El Salvador & Guatemala: Social Work

A GVSU Faculty-led Program

  • El Salvador & Guatemala: Social Work Photo
  • El Salvador & Guatemala: Social Work Photo
  • El Salvador & Guatemala: Social Work Photo

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Tell me about this program

Open to: BSW and MSW Majors and other students with a genuine interest in Latin America

  *** PLEASE NOTE: The information on this page is for the 2017 program. Updated 2018 program information will be available soon. Program details may be similar, but are subject to change. ***

SAN SALVADOR & SANTA MARTA, EL SALVADOR  & SANTIAGO, GUATEMALA — This program will expose students to the rich cultures of El Salvador and Guatemala, expanding their awareness of issues of social justice, peace and human rights as they relate to social work in Central America.

The first half of the program, students will be based in the capital city of San Salvador. Students will meet with people that have been affected by social issues such as immigration, sex work, gangs, human trafficking and others. Students will also participate in a two-day service placement. There will be a two-day excursion to the rural community of Santa Marta, where students will live with local families and participate in a service learning project. The second half of the course includes travel to Antigua and Santiago on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. There they will meet with indigenous communities surrounding Lake Atitlán and explore indigenous communities’ unique and distinct world views and cultures.

Student Blogs

2014 - Erin Hand

2014 - Chris Borda

2014 - Ken Ford


El Salvador Social Work Flickr

Cultural Information


When can I go?

April 30 - May 15, 2017 (16 days)

Where will I live?

Participants will live in a guest house in San Salvador, with host families in rural Santa Marta and in a quaint Inn on Lake Atitlán in Santiago, Guatemala.

Who is eligible to participate?

Open to BSW and MSW students and students who have an interest in human rights, social justice and indigenous cultures. 2.0 GPA (undergraduate) or 3.0 GPA (graduate) required.

GVSU is happy to extend this opportunity to NonGVSU Students

How do I apply?

To apply for this program, log on to www.gvsu.edu/oasis to begin your online application.

** 2018 Program application will open late summer 2017 **

APPLICATION DEADLINE (2018 Program): February 1, 2018

Non-GVSU Students are welcome to apply. Please view Non-GVSU Student Information 

What credits will I receive?

Undergraduate students will register for a total of 3 credits:
SW 354: International Service (3 credits)

Graduate students will register for a total of 3 credits:
SW 630: Social Work Global Service Learning (3 credits)

How much does the program cost?

Program Fee: $2,400

  • Round-trip airfare from Grand Rapids
  • All ground transportation
  • Accommodation and all meals
  • Course materials
  • Field trips
  • Visa (obtained at airport in San Salvador)
Other Expenses
  • GVSU tuition (3 undergraduate credits = $1,518 OR 3 graduate credits = $1,812)
  • Personal Expenses (Optional) ($400)
  • Recommended Vaccinations (Optional) ($375)
  • Program materials ($150)
  • Additional snacks (Optional) ($150)
  • Passport ($140)
  • ISIC card (Optional) ($28)

Total Projected Cost (Program Fee + Other Expenses) = $5,161-(Undergraduate) OR $5,455-(Graduate)

Financial Aid

To contact the Financial Aid office, email finaid@gvsu.edu with “Study Abroad” in the Subject line. Include your G Number and Total Projected Cost of the program in the e-mail. 

Non-GVSU Students: Non-GVSU students admitted for study abroad are not eligible for Financial Aid from GVSU. Check with your home school’s study abroad and financial aid offices for details on applying for financial aid from your home school toward study abroad program costs. 

Financial Aid FAQs


FACULTY-LED PROGRAM GRANT (up to $1,500) All degree-seeking students who apply to their faculty-led program by the priority deadline are automatically considered for a grant of up to $1,500 from the Padnos International Center. Students must have a current FAFSA on file to be eligible. No application required.

Visit www.gvsu.edu/studyabroad/scholarships for additional information on grants and scholarships.

Who can tell me more?

Faculty Director:

Mirta Paola Leon
Assistant Professor of Social Work

391C DeVos
(616) 331-6561



All program information including courses, duration of program, dates, and other logistics are subject to change. Programs may be cancelled due to extenuating circumstances.