Guatemalan modern cities, ancient indigenous ruins, volcanoes and jungles make the perfect setting for your intercultural experience. Explore beautiful nature of this country, together with its rich and distinct culture, characterized by a fusion of Spanish and indigenous influences.

People & Community


Guatemalan families like to spend time together during meals and at family gatherings. Parents are usually very protective of their children, especially girls. In smaller towns, people might greet you on the street, even if they don’t know you. A simple “buenos días” is a great sign of hospitality.



You will probably attend a private school, especially if your host siblings go to one. All students in Guatemala wear uniforms and attend school from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can participate in different sports at school. 



Having a basic knowledge of English or Spanish will be an asset in the beginning and will help you learn more. Local volunteers may help arrange independent language study for you during the first months. 



Traditional Guatemalan dishes are usually based on Maya cuisine. You can expect to taste lots of maize, chilies and black beans. It is customary to eat certain foods on certain days of the week, such as paches (a kind of potato tamale) on Thursdays, or fiambre (a special kind of salad) for All Saints’ Day, or tamales and ponche (fruit punch), around Christmas.

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Go abroad with AFS to discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.

Our learning program will prepare you for an amazing AFS intercultural experience. The program begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations and other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations will help you maximize your experience, cope the challenges of navigating a new culture and community and gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding, throughout your time abroad, and as you return to you home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family through your learning journey abroad.


The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) program will support your intercultural learning experience. This state-of-the-art program prepares you to successfully navigate new cultural environments—during your AFSNext experience and long after you finish the program. Online intercultural learning modules combined with in-person sessions help you develop practical and global skills, knowledge and attitudes that employers need and mission-driven organizations believe will help achieve their social impact goals. You will receive your certification upon completion of the training program.