It has been just shy of two weeks since I returned from Guatemala, and I still miss it every day! Despite the program being quite short compared to other study abroad programs at only three weeks long, the routines that I developed and the sights that I grew used to seeing in Antigua have made for a more noticeable transition process back to life in the United States compared to other trips abroad that I have taken.
Beyond any sadness that I have felt with the end of the trip, I feel tremendously thankful that I had the opportunity to participate in such a great experience. From the excursions we took to Lake Atitlan and Guatemala City to the routines we developed in Antigua (in particular, the copious amounts of card-playing with friends every night), everything about the trip surpassed all expectations that I had. I have a lot of favorite moments from the trip but what I miss the most is sitting up on one of the many rooftops in Antigua at a cafe or restaurant with classmates and taking in the scenery while watching the nearby Fuego Volcano erupt every fifteen to twenty minutes.
For anybody considering this study abroad program, or any other study abroad program for that matter, I offer a resounding endorsement of the experience. With the faculty-led programs in particular, I was a little concerned before the trip that the short nature of the trip was not going to give me quite the same experience and immersion as semester long programs, but we were kept very busy and our excursions allowed us to see most of the top sites in the country, so I was very satisfied with the extent of what we were able to do. The value of our trip was exceptional as we were able to complete two upper level political science courses for less than the cost of taking them in Tuscaloosa, and Dr. Hale was a great professor and made sure we still covered a lot of interesting material despite the classes being shorter than the typical semester-long courses he teaches.