Forever Changed International - Missions Handbook

General Travel Tips

Code of Conduct

  • No drug use
  • No alcohol abuse
  • No swearing
  • No illegal activity
  • Show respect to everyone; treat others as you would want to be treated
  • Use good manners; be polite and culturally sensitive
  • Share all resources with others
  • Look out for each other
  • Respect everyone’s space
  • Treat everyone as adult
  • Be on time
  • Don’t form exclusive groups
  • Be open to differences, including beliefs and ways of life
  • Stay positive
  • Always communicate feelings out loud so no one is confused
  • Listen to everyone’s opinions and ideas

Forever Changed will ask a participant to leave if he/she is found to be using drugs or abusing alcohol.


Take the opportunity to learn as much about Guatemala as you can. You are ambassadors for the United States, for our ministry, and for those who will come after you. Leave people you meet with a favorable impression of Americans. Some behaviors considered normal in America are rude in Guatemala, be gracious, don’t place demands on others, and keep your voice low to not attract attention and make yourself a target.

Please Do:

  • Learn about Guatemala before you travel.
  • Remember that you are a visitor and guest in their country, so behave accordingly. Show respect for the people of Guatemala and their culture.
  • Listen to the advice and direction of your mission coordinator and our Guatemalan staff at all times.
  • Show an interest in Guatemala’s customs and culture – and try to adapt to them.
  • Graciously accept food, drink, and gifts when they’re offered. Doing otherwise is culturally offensive.
  • Learn some Spanish before you travel, and use it. Your efforts will be appreciated.
  • Bring a phrase book and dictionary with you and try to learn more of the language while you are there.
  • Be patient and flexible: Keep in mind that Latin Americans tend to be more relaxed about time than we are in the States, so “7 p.m.” might mean “8 p.m.”

Please Don’t:

  • Be impatient, inconsiderate, loud, noisy, belligerent, demanding, or argumentative.
  • Form a clique with other North Americans and shut out others.
  • Be afraid to socialize with all of the adults and children you will come in contact with.
  • Make demands or expect others to cater to you.
  • Complain about or criticize different customs, attitudes, political events, or social conditions.

Simple Phrases

Below are just a few simple phrases that will be useful to know during your stay in Guatemala

For more Spanish phrases, please visit:



English Spanish
Hello Hola
Good-bye Adios
Please Por favor
Yes Si
No No
My name is  Mi nombre es
How much is  Cuento cuesta
Where is  Donde esta
Do you speak English?  Usted habla inglés?
I don’t understand  No entiendo 
I need a doctor Necesito a un doctor
Bathroom Baño
Are you hungry? Tienes hambre?
How are you? Cómo estas?
Do you want to play? Quieres jugar?
Give me a hug Dame un abrazo
Do you like it? Te gusta?
Come on Vamos
I love you Te quiero 
This is for you Para ti
Can I help you? Puedo ayudarte?
Food Comida
Water Agua
Game is over Se terminó el juego
Time to sleep Hora de dormir
Clothes Ropa
Shoes Zapatos
Toothbrush Cepillo de dientes
Bed Cama 

Other Tools

Children at Dorie’s Promise Group Photo Girls at Dorie’s Promise Kids at Dorie’s in Guatemala


Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home. You are going to be with our coordinator at all times. Please do not separate from our group. If you do get separated, please use the information card (which includes the appropriate Guatemalan contact information) given to you upon your arrival to call for help.

  • Keep a low profile and avoid loud conversations or arguments in public places.
  • Do not discuss travel plans or other personal matters with strangers.
  • Avoid scam artists by being wary of strangers who approach you and offer to be your guide or who sell you something at bargain prices.
  • Beware of pick-pockets. They often have an accomplice who will: jostle you, ask you for directions or the time, point to something spilled on your clothing, or distract you by creating a disturbance.
  • Beware of groups of vagrant children who could create a distraction to pick your pocket.
  • Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid drive-by purse-snatchers.
  • Try to seem purposeful when you move about. Even if you are lost, act as if you know where you are going. Try to ask for directions only from individuals in authority.
  • Learn a few phrases in Spanish or have them handy in written form so that you can signal your need for police or medical help.
  • If you are confronted, don’t fight back – give up your valuables.
  • Keep your valuables hidden and wait for your coordinator to tell you when it is safe to remove (take pictures, purchase items, est.). 
  • While driving around the city keep all windows closed to avoid any theft. 


Source: U.S. State Department