General Course Information

Guatemala: Contemporary Counseling Issues

Destination: Guatemala City & Antigua, Guatemala
Number of Credit Hours:  Three credit hours
Faculty Members: 
Mary Fawcett (mfawcett@winona.edu)
Cynthia Briggs (cbriggs@winona.edu)





Brief Program Description

The broad goal of this trip is to expose students interested in counseling, psychology, or social work to mental health and social justice concerns that currently pervade Guatemalan culture. These include, but are not limited to: the effects of 30 years of civil war; concerns of indigenous peoples; oppression within Central America, especially with regard to Guatemalans and native Mayans; the effects of poverty on mental health and wellness; women’s issues, particularly around civil and reproductive rights; and the impact of the current political and cultural climate on the children of Guatemala. 


Required Texts

Lovell, W. G. (2001). A beauty that hurts: Life and death in Guatemala. Austin, TX:     University of Texas Press. 

Menchu, R. (1987). I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian woman in Guatemala. New York: Verso.

Goals 

  1. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the important cultural features of Guatemala.
  2. To expand awareness of mental health and school counseling related issues in Guatemala.
  3. To identify major social justice issues currently prevalent in Guatemalan culture.
  4. To synthesize learning and to develop an action plan for further advocacy on behalf of the Guatemalan and Mayan peoples.

Course Assignments
  • Individual Journaling: Beginning during the pre-trip meetings, students will submit weekly journal entries about hopes, fears, and expectations of the trip. Students will also be given questions to guide their journaling, primarily pertaining to the personal growth involved in cultural immersion. Students will be encouraged to explore and examine their own personal biases and prejudices, as well as ways they might expand their current worldview. During and after the trip, journal entries will focus on synthesizing personal learnings. 
  • Group Processing: Process occurs most days.  Students will engage in semi-structured large and small group discussions about their experiences, challenges, and cultural learnings.
  • Reflective Writing: In conjunction with the daily group processing, students will engage in writing assignments around specific questions related to their experiences. Group processing will (in part) include an opportunity for students to share their writing assignments with others.
  • Learning Portfolio:  After the trip, each student is responsible for creating a learning portfolio.  The learning portfolio should reflect accomplishment of learning objectives defined above, and any additional individual learning that took place. The portfolio may contain journal entries, creative writing, photos, artwork, mementos, content from discussions/conversations, or other creative elements. The portfolio is meant to be a creative, individualized endeavor; thus no two portfolios will look alike, and the construct of the portfolio is up to each student.
 

Additional Information


Guatemala is a country rich with cultural diversity and strife. Thus, it is an ideal place to immerse our students as they strive to increase their awareness of social justice and advocacy issues among non-majority culture populations. Guatemala City contains Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, where there exists a fledgling Counselor Education Program with a focus on social justice issues. Maria Del Pilar is the program coordinator, and with her students a counseling student summit is planned for next spring. Our students will have the opportunity to learn about mental health and school counseling concerns, social justice and multicultural issues, and current counseling practices from students who work and live in the area. Furthermore, Guatemala City is the political hub of the country, and a dynamic place in which to study these issues. 

Antigua is a smaller city, wealthy because of the tourist industry, and thus relatively well-equipped with social service opportunities, though still rife with poverty. On a travel study exploration trip in May-June '07, connections were forged with the school district and local mental healthy resources in Antigua. Additionally, Elizabeth Bell, a long-time Antigua resident, is an active advocate for cultural preservation, and can offer our students contemporary glimpses into Guatemalan culture via specialized tours. 


Contacts

Course Instructor: Mary Fawcett, PhD, NCC, LPC: Associate Professor, Winona State University 

Co-Instructor: Cynthia A. Briggs, PhD, NCC, LPC: Assistant Professor, Winona State University



 Tentative Schedule


 Date 5pm-8pm

 Pre Trip Meetings
 Apr 9Meeting One Lovell readings - Overview of Guatemalan and Mayan Culture and History. 
Apr 16 Meeting Two Lovel readings - Social Justice and Advocacy in Central America. 
 Apr 23Meeting ThreeMenchu readings - Community and School Counseling and Counselor Training in Guatemala. 
 Apr 30 Meeting FourMenchu readings - Final Logistics - Reflection assignments.  
 June 4Post-Travel Meeting  
Students will present their learning portfolio 




2010 Guatemala Travel Study Itinerary 

 Date Time Location & Learning Activity  Learning Objective
 Prior to travel Via D2L and in person:  Reading assignments and discussion of the course text:
    Lovell (2001) and Menchu (1987)
  • Identify major events in Guatemalan history
  • Identify at least three major cultural groups
  • Identify three cultural norms
  • Identify at least three cultural differences between Us and Guatemala 
  • Discuss the impact of US/Guatemalan peoples
 5/12 12:15pm - Arrive in Antigua, Guatemala.
 - Lunch and time to settle in.
 
  2pmLarge Group Meeting: Reaction to travel experience
  • Understand Guatemalan culture
  3pmSpanish language practice :  Language acquisition
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  6pmDinner - whole group practicing Spanish 
  8pmReflection Team Meeting:  Process with small groups 
  Response to question "what I am surprised about myself at this moment?" 
    
 5/13 8amBreakfast (Group):  Practice Spanish 
  9:30amSummit with Universidad del Valle de Guatemala counselor education faculty
  • Expand awareness of major mental health concerns in Guatemala
  • Discuss at least one major mental health concern
  • Describe community and school counselor practice trends
  • Identify at least three social justice concerns
  12:30pmLunch (Group) 
  1:30pmTour of Antigua:  History and culture of the city; history and current economic and social status of the Mayan
  • Understand Guatemala culture and society
  • Develop awareness of the impact of significant historical events on Guatemalan culture
  6pmDinner (Group) 
  8pmReflection Team Meeting:  Process in small groups what it is like to be a "foreigner"
  • Understand the impact of elements of multicultural diversity on individuals
    
 5/14 10amMeet as large group:  Discuss worker positions for children in Antigua
  • Discuss the impact of cultural oppression present in contemporary Guatemalan society
  12pmAntigua market:  Observation of selling goods
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  • Identify social justice issues
  3pmTour of Cerro de la Cruz:  History and religion
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  • develop awareness of the impact of significant events on Guatemalan culture
  • identify at least three major cultural groups in Guatemala
 
Afternoon/Dinner on own 
  8pmReflection Team Meeting:  Respond to the question "How is your religious culture/background similar or different from the Mayan cultural traditions?"
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  • Develop understanding of role of religion
 5/15 8-11amSpanish Lessons
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  11-1pmLunch 
  1-4pmTour of Common Hope Pueblos:  Observation of family life struggling with poverty and learning about the resources of Common Hope for families
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society, expand awareness of health concerns
  • gain understanding of social service organizations in Guatemala
  • identify prominent social justice concerns in contemporary Guatemalan society
  6pmDinner 
  8pmReflection Team Meeting:  respond to the question "how do you think about poverty today?"
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
    
 5/16 8-11amSpanish Lessons
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  11-1pmLunch

 2-5pmTour of Local Village: Observation of various occupations and work settings
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  • expand awareness of health concerns
  • gain understanding of social service organizations
  • identify prominent social justice concerns in contemporary guatemala
  6pmDinner (Group) 
  8pmReflection Team Meeting:  Respond to the question "What types of issues would the people I met today bring to counseling and to whom do they talk?"
  • Describe essential elements of one training program in Guatemala
  • Discuss community and school counselor practice
  • expand awareness of mental health concerns
    
 5/17 8-11amSpanish Lessons
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
 12pmLunch at Rainbow Cafe' (Group) 
  1-3pm    Tour of WINGS (Reproductive rights service organization): Observe and discuss resources for women and learn about the role of religion in family planning
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  • Expand awareness of health concerns
  • gain understanding of social service organizations in Guatemala 
  • Identify prominent social justice concerns in contemporary Guatemalan society
  AfternoonDinner and time on own 
  8pmReflection Team Meeting: Respond to the question "How does family structure and cultural norms about childbearing impact the community and economy?"
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  • Identify prominent social issues/concerns in contemporary Guatemalan Society
    
 5/18 8-11amSpanish Lessons
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  11-1pmLunch 
  2-5pmGuided Maximon Tour: Mayan religious site
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  • develop awareness of impact of significant historical events on Guatemalan culture
  6pmDinner (on own) 
  8pmReflection Team Meetings: Respond to the question "What surprised you today?"
  • Reflection on self-awareness biases
  • Gain understanding of various religious rituals in Guatemala
    
 5/19 8-11amSpanish Lessons
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  11-1pmLunch 
  2-5pmCommon Hope Service Project
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  • Develop awareness of impact of significant historical events on Guatemalan culture
  • Understand implications of service work
    
 5/20 10amGuided Pacaya Tour: Hike a volcano and learn about the terrain
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  6pmDinner (Group) 
    
  8pmReflection Team Meeting: Respond to the question "How does agriculture work in these mountains and how does this type of work affect the economy of the family and the local community?"
  • Understand Guatemalan culture and society
  • Develop awareness of impact of significant historical events on Guatemalan culture
    
 5/21 8am-4pmFree time 
  4pmMayan Ceremony: Experience a Mayan ritual
  • Gain understanding of various religious rituals in Guatemala
  6pmDinner (Group) 
    
 5/22 8am-4pmSummit with Dr. Maria del Pilar, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala 
  5pmDinner with large group: Discuss counseling issues apparent to each of us; discuss counseling issues we learned about on our tours with Common Hope and Wings
  • Identify prominent social issues/concerns in contemporary Guatemalan Society
  8pmFinal Reflection Team Meeting: Respond to the question "What will I take away with me from this experience?"
  • Reflection on self-awareness of cross cultural  counseling and communication
    
 5/23 8-1pmContinued Summit 
  1pmLarge group meeting: Discuss how the local economy, religions, community, language barriers, cultural values affect the mental health of the children growing up in Guatemala
  • Identify prominent social issues/concerns in contemporary Guatemalan society
  5pmDinner on your own 
    
 5/24 10amTo GC airport 










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