • LSC Staff & local field school staff provide preparatory and on-the-ground support for the trip.
  • Experienced local instructors teach a two-week immersion class in Kaqchikel for Field School participants. Instructors plan the lessons, provide one-one-one assistance, and customized language learning materials for participants.
  • University of Maryland linguistics faculty provided mentoring for collecting data from native Kaqchikel (and other Mayan language) speakers. Regular group and one-on-one research meetings are held to foster collaboration and provide support.
  • Participants stay with local families to experience daily life, immersing themselves in the language and culture.
  • Participants take weekend excursions to interesting nearby places: Lake Atitlán, Antigua, Wuqu' Kawoq's Clinic in Tecpán, historical sites, etc.

2018 Field School - Researcher Presentations at Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (June 2018)

  • “Alfabetizar en Kaqchikel a través de audios.” Brecken Keller, University of Maryland
  • “Investigando Pied-piping con Inversión en Kaqchikel de Patzicía.” Caleb Ewing, University of Florida
  • “Cambio de Código: Español y Kaqchikel.” Isabel Last, Towson University
  • “Comparación entre los Sistemas Numéricos: Análisis de Datos Pilotos.” Emily Speed, Utah State University
  • “Estación de Investigación Guatemala.” Pedro Mateo Pedro, University of Maryland
  • “Explorando la Estructura de la Frase Nominal en Kaqchikel: Adjetivos, Número y Posesión.” Polina Pleshak, State University of Moscow
  • “Opcionalidad en la Conjugación Verbal del Tz’utujiil de Santiago.” Ted Levin, Paulina Lyskawa, Rodrigo Ranero, University of Maryland
  • “Voz antipasiva en Kaqchikel: en las gramáticas y en realidad.” Irine Burukina, University of Budapest
  • “El trabajo de campo lingüístico.” Akshay Aitha, University of California; Berkeley

Participants’ Experiences

“I really appreciate being welcomed in to the home of a Guatemalan family.  It is certainly opens up a new perspective on the speaking community, example of the simple day-to-day language use, their challenges in fitting in with other languages, and keeping their own language alive." -Student Participant, 2016 Summer Field School

“So often in research we rely on a small set of sample data to extract language-wide specifics and typological comparisons to other languages. This is usually the extent of the depth of data available. Even when we have a native speaker helper, questions are generally targeted to a very specific inquiry.  I feel very privileged and empowered by the opportunity to learn the language in an immersive, comprehensive environment from native speakers in their own element.” -Student Participant, 2016 Summer Field School

“The Kaqchikel teachers were patient and supportive, enabling me to learn both languages (Kaqchikel and Spanish)…. Inside our host families’ homes, and outside of them, we learned about Guatemala, its history, and cuisine. We learned about Kaqchikel cosmology, and the intricacies of weaving güipiles, and the potential for cultural appropriation associated with buying the beautiful textiles." -Student Participant, 2016 Summer Field School

"My host family stay was fantastic. The host family I stayed with was extremely nice, really some of nicest people I've ever met. Getting to talk with them in Spanish and practice some Kaqchikel and just share life with them was great. It was a great experience. They also took care of me really well when I was sick." -Student Participant, 2018 Summer Field School

In 2015, before the Field Station officially opened, UMD undergrad Neomi Rao visited the prototype of the station and wrote about the trip on her blog

For more information about the field school or other opportunities at the field station, please email us at lsc@umd.edu.