VCU short-term programs abroad
Anthropology in Guatemala
Field School in Highland Maya Culture
6 credits in anthropology
June 19 – July 31, 2013
Maury Hutcheson, Ph.D.
$2,250 (includes airfare) + tuition
Registration deadline: March 29, 2013
Status: Program full
The Global Education Office and the School of World Studies are pleased to offer a unique opportunity for students to study the culture of the highland Maya. The program is based in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala and will allow students to observe the cultural complexity of the Guatemalan highlands. The location provides an ideal setting in which to explore different topics such as cultural pluralism, religious conservation and change, local responses to economic globalization, and cultural revitalization movements. This program is especially well suited for students in anthropology, international studies, history, and religious studies.
Students are required to register for a total of six credits, including 3 credits in the core offering, ANTH 391: Highland Maya and Ladino Culture Past and Present. Anthropology majors in particular are encouraged to register for ANTH 315: Anthropological Field Methods and Research Design (3 credits). With permission of the instructor, students may register for 3 credits of independent study under ANTH 492, INTL 492, or RELS 492, as an alternative to ANTH 315. Students pursuing independent studies are expected to participate fully in all group activities while in Guatemala, though their final research paper may be different.
The Education Abroad office will enroll students in their selected courses upon receipt of the registration.
Based in Quetzaltenango, this six week program will provide students with a comprehensive overview of Mayan indigenous life in Guatemala, past and present, including opportunities for individual and group research through participant observation, attendance at cultural events, lectures on selected topics, and excursions to museums and major archaeological sites dating from the earliest days of the Olmec/Maya transition to the contact-era capitals that were toppled by the Spanish conquistadors. Interethnic relations between the Maya and their non-indigenous Ladino neighbors will be a special focus of the program. Course instruction will be in English, but in order to facilitate our rapid immersion in the local culture students will also receive two weeks of individualized, one-on-one tutoring in Spanish at the Escuela de EspaÃ±ol Juan Sisay. Readings in history, ethnography, and archaeology directly related to the communities we visit will be closely integrated with discussions of anthropological theory and effective research practices. Regularly scheduled classroom meetings will alternate with weekend field trips to local indigenous communities throughout the region, including Lake Atitlan and Chichicastenango, as well as presentations by local Maya cultural leaders and visits to sites of cultural interest in the town and its surrounding villages. Students will gain practical experience in a variety of ethnographic research techniques as well as the ethical dimension of anthropological fieldwork while exploring historical continuities and transformations in Mayan culture and religious practice, especially in response to international tourism and economic globalization.
Applications will be accepted until the deadline or until participant space is full.
$2,250 (includes airfare)
The program fee is $2,250 and includes the following:
- Roundtrip airfare between Washington, D.C. and Guatemala City
- All meals while living with Guatemalan families
- Study visits and excursions to museums and archaeological sites
- All ground transportation in Guatemala
- On-site Program Director support
- Pre-departure orientation
- International Student Identification Card
- VCU administrative fees
- Application deposit
The following are not included in the program fee. Students are responsible for:
- VCU tuition and fees
- Passport application fee
- All meals when we are based in hotels
- Personal expenses during the program (estimated at $600)
- Anything not specifically mentioned above
Please budget for these additional expenses.
Airfare is included. The professor will make travel arrangements between Washington, D.C. and Guatemala City, departing in the morning of June 19 and returning July 31 (students are responsible for ground transportation to and from the D.C. airport).
Students must have at least a 2.0 GPA in order to participate in the VCU summer study abroad program. All applicants must have completed ANTH 103 Introduction to Anthropology (in exceptional cases, the pre-requisite may be waived with the professor's permission). A student's GPA may be taken into account but will not be the sole determining factor.
This program is intended to provide a practicum in ethnographic research methods and research design, along with a survey of highland Maya culture. Anthropology majors will enjoy preference over non-anthropology majors. Within that cohort, advanced anthropology majors will have preference over less advanced students, as measured in the number of anthropology credits already completed. Non-anthropology majors from the School of World Studies who are looking to gain international experience will be next in line, and preference again will be extended to senior students over less advanced students. However, strongly motivated students from other disciplines, including freshmen and sophomores, are encouraged to apply. Spanish proficiency is not formally required, but in the event that many students fitting the criteria above wanted to participate, preference would be shown to those with higher levels of Spanish proficiency.
An academic letter of reference is not required.
Program Director Dr. Maury Hutcheson
Students will be living in home-stays with Mayan and Ladino families in Quetzaltenango for the better part of five weeks, which will include private rooms, shared baths, three meals each day, purified drinking water, and opportunities for direct engagement with the domestic life of the host families. Quetzaltenango is a large yet comfortably scaled city with a majority indigenous population, a regional hub permitting access to many small indigenous communities and regional sites of interest.
The program will also include several one- to four-night excursions to other locations of particular interest, about eleven nights in all. During these excursions we will be staying in hotels and students should expect to purchase meals in restaurants or from vendors in the local open air markets.
Principal points of interest will likely include the communities of Antigua, Zunil, Lake Atitlán, Chichicastenango, Tecpán, and Momostenango and the archaeological sites of Copan, Utatlán, Iximché, and Ab’aj Takalik, though the list may be subject to change. Students will also have an opportunity to climb the active volcano Pacaya.
The program will be led by Dr. Maury Hutcheson of the VCU School of World Studies. His ethnographic research centers on the religious practices and expressive culture of the K'iche' Maya, and their creative response to nearly 500 years of Spanish missionization and cultural domination, as well as the impact of globalization and tourism in the present generation. Dr. Hutcheson has extensive experience in Guatemala, having made over ten research visits, totaling nearly three years on the ground. This will be his sixth time directing the study abroad program.
- Financial aid
- Payment of fees
- Financial committment policy
- Travel health
VCU tuition and fees are charged separately. Tuition is billed at standard VCU rates for in-state students and at a 40 percent discount for out-of-state students. This means that the current estimated cost, based on current tuition credit fees (including the technology fee), are as follows for a standard 3-credit class:
- Undergraduate, In-State: $987.11 ($327.50 per credit)
- Undergraduate, Out-of-State: $1,600.25 ($531.88 per credit)
- Graduate, In-State: $1,592.93 ($529.44 per credit)
- Graduate, Out-of-State: $1,964.03 ($653.14 per credit)
- Doctoral, In-State: $1,315.10 ($436.83 per credit)
- Doctoral, Out-of-State: $1,680.80 ($558.73 per credit)
Fees are not included in the above and may include special program, major and/or course fees. Please refer to the VCU Student Accounting website for information regarding these special fees.
Financial aid will apply to the program and tuition costs prior to student billing. Eligible students may apply for need-based financial aid in order to participate in this program. For more information about the financial aid application and process, please contact VCU Financial Aid by phone at 804-828-6669, by email or in person on the first floor of Grace E. Harris Hall (1015 Floyd Ave.).
A valid passport is required to leave the US. If a student does not already have a passport, they are advised to begin the application process as soon as they are accepted into the program. The processing time for new passport applicants can be as long as 8 weeks. For students who already have passports, they will need to verify that the passport's validity dates extend 6 months past their return date. For more information about passports and the application/renewal process, please consult: http://travel.state.gov/.
In order to complete the application, students are required to submit a non-refundable $250 registration fee and deposit.
Students will receive two separate charges to their student accounts for this program: one charge will reflect the balance of the program fee (minus the $250 deposit and application fee) and the other charge is for VCU tuition costs (based on the number and type of credits being taken by the student). These bills will be charged through VCU Student Accounting and should appear by May 2013. (Please note: While these charges may post to the student's account simultaneously or separately, it is the student's responsibility to make sure the account balance is paid before the billing due date.)
All withdrawals must be made formally in writing and submitted to the Director of Education Abroad.
Upon commitment to the program, students deciding to withdraw will be held accountable for the charges made on their behalf by the Education Abroad office. Depending upon when this occurs according to the refund schedule, the student may be held accountable for either a portion of or the entire program fee.
The refund schedule is as follows:
Prior to April 15: If a student withdraws from the program prior to April 15, he/she will be held responsible for the amount of the program fee that has already been expended in payment of costs outlined on the individual program sheet in support of his/her participation. As time progresses, the charges may reflect an increasing amount, depending on what payments have been made on the student's behalf. The amount cannot be determined until the student formally submits written withdrawal from the program to the Director of Education Abroad.
After April 15: If student withdraws from the program after April 15, they will be responsible to pay the entire program fee when it is billed.
In the event of an unexpected emergency that occurs after April 15, students must provide a physician's certification that his/her condition prohibits participation. In this case, refunds will be limited to recoverable expenses.
If an applicant is rejected from the program, the $250 application fee and deposit will be refunded.
Students should schedule an appointment with their physician or at a travel clinic (such as VCU Student Health) at least 4 to 8 weeks before the program to inquire about recommended and/or required vaccines/immunizations. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all routine and travel immunizations are up-to-date.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on recommended and required immunizations for travelers. To view the health risks and requirements for the country to which you will be traveling, please visit the website at: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.
VCU Student Health offers in-depth pre-travel consultation with a health care provider as well as most of the vaccines recommended for safe travel. Prescriptions for recommended medicines are also available. Please visit their website at: www.students.vcu.edu/health/immunizations/travel_clinic.html.
Every effort is made to provide updated and accurate information at the time of publication. The sponsors reserve the right to make necessary changes to the programs and costs. The university reserves the right to revise or alter all fees, regulations pertaining to student fees, and fee collection procedures at any time.