Ceiba is a mix of local (Antigua) community service learning with (for high school) an online distance learning component so that students stay current with their home-school curriculum, or (for gap-year) an anthropological and historical investigation into Guatemala and Central America. With the guidance of Ceiba’s Education Mentors, students are encouraged to develop their identities as global citizens as reflective of the combined work they are doing in Guatemala – all of which is shared in each student’s portfolio to be assembled as their time in Antigua progresses. As a former high school exchange student, I believe wholeheartedly in the transformative potential of such a learning opportunity (indeed, it was my application essay about my year in Australia that secured me a spot at my top-choice university).
Ceiba is a program very much at the innovative front of two essential components of 21st-century education – all agree that it is our responsibility as educators to facilitate the global appreciation and online competencies that will help our students stand out among their university and professional peers. Our website is www.ceibaexplore.org and there you will find many more details about who we are, what we’re doing, and the logistical pieces of the experience, including safety, transportation, housing, and our amazing project partners (which run from animal welfare and veterinary medicine through citizen journalism and community education, nutrition, and agriculture initiatives). Our Student Application is also available online for any interested students. We are very proud of Ceiba and are very excited for the fantastic and deeply reflective opportunities it promises for students, families, and schools!