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*UCCS Service Learning: Building Bottle Schools in Guatemala
Antigua, Guatemala; Tecpan, Guatemala (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: Spring,
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This program is currently not accepting applications.
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Type of Program: UCCS Faculty-directed Programs Language of Instruction: English
Housing Type: Hotel/Hostel
Program Description:
Program Description:

UCCS Service Learning: Building Bottle Schools in Guatemala

Boys with Bottles
UCCS is partnering with the organization Hug It Forward, a grassroots organization that promotes education and raises environmental awareness by empowering communities in Guatemala to build bottle schools. Bottle schools are are constructed using "eco-bricks" which are plastic bottles stuffed with inorganic trash in the place of cinder blocks. Volunteers and the community comes together to help construct these sturdy buildings. Participants in this program will volunteer working side by side with the community to help construct these buildings while learning about Guatemalan culture and history through cultural excursions like to ancient Mayan ruins. Participants will also enjoy making personal connections with those communities and individuals that they are working with. 

This trip will require grit, empathy, compassion and an interest in learning more about the community we are entering. Participants should expect to start each day with an intention to serve and learn and convene with a reflection. This reflection may materialize in many forms as each participant will experience each day differently. This service learning experiences provide team building, memories that last a lifetime, and opportunities to learn about yourself as a participant as well as the communities you serve. 

All UCCS students, faculty and staff are encouraged to apply!

To learn more, please visit:

About Guatemala and the Communities

The work that participants will be doing to build a bottle school addresses two pressing problems in Guatemala:
  • Only 68% of Guatemalan students complete primary school
  • Only 4% of rural Guatemalans have access to trash disposal services

Participants will be going to San Martin Jilotepeque, a municipality of Chimaltenango. It is one of the poorest and largest municipalities in Guatemala with 87% of residents being indigenous. Most villages in this area lack modern structures for schools.


Please note that the below costs, except the program fee, are estimates and are subject to change.

UCCS Deposit & Application Fee: $150 (due November 15, 2019; non-refundable)
Program Fee*: $1,299 (see below for payment and deadline info; non-refundable)
Round trip Airfare: $650-900
International Health Insurance: $15-$20
Other in-country costs**: $150

Total Estimated Cost: $2,100-$2,450

Payment to Hug It Forward/Serve the World

You can pay the $1299 in full or pay $640 by November 22, 2019 and the remaining balance of $649 by February 22, 2020. The above site has information on payment, what costs include, FAQs, etc.  This goes directly to Hug It Forward/Serve the World and is non-refundable.  Please note the deposit you paid to UCCS of $150 includes the recommended tip amount and the UCCS education abroad application fee. 

*Non-Refundable Program fee includes all local transportation, accommodation at clean, local hotel and all meals
**In-country costs includes tip money and any additional spending money

Important Dates

Trip Dates: March 22-28, 2020
UCCS Deposit Due: November 15, 2019
Hug It Forward/Serve the World 1st Payment Due: November 22, 2019
Hug It Forward/Serve the World Final Balance Due: February 22, 2020


This course is not credit bearing however students do have the option to receive credit towards FCS 3890 through the Department of Languages and Cultures. Please note that if you enroll in the credit option, you will be charged UCCS tuition and fees in addition to the program costs.

About the Leader

Dr. Mandy Hansen, Director of International Affairs, first traveled to Guatemala in 1995. The experience of traveling in Guatemala has shaped her profoundly and led her to volunteering with Spanish speaking communities here in the United States. She has led student trips abroad to India at a Tibetan refugee camp as well as here in the U.S.


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Dates / Deadlines:
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This program is currently not accepting applications.