An Innovative Volunteer Off To Guatemala For Two Years To Teach English

Madeleine Andersen, a graduate of Brown University, will be spending two and a half years in Guatemala, involved in an English-language instruction program at a school run by women’s cooperative Unidas Para Vivir Mejor (“United To Live Better”) outside of Guatemala City. She came across the organization during a previous trip to Guatemala and wanted to put what she’d been reading about at university into action.

Unidas Para Vivir Mejor was formed by a group of Guatemala women as a cooperative to make and sell handicrafts abroad, from parts of the town struggling with unemployment and other issues. Many had been widowed or were dealing with alcoholism in the family. Noticing that the students there has less background in English, which of course put them at a disadvantage in schools with students who had already studied English, the idea for an English language program was born.

The current requirements given on the UPAVIM site for volunteering to teaching English include a formal English language teaching training, an intermediate level of Spanish, and the ability to commit for at least one year. The resources they make available are detailed on the website; they also describe some practical issues such as room, board, costs and safety. For more information on working in Guatemala city generally, check out a recent post at ESL Lesson Plan on Guatemala City.