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Guatemala One Health: Ecology. Culture. Justice.

The IPSL and Origins of Food Guatemala One Health: Ecology. Culture. Justice. program is a 3 week, 3 semester credit January Term program that takes students from the black sand coasts up into the tropical mountain forests of Guatemala. This program will be an intensive and interactive study abroad and service opportunity to engage with the culture, food, lifestyle, agriculture economy, and human, animal, and environmental health of Guatemala first hand through expert lecturers, service projects, and site visits. During this program, students will critically examine, through a One Health Lens, the social, political and cultural impact of food production on the environment, animals, and people of Guatemala both in and out of the classroom setting.

In addition to completing a variety of workshops, service projects, conversations and activities relevant to our educational theme we will also indulge in the pure beauty that the Guatemalan landscape so frequently provides. From towering volcanoes to lush jungles full of life, you can expect to bear witness to a multitude of breathtaking landscapes and once in a lifetime experiences.

Come join us on this once-in-a-lifetime journey to explore the intersection of food, health, animals, and the environment in Guatemala!

Check out the Origins of Food website!


Eat your way through Guatemala like a local...not a tourist.

This program offers an opportunity for students to study and experience the intersection between environmental health, human health, and animal health while traversing the coasts, mountain forests, and vibrant cities of Guatemala. This fast paced experience starts in Guatemala city where students explore the legacy of Guatemala's civil war and of Guatemala's Disappeared and the impact of this legacy on Guatemala's culture and economy today. Students begin to engage with this history through site visits, expert lecturers and service with Human Rights organizations and Non-Violent Communication Mediators. 

Next you will travel to Antigua to explore fair trade coffee production, cooperative cacao bean-to-bar enterprises and low-impact sustainable organic farming. Experts in the field engage with students with discussions about the global impacts of local actions. As budding food activists, you will travel to the site of the infamous Rio Negro massacres to service with a Traditional Medicine Women's cooperative that uses agro-ecology to preserve native vegetable and medicinal seeds and farming traditions. You will service with them over the course of a week to help build community capacity and help improve food security in the local economy.

Continuing on, you will visit a Maya-run permaculture organization working to improve access to appropriate technologies for indigenous farmers. Learn Mayan astrology while participating in seed saving workshops and enjoying Guatemalan farm-to-table food.

Before ending your journey at the Pacific coast at a sea turtle conservation park, you will visit a cooperative run by former revolutionary guerillas turned farmers who have developed a multi-tiered approach to address their communities food security issues. Get your hands dirty by participating in service that explores, organic composting, seed sowing,  vermiculture production and youth education programs.

To top off your experience, you will connect human health, environmental health and food justice concerns with the conservation of endangered species and their habitats. Depending on sea turtle nesting schedules, you may witness and assist in the release of sea turtle hatchlings to their ocean environment. Or, you may explore ecotourism concerns in one of the largest animal rescue centers in Guatemala.


Program Highlights

Language of Instruction: English

Transcript from the IPSL School of Record

Courses & Credits

Guatemala One Health: Ecology. Culture. Justice

Service Opportunities

  • Organic and Permaculture Farm Non-profits

  • Women's Traditional Agriculture Cooperative

  • Human Rights Organizations

  • Food Security and Food Justice non-profits

  • Direct and Fair Trade Coffee Cooperatives

  • Marine Turtle Conservation/Rescue Organization


Students stay in a combination of Homestays, Youth Hostels and Volunteer Cabins.



  • We're really nice and support you in your journey!

  • We're the most experienced group in the field of International Service-Learning

  • You can make a real difference to people in need

  • You can FINALLY learn that language

  • You can dive deep into another culture!

  • To support our service organizations in a SUSTAINABLE way

  • GROW - expand your horizons and challenge your assumptions!

Program Directors: Lindsey Berk and Matthew Orchard of Origins of Food

Lindsey Berk and Matthew Orchard started Origins of Food to reconnect people with where food comes from. After a few years of leading backpacking volunteer programs around Latin America, and organizing food production based workshops along the way, they realized how vital the connection is for knowing where the food we eat comes from, and how those connections have been almost entirely lost for most people living in our busy, modern world. Their mission is to go beyond the supermarket shelves and bring people face to face with the farmers, community organizers and food producers who are making a change in today's food system, and joining the good food revolution. Origins of Food invites people to meet the individuals who are producing what we eat, how they do it, and why. 


The program welcomes students of any nation who have a high school diploma or equivalent credential.  TOEFL equivalent 550.  No Spanish language requirement.



What's Included 

Tuition and academic fees; academic transcript; on-site and on-line orientation and pre-departure materials; transportation; site visits; cultural excursions; expert lectures; English speaking guides; room and full board; health insurance.


What's typically NOT Included 

Passport; vaccine fees (if required/or elected); international airfare; course materials; personal spending money; local personal transportation; local cell phone and independent travel.


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