Guatemala: Fair Trade and Social Justice

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Fall 2024 applications are closed.

The Program:

Operation Groundswell’s “Brewing Justice” program goes deep inside the original Banana Republic where a fertile land conceals bitter fruit. So, from the bustling markets of Guatemala’s big cities to the smallholder farms of the western highlands, we’ll explore places where land and livelihoods are intertwined with identity and examine why coffee and malnutrition often grow side- by-side. We’ll meet with producers in their fields, talk shop with fair trade retailers and get our hands dirty learning service alongside our community partners. We’ll follow a coffee bean from seed to shelf and learn how Guatemalans are challenging the inequities of a global marketplace.

The combination of service-learning, cultural immersion, and adventure will challenge us to think critically about our next cup of coffee and how we as consumers can start to brew social justice.

Travel with other students, a UTM staff member and our partners from Operations Groundswell. 

This is a Co-Curricular experience. For more information please click here


The Trip: Fall Reading Week

Approximate Travel Dates: Friday, October 25th, 2024 - Sunday, November 3rd, 2024

Why Participate 

  • Examination of ethical consumerism with a critical focus on fair trade, direct trade and trade justice.

  • Exploration of the coffee industry as well as other production chains and how they connect consumer and producer in a global marketplace including a discussion of identity, land distribution, immigration, and income generation.

  • Immerse yourself in the unique landscape and culture.

  • Establish connections with fellow students, staff and faculty. 

  • Add international experience to your resume.


Sample Itinerary* 

Accommodation: Hotel, hostels, cabins 

Transportation: Private Shuttles, Taxis, Public Buses, and Tour Busses.

Meals: Hotel, and Local Restaurants, Communities 

OG: Our partners at Operations Groundswell will lead you through a truly immersive experience filled with planned daily excursions, educational programming, and opportunities to interact with the local community.

The following is a sample schedule and is subject to change:

Day(s): 1-3

  • travel to the country’s former capital for relaxing evening at our home in Antigua. 
  • explore the coffee chain by going seed to shelf with De La Gente (“from the people”), a sustainable agricultural cooperative based in neighboring San Miguel Escobar. 
  • Visit local markets and prepare a traditional Guatemalan dinner complete with tortillas and guacamole.

Day(s): 3-4


  • Visit indigenous metropolis of Xela
  • Connect with La Paz Spanish School 
  • Cook an authentic Mayan meal complete with a dessert of homemade chocolate.

Day(s): 4-6

  • Visit Santa Anita which is home to a unique association of coffee producers 
  • Deepen our understanding of their coffee revolution

Day(s): 6-9

  • Conclude the adventure on the shores of beautiful Lago Atitlan in San Juan La Laguna
  • Learn all about sustainable living while they explore local craft-based economies from medicinal plants and natural dyes to woven textiles and artisanal coffee



Estimated cost of International Component 2024-2025: CAD$ 3000-3300. 

What is Included: Flights, transportation, accommodation, meals, in-country activities associated with the course, and trip-cancellation insurance. Funding Available! 

What is NOT Included: Course fees, fees associated with supplemental travel insurance, additional optional tours/activities while abroad, visa applications, medical exams, vaccinations, and any other additional costs. 



Bursaries will be awarded based on demonstrated financial need (not linked to OSAP) as shown in your funding request in your UTM Abroad application. Read more about funding here!

If you have applied for a bursary- You will hear back about your bursary application at the same time as your trip application.


Payment Schedule 

PaymentAmountDue Date
1st Installment$250.00With Application
2nd Installment$950.00June 16th, 2024
3rd Installment$950.00TBD
4th Installment$950.00TBD
5th Installment$100-200*TBD

*Final Installment will be determined based on the final trip cost.


Need To Know 

  • The cost and itinerary are subject to change. 

  • Applicants must submit an application for admission into the course to their respective departments and will be required to abide by the corresponding UTM Abroad application requirements and deadlines to participate in the international experience. 

  • Fees must be paid in full by the required deadlines.

  • To prepare for the trip, students attending will participate in the mandatory pre-departure and safety abroad sessions which occur in person on campus.