K'iche' Maya

K’ICHE’ at Oxlajuj Iq’: Mayan Language Institute

K’iche’ is a Mayan language spoken by about one million people in the central highlands of Guatemala. The K’iche’ language has played a central role in the Mayan cultural revitalization movement and has a long literary tradition including such works as the Popol Wuuj (Popol Vuh) and Rabinal Achi. The Maya cultural revitalization movement and the subsequent rise in bilingual education in Guatemala have resulted in a number of interesting changes in both language structure and use, and have had important social and political implications for the cultures that speak the K’iche’ language.


The Mayan Language Institute is an intensive six-week language immersion program in K’iche’ Maya and Kaqchikel Maya. Students study with both US faculty and native speakers. In addition to language study, students participate in cultural activities, lectures, discussions, and excursions. Undergraduate students may study one of the languages at the beginner, intermediate, or advanced level. Graduate students must be prepared to study at the intermediate or advanced level.

With more than 1.5 million K’iche’ and Kaqchikel speakers in Guatemala, the goal of the institute is to help students develop and advance proficiency in their chosen language and to gain a better understanding of the cultural and political contexts that have affected the historical development and preservation of the language. Efforts to protect these languages are playing a pivotal role in the Mayan struggle to regain control over their political and cultural destiny.

Students pursuing K’iche’ Maya will spend six weeks in Nahualá. All students are placed with local families for home-stays. Students should be flexible and prepared for living conditions in Guatemala. Classes in Antigua will take place at UT Austin’s Casa Herrera—a great colonial mansion turned beautifully restored academic facility—which is centrally located one block north of Antigua’s Central Park.


Applications can be found on the Mayan Language Institute website hosted by Tulane University.

Application deadline:
March 2018


June–July (final dates TBD)


The University of Chicago Center for Latin American Studies, in partnership with Vanderbilt University’s Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies, University of New Mexico Latin American and Iberian Institute, Tulane University's Stone Center for Latin American Studies,  and the University of Texas at Austin's Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies, offers a summer intensive immersion language program in K’iche’ Maya and Kaqchikel Maya on site in Guatemala.


Students will receive 6 credits from Tulane University for: Beginning, Intermediate, or Advanced K’iche’ Maya language (3 credits) and K’iche’ Maya Culture (3 credits).


The cost of the 2018 six-week program is TBA.
It will include six Tulane credits (transferable to other universities), local family home stays and three meals per day (except Sundays), medical insurance, transportation from the airport upon arrival (GUA), and specialized group activities and excursions. Airfare to/from Antigua (GUA), extra meals, and incidental costs, such as laundry, passport/visa fees, vaccinations, etc. are not included in the program cost.


This program qualifies as a FLAS-approved program with 140 contact hours of language instruction. Please visit UChicagoGRAD for more information on applying for FLAS.


Please contact Tulane University at