Simon Brackner

Teach Enrich Empower

Guatemalan Getaway!

For the past 9 months I have been teaching English in Guatemala. An experience that without question, I will never forget. Whilst there have been a few lows, there have been more than enough highs to compensate, and I can say with confidence that I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here.

Prior to my TEFL course back in the UK, I had finished studying Economics and Politics at Sheffield. And worked for a year in London, in a regular office job. Whilst I don’t regret taking this year, it gave me a glimpse into the future and made me realise I wanted to do something which helped other people, and not just sit at a desk.

One thing I had always wanted to do was live abroad and learn a new language. Thus, my interest in teaching English began, as I knew this would be a great way to broaden my skills and help me to discover what really interested me. As a result, I took my Level 5 TEFL course (168 hours) in Sheffield and it was undoubtedly very useful in helping me prepare for my teaching experience here. I particularly enjoyed the classroom component, which provided very useful feedback and helped me realise in which aspects I could improve.

“To this day I still recall some of the feedback I was given by the instructor and incorporate it into the classroom to the benefit of my students.”

Not only did this course undoubtedly improve my teaching methods, but also enabled me to find a job here in Guatemala City (which I simply found through emailing different institutions with my qualifications!)Whilst this city may not have the best reputation, I have found it to be accommodating, full of kind and welcoming people. The area in which I live (Zone 10) has more than enough things to do, including nightlife and many very good restaurants! Moreover, the touristic and beautiful city of Antigua is only a short drive away, so most weekends, me and my friends go there to enjoy ourselves. Whilst Antigua is certainly a highlight of this beautiful country, I have also had opportunities to travel to Mexico and all over Guatemaladuring my holidays. I would strongly recommend Rio Dulce for kayaking, Semuc Champey for relaxing in beautiful pools, and Flores to see the amazing Mayan ruins of Tikal. And don’t forget, Guatemala has more than 30 volcanoes to hike! Not only have I had the opportunity to travel during my time here in Guatemala, but I have also learned a lifetime skill in now being able to speak Spanish (relatively competently) and made friendships for life in my colleagues and in my Guatemalan friends.

For anyone considering doing a TEFL and living abroad, I would strongly recommend doing it! It will undoubtedly change your life and your perceptions of it. As far as what the future holds, it is difficult to say, but I know that soon I’ll be travelling in Central and South America between teaching jobs, and I can’t wait to start the next step of the adventure.

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