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May 16-27, 2023

The Guatemala trip is an optional field experience for students in CUL 292: Guatemalan Cultures, which is offered in Spring 2023. At the end of the semester, students who opt-in to the trip will travel with faculty to Guatemala, where we will spend almost two weeks exploring the local culture and participating in service-learning activities. Guatemala is one of the most beautiful countries in our world—home to volcanoes, famous archeological ruins, the Pacific and the Caribbean. 

Interested in the adventure of a lifetime? Contact Dr. Mike Rust (mrust@wne.edu) for more information.

Courses Offered

CUL 292: Guatemalan Cultures 3 cr.

This course explores the culture and history of Guatemala, beginning with its Mayan roots, through the colonial period, struggle for independence, devastating Civil War, and finally to the present day. Students will investigate how outside influences, including corporations and foreign governments, have both intentionally (and unintentionally) impacted economic and healthcare conditions in Guatemala. 

Literature and film will be used to bring the voice of the Guatemalan people into the classroom, and students will analyze what those voices tell the world about Guatemala’s past and potential future. The course includes an optional travel component in which students explore Guatemalan culture and art first-hand during a two-week field experience.

Start Packing: Here’s What You Need To Know

How much will this trip cost?

Estimated costs are currently being determined.

What will I see in Guatemala?

You will have the opportunity to visit ancient Mayan ruins, local markets, and natural hot springs.

One of the towns where we will stay, San Lucas Tolimán, is located on the southern coast of a lake called Atitlán, in the western highlands of Guatemala. Lake Atitlán  is 5,000 feet above sea level--approximately a mile--and roughly the same elevation as Denver, CO. The name Tolimán comes from the large volcano just to the west of San Lucas, which is one of three that tower over the southern coast of the beautiful lake.

What if I get sick?

Our sponsor runs a hospital and Guatemala has adequate health care for our travel needs. For vaccines, please check with your health care provider.

Our bodies are not used to the microorganisms that are found in many parts of the world, including Central America. Avoid raw vegetables that you cannot peel or wash yourselves. Food cooked at the Parróquia and other places where we will eat should be OK. Drink ONLY bottled water.

What is the exchange rate?

The Guatemalan currency, the Quetzal, is among the most stable currency in Central America. You should expect a rate of exchange between 7.50 and 8.00 per US Dollar. The US Dollar goes far in Guatemala. You can purchase presents such as original art, colorful textiles, some clothes and jewelry.

Meet your professors

Dr. Michael Rust, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, received his PhD from the University of Cincinnati where he did research on biomedical applications of nanotechnology. Prior to his graduate studies, he worked in the medical device industry for Ethicon Endo-Surgery and AtriCure. He teaches courses in bioinstrumentation, circuit analysis, biosensors, and lab-on-a-chip. He serves as the faculty advisor for the Engineering World Health (EWH) Club at Western New England University, and he is a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). His research involves the development of point-of-care medical technologies, including inexpensive bioinstrumentation for use in low resource settings. 

Dr. Steve Northrup, Professor of Electrical Engineering, received an MS and a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University where he did research on humanoid robots and rehabilitation robotics to assist people who cannot feed themselves. He received a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan. He teaches introductory courses in circuit theory and electronics; interdisciplinary courses involving design and project management; control theory courses; and project courses in robotics, signal processing, and speech recognition. His research involves improving individual and team performance in interdisciplinary teams. He is the faculty liaison to the Western New England University swim team and the faculty advisor for Western New England University student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. His is a member of the American Society of Engineering Education and the Society of Automotive Engineers. Prior to graduate school, he designed automotive electronics and assembly line testing equipment for Ford Motor Company. 

How can I participate?

Students must be in good academic standing to participate in study abroad opportunities. Students participating in year-long or semester-long study abroad programs must satisfy the specific grade point average required by the foreign university they will be attending.

This trip is open to students from any undergraduate major who has an interest in global health, including students from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences (including undergraduate Pharmacy students), Business, or Engineering. Students from all grade levels are welcome.


How is the trip chaperoned?
Western New England University faculty members, Drs. Mike Rust (Biomedical Engineering) and Steve Northrup (Electrical Engineering), accompany students on the trip.

Can I get a refund if I get sick, change my mind or have some other emergency?
Western New England University contracts with vendors who require non-refundable deposits. As we get closer to departure time, the entire cost will be nonrefundable. As such we can only offer a partial refund, if any, depending on when you cancel.

How much spending money will I need?
Typically, $300 will cover souvenirs and other personal miscellaneous expenses including entertainment.

Can I get financial aid?
You need to discuss this with your financial aid officer. Since costs are billed as tuition, some or all may be covered by your financial aid package.

Where can I obtain a passport?
US passport services. Allow 6-8 weeks.

What if I get sick when I’m away?
Full-time students are covered under the University’s health plan and are insured for medical expenses when abroad. If you are not insured, we can provide additional information.

Want to Learn More?

For more information, contact:

Dr. Marcus Davis, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Assistant Director of the Study Abroad Program
Phone: 413-782-1444
Email: marcus.davis@wne.edu 


Got Your Passport? Don’t forget to apply now for your passport to be ready to take advantage of these unique educational/travel opportunities.