Go Global Office of Global Engagement

Guatemala - Global Citizenship Term Abroad

CENS 315 & PHIL 335 | 6 credits

Program overview

These courses are led by Thomas Kemple & Sylvia Berryman, Faculty of Arts 

  • Course Dates: May 13 – June 30, 2024 
  • Travel dates: June 6 – June 30, 2024 
  • Format: In person 
  • Location(s): Vancouver and Guatemala 
  • Approximate program fee: Approx. $3000 (Go Global Fee, tuition, and flights are additional costs and not included in the program fee) 
  • Funding available (click through to learn more about each award):  

Information session recording available


Passcode: t74a#^BU

All interested applicants should watch the information session recording to prepare for the interview

Apply by December 5, 2023

 Application instructions here

Apply Now

All applicants must watch the information session recording.

About the course                                                                                                   

Students will spend 3.5 weeks in-class on campus at UBC starting in mid-May, then travel to Guatemala for 3.5 weeks. 

Philosophy 335 (Power and Oppression) and CENS 315 (formerly SOCI) begin together by examining classical theories of oppressive power and civil society offered by European theorists struggling to understand the complexities of emerging modern industrial society (De Las Casas, Hobbes, Rousseau, Marx and Mill, Arendt and Marcuse), with some consideration of the consequences of colonial conquest. Our encounter with the colonial experience as narrated from the perspective of the dominated re-situates and problematizes this narrative: the impacts of globalization on a developing country highlight new questions about structural oppression (the focus of Phil 335) and the potential for civil society resistance (the focus of CENS 315). More recent theorists of power, oppression and civil society, including both Western and Indigenous scholars focusing on the Guatemalan case, complement and illuminate the particular instances we encounter in‐country of groups confronting gender and ethnic oppression, systemic violence and the oppressive nature of extreme poverty. Students research topics of their choice relating the course themes to the local environment. 

CENS 315 Syllabus 2023 (DRAFT) pdf

Phil 335A Syllabus 2023 (DRAFT) pdf

Program eligibility  
General Global Seminar requirements

To participate in a Global Seminar, students must: 

  • Be in good-standing in their faculty (as defined by home faculty)  
  • In the year leading up to the Global Seminar, have full-time student status (as defined by home faculty)    
  • Have completed 2nd year requirements before the start of the program (i.e. 3rd or 4th year standing)  
  • Have at least a 70% academic average in your last full-time academic session before applying    
  • Maintain a 70% academic average leading up to the program  
  • Meet any program specific requirements listed below including pre-requisites before participating 
Specific requirements
  • Students majoring in Philosophy are able to apply!  
  • Students majoring and minoring in Sociology and related disciplines are welcome to apply! Students may be able to receive Sociology credit for this program instead of CENS credit. 
  • Students must attend an interview with the instructors before being accepted. 

Final selection will be done by the lead faculty program directors. Spots in the program may be limited. 

Students who wish to participate in the summer after graduating may be eligible on a case-by-case basis.

Experience and conditions in the Field

The travel component of this course takes place after 3.5 weeks of classes in Vancouver. Our first day in‐country begins with a high impact visit to two organizations in the nation's capital: a project supporting survival sex workers and a museum and interactive space for the recovery and reconstruction of historical memory in Guatemala, including civil war atrocities and present-day resistance movements. Transitioning to a highland town, we spend a one‐week immersion in a local initiative that combines Spanish language immersion, family home‐stay, cultural orientation and experiential‐learning opportunities. Lectures by a local anthropologist from another local initiative on the colonial experience offer an important counter‐narrative to the classical European theorists studied in both courses. The final two weeks of travel will be led by Operation Groundswell (OG), a social justice-oriented organization. OG will take students on an immersive adventure through Guatemala to explore themes of food security and environmental justice. The adventure will include meetings with local activists, immersion in Mayan culture, hands-on learning with local land defenders, and exploring local craft-based economies. Students can expect a high degree of physical activity due to the amount of travel and hands-on fieldwork combined with the different local environments and climate. 


Homestays (for one week), dorm, hostel, and basic hotel accommodations will be arranged in Guatemala. Most accommodations will be shared with one or two other students. Accommodations will be relatively basic.

There will be very limited access to high-speed internet.

Program fee and other costs
Approximate program fee: $3000.00*

*The final fee depends on the number of students in the seminar. All Global Seminars only run if there is a minimum number of students enrolled.  

Program fees include:
  • Accommodation  
  • Program- related travel in-country; (e.g. buses)  
  • Excursions and entrance fees  
  • Some group meals  
  • On-site guest lectures
Not Included:  
  • Go Global Fee ($415)
  • Flights 
  • UBC tuition for credits   
  • Visa/country entrance fees   
  • Health or travel insurance   
  • Personal spending money*   

*Some examples of personal costs include mobile communication, extra snacks or beverages, additional meals that are not already identified as part of the Program Fee, immunizations, Visas, etc.

Arts Research Abroad (ARA) Funding 

This seminar is an Arts Research Abroad (ARA) course. ARA courses will provide an award which will cover up to 50% of the program fee and flights for eligible students. In cases of demonstrated financial need (determined by Enrolment Services), ARA may fund up to 100% of the program fee and flights. 

All eligible Arts students selected for this program will be automatically considered for the award. No additional award application is required.

Eligibility for Arts Research Abroad (ARA) funding:

  • Undergraduate Faculty of Arts students (students from other faculties are not eligible for ARA funding, but may still participate in the program)
  • Selected for this program
  • Students who have Canadian student loans and non-repayable bursaries may qualify for 100% ARA funding

For example: 

  • Students who qualify for 50% ARA funding will have program fee reduced from $3000 to $1500. In addition, you will receive an award equal to 50% of the estimated flight cost, or $1000, whichever is higher.
  • Students who qualify for 100% ARA funding will not be charged the program fee, and will receive a cash award equal to the estimated cost of the flight between Vancouver and Guatemala.

Typically, students will need to pay for the flight first and will receive the award early in the summer term.

Selected students who are not eligible for ARA will be charged the full program fee and receive a $1000 Go Global Award.

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