Immersion Program

Every three years, Principia offers a four-week language-intensive program that gives students the opportunity to complete language requirements in a Spanish-speaking country: Guatemala.

In addition to developing greater fluency in Spanish, the program fosters cultural awareness and understanding. Students stay in the historically preserved inland city of Antigua, a picturesque destination filled with a rich mix of indigenous cultures and European influences. Antigua is also recognized as one of the most popular cities to study Spanish in all of Latin America.

While in Guatemala, students take a series of day trips to destinations and events including coffee plantations, volcanic ash beaches, a Mayan archeological site, open markets, soccer games, a traditional music museum, and a textile-weaving workshop. Even though students aren’t always sitting in a traditional classroom, their Spanish lessons rarely came to a halt. Tutors often took part in these excursions, both to avoid losing class time and totake advantage of spontaneous learning opportunities. The students also ventured into Guatemala City to attend a church service at the country’s only Christian Science society.

Describing the progress students make in this program, Spanish professor and program leader Cecily Lee emphasizes the significance of seven hours of daily tutoring. She also credits the increased desire to communicate created by being in another country. “Students want to talk with their host family. They want to buy food,” she explains. “It’s all about experiential learning and cultural activity.”