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Your pre-course assignment


As always with travels, our anticipation is growing with each detail we look at and plan. Having developed a tentative itinerary and an underlying vision, we can begin to really prepare and get an idea of the places we are going to visit in just about one month! To give all of us a head start, we would like you to do some preparation as well. In this Yak, you will find a couple of assignments that will allow you to be more than just a tourist in Guatemala from day 1. Please take the time to complete these assignments before departure – we promise they are all super interesting!

First of all, we’re sure you can’t wait to finally speak your first words in Spanish – or to use it again if you already know a bit. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn and speak once we are in Guatemala, but why not start now? If you haven’t been taking classes recently or need to brush up, we strongly recommend you try duolingo, an app that helps you in a fun way with the first steps of learning Spanish. There is also plenty of great music to get you in the mood. We really like Calle 13, Bomba Estereo, Silvio Rodriguez and Mercedes Sosa! Not in Spanish, but about as cool as it gets, is this Tz’utujil Mayan rap video made by artists from San Juan la Laguna, the town where we will have our long homestays.

We have also created a YouTube-playlist with a mix of documentary-type videos and music by Guatemalan or Latin American women. We would ask you to watch the informative segments, as this is important for the success of our course.

In April, The New Yorker published a three-part article (part 1, part 2, and part 3) on the relation between climate change and migration in Huehuetenango. Please be sure to read at least the first part. In addition, please watch this video, produced by Vox, that tells the story of migrants on their way through Mexico. Both the video and the article give a really good overview of our focus of inquiry.

We, the instructors, will reach out to you over the phone in the coming weeks. We know that you’ve already been talking with folks at Dragons, but now you can talk with the people you’re actually going to be traveling with. We’d like to hear your voices, give you a chance to ask questions, and get to know each other a little. Please check your email so we can schedule a call.

Finally, we look forward to reading your introductions on our Yak board (don’t forget to include a nice photo or two!)! Here are a few prompts you can use:

  1. Introduce yourself! What should we know about you?
  2. What song (in English or Spanish) describes how you feel about the course?
  3. Does your family have a history of migration?
  4. Fun question: If you were a plant, what would you be? Why?

Looking forward to meeting you all soon in person!


Un abrazo,

Katherine, Nicte, and Jochen

PS: Extra credit if you can figure out why we keep spelling “Dragoncitos,” meaning “little Dragons,” with an “x”!