CGEE: Social Change in Central America: Exploring Peace, Justice, and Community Engagement

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This multi-country semester study abroad program, defined by an experiential methodology and unique approach to community engagement, offers students a provocative and inspiring experience that develops Spanish language skills while immersing part... read more

All Reviews

Based on 5 Reviews
Cost of Living
Overall Experience
I learned the influence that the United States holds over Central America; I learned that humans are incredibly strong in spirit; I learned that in our core, we are all looking for the same things in life; I learned that the world is beautiful and astounding and simple mornings in fresh air surrounded by trees will take your bre... - Berea College View Entire Review
A student studying abroad with CGE (Ausburg College): Traveling - Social Change in Central America (Fall and Spring)
I feel like I developed a really robust understanding of Central America as a region, due to the comparative nature of the program. I was always encouraged to reflect and think very critically about the world I live in. I also developed wonderful friends, both in my fellow students, in locals I met, and in the CGE staff. ... - Duke University View Entire Review
I learned a lot about the history of the countries I visited, liberation theology, local cultures, social participation, opportunities for social justice actions, and improved in Spanish speaking skills too. - Berea College View Entire Review
This is not an overstatement: If I could trace my current life, its tragectory, my passions, and my future back to one singular experience, it would undeniably be this semester abroad. CGE helped me harnass my passions and narrow my professional focus towards a career that is meaningful and fits me well. Since my abroad experi... - Trinity University View Entire Review
- Berea College View Entire Review
I am definitely glad that I chose the CGE Central America program. If I could do it all over again I would not have changed a thing. - Texas Lutheran University View Entire Review
This program is unbelievable. CGE has been doing this program for over 25 years, and the connections they've built are INSANE. Here is just a brief taste of the people we spoke to on the program: -Fernando Cardenal, the head of the most successful literacy campaign in world history (Nicaragua, 1980) -Rogelio, the only surviv... - Oberlin College View Entire Review
Although aware of the poverty rates in the world, it was another thing to be continually be confronted by inequity through our conversations, academics, and daily interactions. The program has made me much more interested in political economy... well, now I can articulate the field of political economy as encompassing my inter... - Wellesley College View Entire Review
It gave me a focus on my interests and passions. I am currently searching for a way to return more permanently post-grad. - Fordham University View Entire Review


This multi-country semester study abroad program, defined by an experiential methodology and unique approach to community engagement, offers students a provocative and inspiring experience that develops Spanish language skills while immersing participants in the lives of host families, urban and rural communities, and grassroots organizations dedicated to working on issues related to conflict, U.S. foreign policy, gender, and economic and social justice.  Students will meet and speak with liberation theologians and practitioners, women’s collectives and representatives of feminist movements, government officials, political party representatives, former guerrilla leaders, a Mayan priestess, Indigenous leaders, and youth groups.

Students will learn about:

  • The richness and diversity of Central America compared and contrasted by the history, culture, and anti-oppression struggles of the people of Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua

  • Indigenous cosmovisions, the role of religion in social change, legacies of armed struggle, community organizing and engagement, and the impact of globalization and immigration

  • Diverse approaches to environmental conservation, sustainability, economic issues, and social justice.

This program has an emphasis on field excursions and community engagement.  Travel includes:

  • In Guatemala: a visit to Chichicastenango to experience Central America’s largest outdoor artisan market, participate in a Mayan-Catholic mass, and a women’s sewing cooperative; a week-long stay in an Indigenous rural community where students will live with families, learn about the legacy of war, engage in traditional cooking classes, bathe in hot baths, and visit a glass factory; several days in the city of Antigua, a world heritage site known for its colonial architecture.

  • In Costa Rica: explore the current role of churches and liberation theology, particularly through accompaniment and work with immigrants; be exposed to feminist theologies of liberation; learn about ecotheology first hand and how it relates to Latin American liberation theologies, live with host families in San José, and engage in regional travel to both urban and rural areas.

  • In Nicaragua: a visit to the protected area of Miraflor in the coffee and tobacco region of Esteli to learn about rural development initiatives and conservation; a day trip to Granada, one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas, as well as the city of Masaya, a capital of Nicaraguan folklore.

Situated at the very center of the Americas, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua are home to more than 30 Indigenous and ethnic communities with a cultural heritage rich in creativity, resistance, and political advocacy.  Students are provided with unique opportunities in this region, which is shaped by a legacy of colonization, U.S. intervention, dictatorships, revolutions, and grassroots movements dedicated to social change.  Students’ experiences in the region will challenge them to analyze, reflect, and deepen understanding of our world.

Program Type(s):
Study Abroad
Program Length(s):
  • Fall
  • Spring
Relevant Study Subject(s):
  • Environmental Studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Ethnic, Cultural Minority, Gender, and Group Studies
  • Spanish Language, Literature
  • Human Development, Family Studies
  • Peace Studies, Conflict Resolution
  • Community Organization and Advocacy
  • Political Science and Government
  • History
Year Founded:
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