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Would you like to study food, community, the environment and culture in the tropics? Or provide volunteer service through one of several local partner organizations/agencies?

Join IPSL on the shores of spectacular Lake Atitlán living and working alongside indigenous Mayan people.

The IPSL Guatemala experience can be created as a customized graduate, undergraduate, gap year, volunteer, or service learning program. The choice is yours!


Exploring a "Food Forest" in Guatemala

Food Justice, Permaculture, and Indigenous Rights

Take this opportunity to pursue intensive and interactive study and service abroad.


You can engage with the culture, food, lifestyle, agriculture economy, and human, animal, and environmental health of Guatemala first-hand through coursework, expert lecturers, service projects, and site visits.

First time international traveler, Michael, shares the challenges and opportunities of getting outside his comfort zone with IPSL Guatemala.

Explore One Health - Everything is Connected!

Travel exploration that broadens your perspective

This is a unique, comparative, on-the-go program that consists of daily academic learning, cultural excursions, and service in the community. The fast-paced exploration of Guatemalan agriculture and food concerns allow students to engage with many community organizations in locations around the country. As students travel together, learn from experts and become exposed to the cultural multiplicity of this vibrant country, the coursework grounds the student's experience and positions them to delve deeper into these issues using One Health theory.  

IPSL graduate student, Zandy describes her work in Guatemala and Peru using permaculture techniques in community development.

Graduate Studies

Whether you're a NUNM student or currently a graduate student from another institution, IPSL provides an opportunity to earn significant academic credit while advancing your study, internship and research goals.

IPSL Global Institute at NUNM offers Colombia as a destination for our graduate students. Choose a Master's of Arts in International Development & Service (IDS) or Community Organizing and Social Activism (COSA), or do independent research or service that qualifies for academic credit.

Academic Courses

Please contact us to discuss graduate study and research opportunities in Guatemala.


Academic courses for gap year, undergraduate, graduate credit or just because!

  • Spanish language tutoring - all levels

  • Language Across the Curriculum independent project

  • Guatemala One Health: Ecology. Culture. Justice. 

  • Applications of Mayan Cosmology in Contemporary Health Systems 

  • Introduction to COSA 

  • Advocacy Research 


Address real human needs

As you work with local people, you will find your experience and understanding of the culture enriched and deepened, your leadership skills developed, and your language skills enhanced. Your placement will be determined by community and organizational needs, as well as your interests, goals, and skills.



Created and run by indigenous people's their aim is to promoting food sovereignty through accessible and nutritious food, regenerative agriculture practices, and seed saving. The organization is an educational and cultural hub for the rural communities that surround it and recognizes the value and abundance of medicinal and herbal Mayan wisdom that local families possess. Weaving sustainable permaculture practices with Mayan cosmology their goal is to develop tools to systematize the knowledge, preserve it and make it accessible to everyone. 


This center is made up of a dozen women who want to create a weaving and craft skills cooperative or foundation. They are survivors of physical and emotional violence and receive psychological support as well as legal counseling. Sales creates a communal fund for emergencies and for purchasing materials. There is occupational therapy providing a support network, they often attend workshops on self-esteem, first-aid, and delinquency prevention for their kids. Their husbands and sons participate in workshops on imagining new masculinities. 


Various programs to help low-income families and children to grow their own food, but also to learn, socialize, receive counseling and have fun in the edible gardens. The nutrition program donates and delivers nutritious and balanced food for each family. The house construction program provides the most marginalized families with a safe and dignified home. The educational program provides scholarships to prevent children from dropping out of school and joining the workforce to support their families.


Community organization and shelter aims to eradicate violence against women and children, and to create a safe space that provides legal, psychological and educational assistance. 


This midwifery clinic is led by three expert indigenous Mayan women midwives. Their aim is to educate indigenous women about pregnancy and labor, support local communities and end maternal mortality all while using plant-based natural products. Their traditional counseling and medical practices are offered in their native indigenous tongue, following the local culture and customs.


Home clinic where treating patients (often at no cost) treating patients as a community bone-healer and "Sobador". He The clinic offers traditional physical therapies and indigenous plant based medicines. Volunteers and medical students can shadow during consultation and home visits.

Other Opportunities May Include

  • Organic and permaculture farm nonprofits

  • Women's traditional agriculture cooperative

  • Indigenous seed-saving programs

  • Food security and food justice non-profits

  • Nutrition education programs

  • Maternal and baby health programs

  • Youth environmental conservation education 

  • Providing infrastructure for permaculture projects including potable water improvement, wastewater treatment projects, soil conservation projects, irrigation water catchment systems


Students may either stay in dorm style accommodations at our partner Permaculture Institute with students, activists, and researchers from around the world. Or, students may elect to stay with a Guatemalan host family in the local town.


An integral part of the program, the homestay offers you the opportunity to make life-long friends, gain higher proficiency in the language, and experience the culture from "the inside." All IPSL host families are carefully selected and experienced with hosting students.  Living with local residents is part of the immersion experience. Instead of being a tourist, an IPSL student gets to know what it's like to be part of a different culture.

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Live on the shores of Lake Atitlán at a sustainable permaculture center


Our partners are open year-round and start dates vary. Inquire with IPSL about your options. We are flexible with the start date and the duration of every program. 

Looking for something

extra special?

Please inquire as we can customize to most any schedule and budget!​

What's Included

  • Tuition and academic fees

  • Academic transcript

  • Onsite and online orientation and pre-departure materials

  • Transportation from Guatemala City and back

  • Site visits

  • Cultural excursions

  • Expert lectures

  • English-speaking guides

  • Dorm-style accommodation or homestay

  • Food stipend (meals are prepared communally)

  • Emergency medical/ evacuation insurance

What's NOT Included

  • Meals (except in homestay)

  • Local transportation (excluding airport transfers and transport associated with the One Health and COSA Course, which are included)

  • Cell phone service

  • Passport

  • Vaccination fees (if required/or elected)

  • Course materials

  • Personal travel

  • Personal spending money

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