Guatemala and Mayan Studies

Guatemala and Mayan Studies Program

Vanderbilt has a world renowned program in Maya studies and offers numerous opportunities for students to study and visit the Maya area of southern Mexico and Guatemala. CLAS faculty members, Arthur Demarest, Markus Eberl, Edward Fischer, and Norbert Ross, are Mayanists and top experts in their field. Guatemala is a fascinating place to study with its rich cultural tapestry and stunning environments. From ancient Maya hieroglyphs and archaeology to modern cultures and languages, from democracy and security studies to nutrition and pediatric medicine – students from many disciplines can find a place with our programs.

Maya Language Coursework
Mayan Language Institute: K’iche’ Maya and Kaqchikel Maya
We are the only school in the country to offer a full sequence of language instruction in K’iche’ Mayan and offer a two-year K’iche’ language courses and a summer field school in Nahualá.
KICH 2202/5202 Readings in K’iche’ Mayan
KICH 1101/5101 Intro to Maya Language
KICH 1102/5102 Conversational K’iche’ Maya
KICH 2201/5201 Advanced K’iche’ Maya

Anthropology Coursework
ANTH 8110 Seminar in Maya Ethnography
ANTH 3242 Ancient Mayan Civilizations
ANTH 3202 Collapse of Civilizations
ANTH 3622 Classic Maya Language and Hieroglyphs
ANTH 3243 Ancient Maya Gods and Rulers

Surgical Missions
The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and the Shalom Foundation’s alliance support two to three major surgical missions per year to Guatemala. The work is done in the Moore Surgery Center in Guatemala City, an innovative “medical timeshare” involving local medical students and VU students and interns. More…

Scholarship and Global Engagement Course
Medicine, Health, and Society department and CLAS offer a year-long VISAGE (Vanderbilt Initiative for Scholarship and Global Engagement) course during which students spend 4 weeks in Guatemala. More…

Pediatric Care
The InterAmerican Health Alliance is an NGO founded and led by VU medical student Brent Savoie. Working with Primeros Pasos, they offer preventive pediatric care to over 1000 patients a month in rural areas. More…

This new international component to the Vanderbilt School of Nursing midwife program sends students to work with local midwives at the Primeros Pasos clinic.

Alternative Spring Break
The Office of Active Citizenship (OAC) offers this exciting spring break alternative to students. Since 2005, students have been participating in thePrimeros Pasos clinic in Guatemala. More…

Biomedical Engineering Course
This is a service-learning course taught by Cynthia Paschal; students work on medical equipment at Moore Surgery Center and other hospitals in Guatemala; collaboration with engineering students from the Universidad del Valle. More..

Development, Health and Eco-tourism Project
Vanderbilt’s Anthropology Department supports the Cancuén Archaeology Project in an archaeology park in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. The project integrates local development, health projects and eco-tourism opportunities.

Health Management
Project Pyramid is a course led by Bart Victor from the  Owen School of Management. Students travel to Guatemala and develop strategic planning and business models for Primeros Pasos clinic and other projects in Guatemala.   Read a student’s perspective

Volunteer Projects
Manna Project International:   A volunteer driven non-profit organization serving international communities. At the Guatemala site, teams of thirteen-month volunteers work alongside targeted communities to implement a wide array of development programs.

Conexión Guatemala: An organization run by CLAS that brings together over 15 humanitarian mission efforts based in Nashville that focus on Guatemala.

Institute for Coffee Studies


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