Rooted Expressions


Duration 10 days
Suggested group size 12 - 20 students / 2 Envoys Field Staff
Suggested ages 14 - 18
Experience Art & Indigenous Voices


Rooted Expressions: Elevating Indigenous Voices through Art

Guatemala I

Guatemala, culturally rich and vibrant, boasts diverse populations and ancient Maya ruins like Tikal. Despite its beauty, it faces poverty, inequality, and political instability. This program explores indigenous art, culture, and community perspectives, emphasizing art's role in social change and cultural preservation.

“In the highlands of Guatemala, where ancient Mayan ruins touch the sky, the colors of traditional textiles tell tales of a rich cultural legacy.“


“Vibrant cultures paint the landscape, and every sunrise is a canvas of endless possibilities“


Impact Statement Everywhere we go, we carry a promise – to engage with respect, act with purpose, and leave a positive imprint. As envoys of our journey is more than travel; Our footprint is light, but our impact is profound, creating bridges of cooperation and mutual growth across the globe.

Day 1

Students depart for their international flights and are warmly greeted by Envoys educators upon arrival. After a safety briefing and team-building, the group explores the surrounding area and enjoys a welcome dinner, experiencing the first taste of local cuisine.

Day 2

We visit Lake Atitlan in San Antonio Palopo. Students participate in a traditional ceramic workshop led by Mayan artists. We spend the afternoon exploring the town and participating in empathic interviews with locals. We end the day by visiting a local art market and then head to our hotel.

Day 3

We head to San Lucas Toliman by boat across Lake Atitlan. We meet with a local indigenous artist for a mural and mosaic tour. After lunch, we meet with a women’s weaving cooperative for a workshop and to hear their stories. In the evening, we engage in a Mayan ceremony and explore Mayan cosmology.

Day 4

Students spend the day at the “IMAP”: the Mesoamerican Institute of Permaculture, to learn about seed saving and traditional agriculture practices and how they relate to the Mayan calendar. We later return to town for a farm to table dinner and some evening games.

Day 5

In the morning, we reflect on our travels midway through the program. After breakfast, we take a water taxi to San Juan La Laguna. Upon arrival we have lunch and meet with the community members who will be our host families for two nights. We have dinner before heading to homestays in pairs.

Day 6

We the day in San Juan La Laguna, participating in a mural tour in the morning and meeting with a women’s weaving cooperative in the afternoon, getting a chance to try our hand at the practice. In the evening we gather for sunset reflections on the lake and head to dinner with our homestay families.

Day 7

We go on an early hike to La Nariz for a stunning sunrise view of the lake and volcanoes. After a mid-morning descent, we enjoy cafecitos and pastries. Then, we head to Panajachel to meet hosts and join a reforestation program. We spend the night there preparing for a day of service in the morning.

Day 8

We spend most of the day working with the reforestation project, re-seeding the land with new trees. In the later afternoon, we transfer to Antigua. Upon arrival we check in to our hotel to shower and then head out to dinner as a group and visit the Santa Catalina Arch at sunset.

Day 9

Students spend their last day in Guatemala visiting different artist galleries, local markets, shopping and speaking with artisans. Our day ends with a full program debrief and reflection workshop to process experiences and prepare to share our learnings with our family and school community.

Day 10

International flights home

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Lenses of Inquiry


Global Citizenship

In-country lessons on empathy and cross-cultural understanding give students the skills to engage with the unfamiliar. Through Envoys’ in-country networks, students explore the culture, history, and identity of Guatemala. During the final days they create ‘action plans’ to share their experiences.


Positive Dispositions of Difference

We explore cross-cultural understanding, challenging preconceived notions about poverty and breaking negative stereotypes. We focus on the things that bind us: our common values and humanity. Students experience a reality outside their own, and learn there is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way of living.


Art and Indigenous Voices:

This program explores indigenous art in Guatemala examining how art reflects, challenges, and preserves cultural practices amidst colonial influences. Through dialogue, site visits and workshops, participants gain insight into Guatemala's diverse indigenous art and cultures.


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