International Field Study

Guatemala: At Origin Winter 2018

Guatemala: At Origin Winter 2018


The “At Origin” program goes deep inside the original Banana Republic where a lush fertile land conceals bitter fruit. From the bustling markets of Guatemala’s capitals to the smallholder farms of the highlands, we’ll explore a country where land and livelihoods are intertwined and coffee and malnutrition go hand-in-hand. We’ll meet farmers in their fields, talk shop with local retailers and get our hands dirty on community-based initiatives. We’ll immerse in highland culture and see how hunger grows in the global south and what people are doing to grow, cook, and weave their way out of it?

The combination of hands-on projects, cultural immersion, and adventure will challenge us to think critically about our next meal and how we, as consumers in the global north, can promote social justice at origin.

Day 1—3

After picking everyone up at La Aurora Int’l Airport in Guatemala City, we’ll take our orientation to the country’s former capital, Antigua. We’ll hang at the Earth Lodge, a sustainable avocado farm, and orient ourselves to the country’s cultural and geographic landscape while we begin to trace food back to its origin.

Then, its onto nearby San Miguel Escobar where we’ll dive into our exploration of the global food system with De La Gente, a small but sustainable coffee and agricultural cooperative. We’ll begin with a cooking lesson with the best chefs around – local mamás who will open their family kitchens to our team. After enjoying the delicious outcomes of our morning’s work, we’ll join farmers Filiberto and Timoteo on the slopes of Volcán Agua where we’ll learn to pick, process, and roast farm fresh coffee.

Day 3—5

After a meandering ride onboard one of Guatemala’s iconic camionetas or “chicken buses”, we’ll arrive in the ladino and indigenous metropolis of Xela. Here, we’ll join revolutionary-turned-reformer Willie at Café La Red Kat for a delicious meal and an insightful chat about the challenges facing small-scale farmers, and the struggle to integrate into a new socio-economic order. After an afternoon of scavenging through Xela’s incredible vegetable markets, we’ll join Escuela La Paz for a highland dinner and an opportunity to make traditional Mayan hot chocolate!

Day 5—7

After a brief journey north-west, we’ll arrive in the community of Santa Anita. This coffee and banana growing community founded by former civil war combatants sees farming differently; the results are not just sellable commodities, but symbols of revolutionary solidarity. So, by staying in family homes, we’ll hear their stories and get to share our own while deepening our understanding of a growing revolution. We’ll also get our hands dirty in compost, pick ripe, red coffee fruit and explore this jungle coffee farm.

We may also collaborate on the continued construction of the community’s new bene cio or mill where their coffee will be washed, depulped, fermented, dried, and sorted. Through these community development initiatives, we’ll get to share brie y in the lives of these campesinos and see the root of our global food system.

Day 7—9

We’ll conclude our adventure at Operation Groundswell’s Guatemala Hub, located on the shores of beautiful Lago Atitlan. Here, we’ll learn from our local partners in San Juan and explore traditional shing practices, medicinal plants, permaculture and natural dyes. We’ll also get to kickback, relax and re ect on our incredible journey. We’ll discuss lessons learned, assess our impact, and prepare for the journey home.

Finally, with our heads and hearts full, we’ll return to Guatemala City where we’ll say a fond farewell!


When making payment through online banking:

  • Set up Niagara College as the payee and use your student number as the account number
  • Once payment is made, you MUST email and provide your name, student number, payment amount and indicate that payment is for International Field Study: Guatemala: At Origin Winter 2018. Please copy Be World Ready, at on the email
  • The following business day the payment will be uploaded to your student account and as long as Student Accounts receive an email from you, the IFS charge will be posted accordingly

Option 2—In Person

Go to Student Accounts located in the Registrar’s office at Niagara College. There is one at each campus. Have your student number available. Indicate that you would like to make a payment for an International Field Study: Guatemala: At Origin Winter 2018. Make payment (either deposit or final payment) for your International Opportunity to your student account.

Cancellation Policy

Students MUST email the Be World Ready team immediately at, from their Niagara College student email account, to notify the team of your decision to no longer participate in an IFS. If no notification of cancelation is received by email to the Be World Ready team after the initial deposit date, all payments are 100% non-refundable regardless of the below schedule of cancellation fees.

It is imperative that the Be World Ready team is notified of your choice to withdraw from any IFS as soon as possible. A missed payment is not considered a notification of no longer wishing to participate in an IFS an email must be sent to expressing your desire to withdrawal.

If a student needs to cancel their International Field Study, they may qualify for a refund of monies paid based on the schedule of cancellation fees outlined below:

Schedule of Cancellation Fees
  • 0—30 days of deposit date: Refunds will be granted based on vendor/supplier payments made by the cancelation date
  • 31—60 days of deposit date: 50% loss of all payments made to date
  • 61+ days of deposit date: All payments 100% non-refundable

Application Process

  • Apply online
  • Email a copy/photo of your passport to
    • Please ensure all text is legible as this is required to book your airline ticket
  • Pay the deposit (spots for this trip are only secured after a deposit payment has be made)

Grant Eligibility

All, full-time Niagara College students participating in an international activity are eligible for up to $500 worth of Be World Ready grants to help offset the cost of their experience. In order to qualify for the grant:

  • Apply to an international experience
  • Attend a mandatory pre-departure meeting (dates to be determined)
  • Complete the online pre-departure component (consisting of Blackboard modules and forms to sign)
  • Successfully attend the international experience
  • Upon return, submit two high-quality photos along with a well-written testimonial referencing your experience abroad to the Be World Ready team
Note: if we will be flying through the United States of America, you must have permission to enter and leave the United States. If you require a U.S travel visa it is your responsibility to obtain this document and email a copy/photo.
Approx. Price

$2400 +/-

Trip Date

Feb 24, 2018—Mar 4, 2018




Open to all students