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Summer Field School Programs

Applications for the Summer 2019 Field School are now open.


Deadline March 11th 2019.

Our annual Summer Field School brings students, researchers, and faculty from all over the world to Guatemala for intensive language classes combined with research or other community-based projects. The field school is offered in collaboration with our local partner Wuqu’ Kawoq, as well as other community organizations (Renacimiento, and a women's cooperative).

This year, we will have two different summer program options:

1. Three-week Kaqchikel Language and Community Development Experience. Patzún, June 22nd - July 14th
2. Four-week K'iche' Language School and Field Research Program. Nahualá, July 6th - August 4th

The cost for the three-week program will be $2350 for the three-week program and $2700 for the four-week program. Students may also apply to participate only in the two-week K'iche' language school (July 6th - July 21st). 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 immersion classes in K'iche' or Kaqchikel for Field School participants. Instructors plan the lessons, provide individual assistance, and customized language learning materials for participants.
  • For the 4-week program: University of Maryland faculty provide mentoring for data collection from native K'iche', Kaqchikel or other Mayan language speakers. Regular group and one-on-one research meetings are held to foster collaboration and provide support.
  • For the 3-week program: UMD faculty will assist students in establishing a project in conjunction with a local community organization (focusing on education, business, language, or health). 
  • Participants stay with local families to experience daily life, immersing themselves in the language and culture.
  • Participants take weekend excursions to interesting nearby places. Previous trips have included Lake Atitlán, Antigua, Wuqu' Kawoq's clinic sites, local 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.