Guatemala - Nebaj, Xela

Population facets: 

Partner Organization:  Social Entrepreneur Corps

Location: This program is hybrid. The in person portion of the program will take place in Guatemala - Nebaj

Number of Students: Up to 6

This is a hybrid program.

Dates: May 23-June 30, 2022 distributed as: virtual pre-travel (May 23-June 3), days in country (June 6-23), and virtual post-travel (June 27-30)

Additional Information:

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, if we are unable to deploy students in person, students will not be obligated to complete the ISSLP and may withdraw without penalty. For students wishing to continue with the ISSLP in virtual mode, ISSLP staff will work with them to be placed with a virtual international service option.

Participation Requirements:

  • Language & Proficiency Requirement:  Basic knowledge of Spanish is preferred. Spanish language classes are a part of the virtual portion of the program.
  • Gender Requirement:  None
  • Required Experience:  None other than a positive outlook on the prospects for assisting local people to solve local problems; be hard-working, open-minded, collaborative; take initiative and demonstrate resourcefulness
  • Major Requirement:  None
  • Student Minimum Age:  None
  • Special Requirements:  None  
  • Other: None

Special Training Required Prior to Summer Deployment: 

(The following sessions and workshops will be organized and provided by the ISSLP during the Spring semester. Additional training sessions may be added as needed.)

  • Self-Defense Session

Site Description:  

Social Entrepreneur Corps (SEC) leads dynamic impact and immersion programs in Latin America. The mission of Social Entrepreneur Corps is to provide students with the knowledge, skills and support necessary to empower marginalized individuals, families and communities. Students will gain leadership and professional development experience through foundational training on social entrepreneurship and community consulting, working on high impact social innovation projects and experiencing deep cultural immersion in local communities

Scope of Work & Responsibilities:

This site will be hybrid for summer 2022.

This section reflects the most recent scope of work for students who deployed in the last few years to Nebaj, Guatemala. This scope of work may change based on the needs of the organization at the time of student arrival and/or due to COVID-19 restrictions.

During summer 2022, students will work as consultants for social enterprises, education organizations, artisan associations, and community tourism organizations in Guatemala and Ecuador. The program includes training in culture, language, and on the foundational components of practical social entrepreneurship. The program will be hybrid, combining pre-departure virtual training (from May 23-June),  in country work (June 6-23), and virtual post-travel work (June 27-30). 

During the summers of 2020 and 2021, students had the opportunity to consult remotely with grassroots organizations in Guatemala. These are some of the reflections of the students from the ISSLP 2020 who participated in the Virtual Social Entrepreneurship Corps during the summer 2020:

Major: Political Science
Minors: Glynn Family Honors Program, Philosophy Politics and Economics, Hesburgh Program
“My experience with the Virtual SEC program profoundly impacted the way in which I conceive of the purpose of social entrepreneurship, and how it relates to solidarity. To me, the principle of solidarity involves walking with and forming relationships with others, rather than seeing them as people to be served. Through the VSEC experience, I have seen how much even the most rigorous frameworks for social consulting require a deep understanding of the client organization's purpose, values, and motivations, which can't be discovered by merely administering a survey or a couple of quick interviews; this aligns with the understanding of solidarity as primarily about building a relationship with the person, rather than focusing exclusively on the service to be performed. Moreover, while meeting with our group and conducting interviews virtually didn't give us the same immersion experience as being in the country would, it provided an opportunity to be conscientious about how we used the time we spent with community members, and to think critically about the knowledge and familiarity we would need to stand with the people with whom we were working, as opposed to counting on time spent in the country to furnish such an understanding unconsciously.” 
Patrick was originally selected to do his ISSLP in Guatemala Nebaj & Xela in the summer 2020 but did not deploy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 Alex Lewis '22
Major: Neuroscience and Behavior, Spanish
“Before beginning my internship with the virtual Social Entrepreneurship Corps, I had no idea the potential that consulting has for teaching about solidarity and genuine service to the common good. Through working on my project for the Centro Explorativo with my teammates, I have gotten a chance to build empathy through interviewing and building relationships with Guatemalan leaders, teachers, and community members. Meanwhile, the core instruction during the class has opened me up to new forms of empowerment through entrepreneurship that I had never considered. 
These same themes are reflected in the wonderful guests in the conversation series, a group of role model change makers that supply a great deal of inspiration. During the ISSLP preparation course, I remember the warnings of toxic charity that we learned from Poverty Inc. My work with the virtual Social Entrepreneurship Corps has taught me how to challenge these existing problems so that I might act in the best interests of the communities I have been able to connect with through programs like the ISSLP."
Alex was originally selected to do his ISSLP in Honduras in the summer 2020, but did not deploy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Major: Neuroscience and Behavior
Minor: Philosophy, Science, and Mathematics
“When I initially signed up for the VSEC summer program, I was apprehensive. I had never spoken a word of Spanish, nor have I ever taken a course in anything relating to business or consulting. However, I had impulsively committed to a program involving both Spanish lessons and consulting work. I was gratified to find that experience was completely unnecessary for the program; all that was required was an openness to learn and a desire to effect social change.
I was placed on a small team working with a nonprofit in Cuenca, Ecuador called Hearts of Gold. Our team had the opportunity to speak with the director and several members of the core team, and we were consistently inspired by their dedication and genuine desire to help others. The organization lives out the concept of solidarity by standing with and for leaders of other local nonprofits and exemplifies the principle of the common good by working to uplift those who assist the most vulnerable populations.
The leadership of the VSEC program encouraged our team to build empathy through interviews and discussions with locals and to serve through empowerment rather than imposition. I had the opportunity to explore the field of Social Entrepreneurship and to foray into consulting. I gained basic Spanish conversational skills and interacted with amazing people from all over the world.  The VSEC program is an incredible opportunity to gain a better perspective on the nature of social change and how entrepreneurship can be applied to improve the lives of others and promote the common good.” 
Laura was originally selected to do her ISSLP in India-Chennai in the summer 2020 but did not deploy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Major: Finance, ACMS
“While I wasn’t able to serve in Ecuador this summer as I had originally planned, the Social Entrepreneur Corps enabled me to connect with the country’s culture through a virtual service format. Although I had initial doubts regarding the authenticity of this interaction, I surprised myself with how much I could learn about another culture from the comfort of my bedroom. From Zoom conversations with locals to a virtual Salsa class, I learned to take appreciation in the subtle communication cues of these video calls: the background decor, the added noise, the clothing, and even the spontaneous interruptions. These observations allowed me to see more than a person behind a screen, bringing me into solidarity with not just Ecuadorian culture but also the life of each person I interacted with. I’d like to believe that I also contributed a lens into who I am as well, and it was empowering to see how much we both could offer each other.”
Sean was originally selected to do his ISSLP in Ecuador - Quito in the summer 2020 but did not deploy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Major: Psychology
Minor: Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Accountancy
“My experience with the Virtual Social Entrepreneurship Corps Consulting program is one that inspired a perspective shift.  Each and every discussion we had as a group allowed me to think deeply about my definition of words such as empathy, solidarity and the common good.  Throughout my experience I was challenged to redefine my perspective of these words and principles and how they apply in the real world. By the end of my experience I realized that solidarity is not just about working for someone’s good and building connections along the way. 
It is also about breaking barriers such as language barriers between people of different backgrounds  in order to work together not “work for'' so as to empower one another and build understanding and appreciation of what life is like for others without rushing to provide solutions. In addition, being able to complete this program regardless of social distancing and not being able to participate in this program in-country, I realized that solidarity and the common good transcend our physical spaces. Even though it is difficult given the absence of physical human  connections, there will always be an opportunity for me to actively pursue endeavors that promote the common good and force me  out of my comfort zone to stand with others as we work towards a common goal. Finally, my interest in entrepreneurship and innovation was stimulated by working with other students, learning from others and listening to them. This was also a re-defining moment for me because I learned that solidarity comes with listening and understanding. The best way to innovate, empower others and for you to be empowered is if you listen so that my intended acts towards the common good are equally fulfilling to me as they are to the whole. Innovation is not necessarily about new things, it is about listening and paying close enough attention for you to realize that the change required already exists, all we need is to stand together in shaping our perspective to what already exists.”
Xolisa was originally selected to do her ISSLP in South Africa (Emzingo) in the summer 2020 but did not deploy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For More Information:

Virtual Social EntrepeneurU: Please disregard the application deadlines published on the virtual social entrepeneurU. Those are for external applicants and do not apply to ISSLP students.

Former ISSLP Participants:


Notice: Certain sites may be canceled and other sites added at any point during the selection and orientation process.


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Upcoming Events

October 2021

Application Close | ISSLP 2022
Monday, October 25, 2021 - 12:00am to 11:45pm
Information Session | SSLP 2022
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 7:00pm
Postgraduate Service Lunch | Alliance for Catholic Education
Friday, October 29, 2021 - 11:30am to 1:30pm

November 2021

Information Session | SSLP 2022
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 7:00pm
Getting Something to Eat in Jackson
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 7:00pm
Mini Postgraduate Service Fair
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Labor Café First Friday
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Taste of PATH
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - 7:30pm
Information Session | Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor (PSIM)
Thursday, November 11, 2021 - 8:00pm to 8:30pm
Dignity and Justice Workshop
Friday, November 12, 2021 - 10:00am to 1:00pm
Catholic Social Tradition (CST) Minor Brunch
Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 11:30am
Higgins Film CLASSics | Blue Collar (1978)
Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 3:00pm
Virtues & Vocations Presents Howard Gardner: What is Good Work?
Monday, November 29, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

December 2021

Signs of the Times Brown Bag Lunch Series | Housing
Friday, December 3, 2021 - 12:00pm
Labor Café First Friday
Friday, December 3, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm