PULSERA SUMMER TEACHER TRIP INFO 2024
Trip Dates: July 10th - July 18th 2024
Applications Open: January 15th 2024
Trip Cost: $1,675 (All in-country expenses; flights purchased separately).
Eligibility: All Spanish-speaking teachers who have been involved with The Pulsera Project
Checks can be mailed to: The Pulsera Project // 449 Fleming Rd / Suite C / Charleston, SC 29412
Who Can Apply?
Any teacher that has been involved in at least one pulsera sale before January 1, 2024. We highly encourage that any participants be at least conversationally fluent in Spanish, as interactions with artists and project partners is a main feature of the trip. Teachers who have participated in, but not lead, pulsera sales are encouraged to apply. Due to the small size of the trip, only one teacher per school can attend. There will be a total of ten slots for the 2024 trip.
Application Details & Deadline
Applications will open on January 15th and will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Applicants must fill out an application form, pay the $500 trip deposit, and send their liability release to reserve a space. Teachers that apply after the trip is full will be put on a wait-list in the order in which their applications come in. All deposits will be refunded until a space opens up.
Vista Higher Learning is also sponsoring an additional all-expenses-paid spot on the trip. Details and eligibilty here.
The Pulsera Project is also committed to making sure financial burdens do not prevent interested teachers from applying. Please contact us at email@example.com if you’d like to be considered for a financial stipend.
The trip cost covers all in-country expenses from when your flight arrives to when it leaves Guatemala – transportation to and from the airport, lodging, food, in-country transportation, and insurance. The Pulsera Project has international travel insurance that covers everything up to emergency medical evacuation.
We will begin and end our trip in Antigua, Guatemala, one of the true gems of Central America. Pulsera employees will pick you up from the airport for the (approximate) one-hour drive to Antigua.
Though we’ll mostly be based in Antigua, we’ll also be traveling throughout the country to visit different project partners and artists. We’ll be making a 3-4 night trip up to Panajachel, a beautiful town on the side of Lago Atitlan, and Quetzaltenango, and stopping at various project partner organizations along the way.
The daily trip itinerary will be finalized in early 2024, but you can look at previous itineraries from 2019, 2022, and 2023. You can also get a glimpse of the trip from NSE’s scholarship recipient in 2022 here, and see an amazing interactive retelling of 2023's trip here thanks to NSE scholarship recipient Cara Buchiarelli.
Our 2024 trip will feature fair trade weaving demonstrations, permaculture tours, explorations of Guatemala’s rich indigenous history, and conversations with leaders, experts, and activists.
The following is a list of basics to consider before the trip and what we need from you in order to reserve your spot.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all gotten accustomed to changing plans. All trip participants will be required to purchase flight insurance, should the trip have to be canceled for any reason.
Similarly, health hazards and requirements can change suddenly, and the Pulsera Project remains committed to the safety of not just trip participants, but the groups we’ll be visiting. All trip participants are required to fill out this liability release, which includes a clause stating our commitment to following whatever local health requirements are in place during the trip.
IMMUNIZATIONS & HEALTH
We’re traveling to a foreign country, and it’s important to know established guidelines for your health. The US State Department website has a lot of important information that you should read before deciding to join the trip.
Each person on this trip will be covered by The Pulsera Project’s emergency medical evacuation policy which provides for medical transport back to the U.S. should a situation warrant evacuation.
If someone on the trip feels too ill to travel, they will not be left alone. Someone will be with them at all times.
Safety is our first priority. The locations of our hotels, the types of transportation we use, the number of experienced group leaders, the fact that we travel with Guatemalans, and many other trip aspects have resulted from considering safety first.
We know the country very well and we travel with Guatemalans who know it even better, so trip leaders are familiar with risks and we avoid them.
We travel in bunches – the safest way to travel. The hotels where we stay are secure, and all activities and stops are vetted before we the trip.
Though we’re traveling in the middle of the summer and heading to the tropics, the altitude of Guatemala will keep things cooler in most of the cities we’ll be visiting.
We have a packing list that can help, but generally plan on it being warmer (70-85 degrees) during the day and cooler (55-70 degrees) in the evening.
CLOTHES & CHECKED BAGS
We highly recommend everyone to have a good pair of walking shoes that can get dirty and a light rain jacket, as we’ll be in Guatemala during the rainy season and some tours can get muddy.
We encourage teachers to try and pack lightly, and to bring a backpack, large purse, or other bag to help carry things like water bottles during the day.
MONEY & CURRENCY
Please be sure to bring crisp, clean, US bills. Money exchangers will not accept ripped, torn, or marked bills. ATMs are also widely available, and many of the places we visit will accept credit cards as well.
Finally, one of our employees will always have ample Guatemalan Quetzals to help with any urgent purchases. Funds will only be needed for personal purchases like gifts.
In Antigua, we will be staying at the beautiful Hotel Posada de Don Rodrigo, where the project has stayed for several past trips. We will also stay at their sister hotel in Panajachel. All locations will have 24-hour security, hot water, wifi, and other modern amenities.
Please note that to keep the trip cost down all rooms will be shared with one other trip participant. Please contact us for questions about alternative accommodations.
Guatemala has infamously perilous roads, so all of our travel will be private, with modern vans. We’ve been working with the same transportation company for over five years now on all project trips in Guatemala, and spare no expense in ensuring everyone’s safety and comfort.
FOOD / MEALS
All of the hotels we’ll be staying at will offer a variety of breakfast options, ranging from U.S. staples like eggs, continental breakfasts, as well as more traditional Guatemalan fare.
We’ll eat at a range of restaurants, including at restaurants offering authentic cuisine from other Latin American countries. There’s truly something for everyone, and we can accommodate most dietary restrictions.
PHONE / INTERNET / TEXTING
Trip leaders will have phones at all times to be used in cases of emergency. Some carriers also provide free data and calling in Guatemala, and everywhere we stay will have wifi.
There will be time each day to call/text home and check in with family. Apart from that, we ask that phone use be kept to a minimum so we can all be present to share in the adventure we’ll be having!
The Pulsera Project functions very differently from most NGOs and non-profit organizations, both practically and philosophically. We’ll share stories, articles, and insight from some of the most progressive experts on development, education, and global issues. You’ll gain a richer understanding of not only the people you’ve supported, but the new ways we’re trying to address very old problems.
These trips are meant to deepen and challenge how we understand poverty, development, pedagogy, and much more, and this is equally true of the Pulsera staff and artisan partners we’ll be visiting. These trips are a true encapsulation of everything the project seeks – solidarity, a spirit of sharing and adventure, and a deep respect for the wisdom and insights each of us can offer.
Both artists and partners will be eager to hear your stories, about past sales, how your students connect with the project, and much more. Further, we will have in-depth discussions about improving the project, both for Central Americans and people in the U.S. Photos and videos of sales are always appreciated by all our Central American partners, so make sure you have some on your phone!
During our trip, we will be getting intimate views into the daily lives of Guatemalans, including traditional ceremonies and visits in and around people’s homes. Please be considerate of the people’s lives and communities and ask before taking photos and videos.
This summer, you’ll be jetting off to an entirely different world. Whether you’ve traveled abroad before or even spent time in Guatemala, we promise this trip to be a unique experience. Apart from meeting and getting to know the very people your pulsera sales benefit, you’ll confront new ways of both being and understanding one’s place in the world.
In an effort to maximize what you can gain from the trip, we will have a facebook group with periodic readings and videos to help prepare for the trip, which will also allow us to get to know each other a bit ahead of time as well. These pre-trip readings have been universally appreciated by previous trip participants, and we promise to not give you too much “homework” in the months leading up to the trip.
Finally, on the trip itself we will have time carved out for discussions, both about what we’re seeing and doing, and how we can improve the project. These conversations will not only allow you to gain a deeper understanding of the history and evolution of the project, but also be active participants in shaping the Pulsera Project in the years ahead!
Feedback From Previous Trips
"Traveling with The Pulsera Project allowed me to experience firsthand the partnerships that exist in Central America. Not only did I get to see Pulsera artists and partnerships in action, but I had the opportunity to live side-by-side with them! This experience grew my enthusiasm for the Project and has helped me showcase the importance of creating opportunities through fair trade for my students."
Read a full Guatemala trip recap from 2022's NSE Scholarship Winner Colleen Vallin.
See an interactive retelling of our 2023 teacher trip here, thanks to NSE scholarship winner Cara.