You’re in! This is your game plan for the rest of the semester.

Check this page regularly. It contains action items with specific deadlines and it will be updated with new information throughout the semester.

First Things First  (Admission to Nov 16)

  • Log in to your online application and confirm your participation in the program. Then complete the checklist of items on the “Pre-Departure Documents” tab.
  • Once you complete the pre-departure process, you'll be registered for this program as a placeholder block of credits.

Please take the time now to review our website for details about the cost of your program. You may find our budgeting worksheet to be an important planning tool. We also encourage you to consider applying for study abroad scholarships as early as possible.

The staff members below will be in touch with you, primarily by email, throughout your pre-departure planning. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact your Program Manager (details below).

Boston-based Staff

  • Heather York
    Heather will be your primary contact during the pre-departure process. All questions and concerns you may have should be directed to her.
  • Sheerley Zinori, Enrollment Services Manager
    Sheerley may be in touch with you by email for matters concerning financial aid, and participation confirmation. You may be asked to provide additional log-in information.
  • Caitlin Bueno, Enrollment Services Specialist
    Caitlin may be in touch with you via regarding billing, domestic health insurance and transcripts.

Program Staff

  • Professor William Saturno, Director, Guatemala Archaeology Program; Professor of Archaeology at Boston University
    Professor Saturno will assist you with the pre-departure process and will be on-site with you throughout the program.
  • Mary Clarke and Paulo Medina, Teaching Fellows
    Mary and Paulo are Archaeology Graduate Students who will also you preparations for the program and will be on-site with you for the duration of the program.

All students most provide:

  • A scanned copy of your passport including every single page of your passport. This means front cover to back cover, including your identification and signature pages, as well as all stamped pages and blank pages in between. EVERY SINGLE PAGE!
  • Four passport photos with your name, BU ID, program, and semester written on the back of each one.
  • An official copy of your transcript. This is in addition to any transcripts you may have already provided as part of your application.

Return The Above To:

Heather York
Boston University Study Abroad
888 Commonwealth Avenue, Second Floor
Boston, MA 02215


Housing on the Guatemala Archaeology Program is divided into two parts:

  • In Antigua. Students live with local families in order to immerse themselves in Spanish Language and Guatemalan culture before heading into the field at San Bartolo.
  • In the field. During your field experience, you will live in tents under the forest canopy and will eat your meals and attend your classes under thatch huts. Tents are double-occupancy.

All students must complete a Housing Questionnaire by November 1 to assist us with your housing assignments. Please note: You will be living closely with your fellow students and will need to respect the needs of others for sleep and quiet study time. You will share tight quarters, keeping them clean and tidy is your responsibility.


  • In Antigua. While in Antigua, meals are provided six days a week with the host family. Sunday dinner is taken independently.
  • In the field. At San Bartolo, meals are provided three times a day, seven days a week for the duration of the program. Participants buy their own sodas, as well as meals taken out of camp (except on scheduled field trips); drinking water is supplied at camp.

If you are a U.S. citizen, you will not need a visa for this program, however you must possess a US passport that is valid for the duration of the program. If your passport will expire within six months of the conclusion of the program, we strongly recommend renewing it prior to departure.

If you are not a citizen of the United States, you must check with the Embassy of Guatemala in Washington, DC. You are responsible for determining what is required for your entry into Guatemala, and your reentry into the United States. BU Study Abroad can assist you in providing proof of acceptance to study in Guatemala, if required. International students should also consult with their International Student Advisor at the ISSO (or their home school’s international office) prior to departure.

Core Planning  (Nov 16 to Dec 20)

Each semester, we work with Advantage Travel to offer an optional group flight, round-trip from to Guatemala City, the cost of which is included in the program fee. The recommended group flight itinerary will be provided to accepted students via email.

Why should I book a spot on the group flight?
Once you confirm a reservation on the group flight, Boston University will be billed directly by the travel agency, since the cost of the flight is included in the program fee. Also, all travel booked through Advantage Travel will be monitored by the travel agency on the day of departure, and they will be able to assist with any schedule changes, delays, or missed connections. The flight also allows you to travel with other students from the program.

How do I reserve a seat on the group flight?
Specific booking instructions and detailed group flight itineraries will be emailed directly to students.

What if I need to book a connecting flight to the departure city?
If you will be traveling from elsewhere prior to the group flight, Advantage Travel can also assist you with reserving a flight to the departure city.

What if I want to arrange my own travel?
If you prefer to travel independently from the group, you are welcome to do so. Advantage Travel can assist you with reservations from a different airport or on different dates, or you can make a reservation completely on your own.

You must arrive by Sunday, January 17 and depart on Wednesday, April 27Housing will not be provided before or after these dates, and late arrivals/early departures are not permitted. Once you have confirmed your independent travel, please e-mail Heather York a copy of your flight itinerary.

There will be a mandatory, program-specific pre-departure meeting for all Boston University students enrolled in the Guatemala Archeology Program on Wednesday, December 2nd at 5:00pm at the BU Study Abroad office, located at 888 Commonwealth Ave.

Please also note that this meeting is intended for participants of the program only. Due to FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), parents/guardians are not permitted to attend this session.

To see the presentation from this meeting, please click here.

Although you already submitted an Advisor Support of Participation form as part of your application, you may adjust your course enrollment plans as you learn more about your program. Be sure to do so in consultation with your academic advisor (or your home institution’s study abroad office, if you are a visiting student), especially if your courses were pre-approved. You should determine, preferably prior to the start of the program, the precise degree requirements these courses will fulfill. It is your responsibility to research how the courses taken abroad apply towards your overall academic requirements and progress toward your degree. Non-BU students should be certain you understand how courses you take with BU Study Abroad will transfer to your home institution.

All students enroll in the following four courses:

  • CAS SP 400 Intensive Spanish Language and Culture (2 credits)
  • CAS AR 503 Archaeological Field Methods: Survey and Excavation (4)
    An interdisciplinary course dealing with field and laboratory techniques, research methods, concepts and problems in archaeological theory, and formulation of research designs.
  • CAS AR 551 Studies in Mesoamerican Archaeology (4)
    Analysis of major events and processes of the Mesoamerican area. Topics include rise of towns, temples, and urbanism; the origin of state; and the development of empires.
  • CAS AR 556 Archaeological Field Research (8)
    Supervised original research in excavation, survey, or field laboratory situation, as part of field study program.

Please note: Your courses will not appear on your BU transcript until after the program has ended and grades are reported.

BU Students: 

The Spring 2017 payment deadline is December 16, 2016. You will use the StudentLink “Money Matters” tab to view and pay your bill, as usual.  Any questions regarding your bill or making payments should be directed to BU Student Accounting Services at

Non-BU Students:

The Spring 2017 payment deadline is February 1, 2017. Please contact your home institution to discuss your specific billing arrangement with Boston University.  Any additional questions regarding your bill or making payments should be directed to  Additional information can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Preparing to Study in Latin America

Prior to departure, students are strongly encouraged to meet with their family physician or a doctor at a travel clinic to discuss their personal health history and prepare for spending a semester abroad in Guatemala.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may also be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC website.

International Health Insurance and Evacuation Coverage:

All students participating in our programs will be automatically enrolled in a plan which includes comprehensive health and evacuation insurance. This coverage is provided by HTH Worldwide, and policy information will be sent to you via email. In the meantime we encourage you to look at the insurance information we provide on our website.

Personal Health and Safety Preparations:

Study abroad can be both mentally and physically challenging, so it is important for you to prepare as much as possible now for your health and safety during your time abroad. You should consider the following:

  • Take the time now to read the BU Study Abroad Health and Safety webpage.
  • If you have not been feeling well, make an appointment with your doctor for a checkup.
  • If you anticipate needing any dental, optical, or other procedures, plan to have them completed before departure.
  • If you are experiencing any emotional, eating, or substance abuse issues, seek professional counsel and consider deferring your participation in an overseas program, if necessary.
  • If you have had difficulties coping with change, stress or anxiety in the past (whether or not it was professionally diagnosed), or are hoping that time spent overseas will help you solve a problem facing you at home, or on campus, you should talk to a medical professional before studying abroad.

If you have a mental health, emotional, learning, or physical disability that would require reasonable accommodations in order to complete the requirements of the program, you must obtain approval from BU’s Office of Disability Services. To initiate the approval request process, complete this Request for Accomodations Form (RAF) and submit it to or 19 Deerfield St. second floor, Boston, MA  02215. Please note that certain accommodations that you receive on your home campus may not be available at your program site, so the earlier that you are in contact with their office for advising, the better. The process for arranging accommodations may take several weeks.

If you are currently consulting with a mental health professional, you must seek their counsel about the advisability of your participation in a study abroad program, especially as related to your adjustment to new cultural, academic, and housing environments and the availability of therapeutic or medical support while you are away from your home campus. If you have questions about the support available at your program destination, please contact

Getting Ready To Go  (Dec 21 to Departure)

The Guatemalan currency is the quetzal, 100 centavos = 1 quetzal. For the most recent exchange rate visit:

As during a regular college semester, you will need to cover any extraneous expenses such as laundry, soft drinks, bus fares, and meals on non-program weekend trips. You will not be able to set up a bank account, so your cash, debit and credit cards will be your main sources of funds for the semester. ATMs are available in Antigua prior to departing for San Bartolo.

It’s essential that you call your bank and credit card companies to let them know you’ll be studying abroad. You’ll need to tell them what country (or countries) you’ll be visiting, and the dates you’ll be away. If you don’t let them know, they may freeze your accounts, assuming your card has been used fraudulently. When you call your bank, you should ask them about the fees you may incur when using your debit/credit cards internationally.

Students on the group flight will be met by on-site staff upon arrival and transportation will be provided to the hotel in Antigua where you will reside the night before moving into your host families. If you make travel arrangements independent of the group, you should try to arrive at the same time as the group flight (or prior to it), so that you can meet the group at the airport and take the group transportation.

If you will be traveling independently and will be arriving after the group flight, you will be responsible for securing your own transportation to the hotel. Instructions for commuting will be sent to you when you provide your independent flight info.

On-site orientation begins immediately after Arrival Day. During this time you will participate in orientation activities designed to introduce you to your new surroundings and to the academic expectations of the program. You will have a chance to meet the program staff, become acquainted with program facilities and resources, and learn more about daily life in your new environment.

Have You Changed Your Mind?

If you are considering withdrawing from your Study Abroad program, please thoroughly review the Boston University Study Abroad Policy on Refunds.  It is important to note that the program starts on January 17 and is 14 weeks long.  The last day to notify our office in writing of your withdrawal prior to the start of the refund policy is January 9, 2015.  Please keep in mind that at any time after your admission to the program there may be non-recoverable costs associated with withdrawing from the program.  Examples of non-recoverable costs may include, but are not limited to, housing costs, airfare, excursions or academic costs.

Know Before You Go  

Program Dates

The Spring 2016 Guatemala Archaeology Program runs from January 17 to April 27, 2016.

Program Structure

The First Four Weeks
During the first four weeks of the program, students will study intensive Spanish in Antigua, Guatemala’s colonial capital. During this time students will live in local households. Each day students attend language classes in the mornings and classes in archaeological lab techniques in the afternoons.Excursions from Antigua include visits to highland villages and archaeological sites.

The Final 12 Weeks
For the remaining 12 weeks of the semester, students will live, study, and work at the San Bartolo field camp and participate alongside the world’s foremost authorities in the ongoing investigation of this stunning Preclassic discovery.

A typical weekday at San Bartolo looks like this:

5:30 a.m. Wake
6:00 a.m. Breakfast
6:45 a.m. Depart for site or laboratory
9:00 a.m. Break
12:00 p.m. Lunch
4:00 p.m. Prepare to leave site; close
down lab work
6:00 p.m. Dinner
7:30-9:30 p.m. Lectures, labs, films, etc.

Informal discussion sessions and recreational activities (such as soccer) will take place some evenings, and some weekends will include scheduled field trips.

Tentative Academic Calendar (subject to change)

January 17, 2016 — Arrive in Guatemala City, travel to Antigua, spend first night in hotel
January 18, 2016 — Classes begin at language school, move in with host families
January 29 – January 31, 2016 — Lake Atitlan (Guatemala Highlands)
February 5 – February 7, 2016 — Monterico (Pacific Coast)
February 25, 2016 — Leave for San Bartolo via Copan, Honduras
March 1, 2016 — Work begins at San Bartolo and Xultun
April 20, 2016 — Return to Antigua
April 22 – April 24, 2016 — Free weekend in/around Antigua
April 26, 2016 — Final Exams
April 27, 2016 — Depart from Guatemala City

Neither late arrivals nor early departures are permitted. We urge students to not make any weekend or mid-semester break travel plans until they arrive on site and receive the finalized course and program schedule.

During the semester, students must fulfill strict attendance requirements and will be very busy with classes, program activities, and assignments. If family and friends plan to visit, please schedule trips to take place before the start of on-site orientation, during a scheduled program break, or after the semester ends. The first and last weeks of the program are critical to students’ success and require your full attention. By timing visits to coincide with scheduled program breaks, you can meet attendance requirements and take full advantage of your study abroad experience.

    Students should set expectations with their families back home that their access to communications technologies will be different while abroad, and limited in the field. Most past particpants communicated with home primarily via email and online services such as Skype. It is strongly recommended that students bring their own computer.

    In Antigua

    It is possible to call home from the project lab in Antigua either using your US calling card or by dialing collect. You can also call home collect with ease, and use AT&T, Sprint, and MCI cards. Many students choose to buy a cheap mobile phone in Antigua, which typically costs less than using calling cards. Students will also be able to utilize online services, such as Skype while abroad.

    In San Bartolo

    Electricity and satellite internet are available for computer use, however please note that internet connectivity is limited.

    Academic, Disciplinary and Financial Standing

    Boston University Study Abroad reserves the right to rescind admission to or continuation in any program if an applicant’s academic or disciplinary record is not satisfactory. Boston University students placed on expulsion, academic suspension, or residence separation are not eligible to participate for the duration of the sanction. Deferred separation status will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Non-Boston University students are expected to verify their eligibility to study abroad with their home institution.

    In addition, your Boston University student account must be in good standing. University policy requires the withholding of educational services, including participation in a BU Study Abroad program from any student whose financial obligations to the university are due and/or unpaid.

    Students’ Responsibilities While Abroad

    In completing your online pre-departure forms, there are a number of terms and conditions that you have agreed to by your electronic signature. We suggest that you review the following with your family, parent/guardian or other interested party:

    • Student Declaration (includes a link to the Boston University Policy on Refunds—also below)
    • Participation Confirmation
    • Housing Agreement
    • Assumption of Risk, Waiver of Claims and Release of Liability Form

    Policy on Refunds

    All students should thoroughly review the Boston University Study Abroad Policy on Refunds.  This policy applies to all students and should be thoughtfully read when considering a withdrawal from a program. If you have questions, please contact our office.

    We understand that preparing for your time away can seem overwhelming because of the abundance of information being shared with you. We have designed this online presentation to communicate general pre-departure information that applies to all programs. For your convenience, we have also created a checklist and worksheet. We recommend that you print this document to review as you watch.