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Teaching English in Guatemala
Finding work in Guatemala City will require a lot of careful planning.The standard of living is low. On a more positive note, cost of living is low. Work visas are hard to get so most foreigners work on a tourist visa. With a high standard of formal training, a teaching position can be found in better paying schools if there is persistence on the part of the job seeker. The English teacher must be flexible in what he or she aspires to.The educational center of Guatemala is in Quetzaltenango or, as it is more commonly known as, Xela. It is a dramatic city geographically as it is surrounded by 10 volcanoes; however, it is growing in population quite rapidly and is recognized as a good place to search for work as an EFL teacher.
There are five universities in Xela and numerous language schools. The need for English teachers is great in Guatemala some students right out of secondary schooling need to show proficiency in order to enter a university and others need to improve their career opportunities. Some Guatemalan people are simply interested in learning English because they like American culture. There is a preference for all English schools for obvious reasons. There are four schools among others that accept native speakers: Best English School, Instituto Central America, Instituto Guatemalteco Americano and Inter-AmericaSchool.
Each school offers benefits, for example, some may offer free Spanish lessons. Hiring usually occurs during the spring months for the fall terms. Hours of work vary from school to school and benefits depend upon qualifications. The salary for the English teacher is estimated as between $2.00 US to $5.00 US per hour in language schools; $5.00 US to $8.00 US per hour for private lessons. Furnished one bedroom apartments can range between $250 US to $360 US per month. Shared accommodations can run at slightly cheaper rates.
Traveling to Guatemala
Guatemala is one of the most native Indian of all of the Central American countries. Almost 50% are from Mayan origin. It is the most heavily populated of all Central America with just over an estimated 14 million people. A large amount of the population left during years of civil war; however, in the 1990s some returned.
The 36 years of civil war only officially ended in 1996; therefore, there remain residual social injustice and habitation problems. The have-not population greatly out number the haves. Guatemala is on the mend but the healing process needs some time to work itself out. Violence still abounds within the disenfranchised groups of its citizens.
The working foreigner is cautioned to keep her or himself aware at all times and to use common sense when navigating city streets. There exist some difficulties for the foreigner and the individual must be aware of this reality. Good advisement would be to fit in with the surrounding culture rather than stand out.
Guatemala is fascinating in aspects of color and character. Many Mayan brightly colored handicrafts line the streets and the architecture has a distinctive; cheerful rustic quality. An area of interest in Guatemala includes, Antigua a city located just west of Guatemala City. It is a less Americanized touristy view of the country inhabited by a mix of Mayan and upper class Latinos.
The city is known for its laid-back, interesting, extremely friendly and comfortable atmosphere. Lake Atitlan located just north west of Guatemala City attracts many visitors for its unparalleled views and its pristine shores. The currency is quetzals trading at approximately 7.5 to the US dollar. The weather varies according to altitudes; the average temperature is 68 F and can rise to 99 F. Rainy season at higher altitudes is from May to September, although, generally the nights are clear and during this time the temperature falls sharply at night.