I interned in a small Guatemalan town for five weeks teaching English at a private school. During my internship, I developed my abilities to communicate information and build relationships with others in a different language, actively listen to others, reflect on my perspective and privilege, and adapt to new environments and circumstances.
I also took five weeks of Spanish lessons. Doing so improved my teaching a lot because I needed to teach the students English in their language. Additionally, it improved my ability to connect with others, ask them questions, and comprehend their answers. I highly recommend that interns take several weeks of lessons in-country. Being able to communicate with my host family and students at the school improved my experience exponentially.
Sometimes my days were very long between my internship, Spanish lessons, and prepping for the next day’s classes, but I feel like it was totally worth it. I also highly encourage volunteers to make the most out of their time in-country. Being immersed in a new culture can be disorienting, and it can be easy to fall into negative thinking and staying in your bedroom all day. But, in my experience, you will have an unforgettable experience if you try your hardest to stay positive, flexible, and learn as much as you can.
Additionally, the in-country support team of INLEXCA was very friendly, helpful and caring. I always felt comfortable asking them questions or advice. They really care about their interns!
There are also many tourism opportunities in Guatemala. I recommend visiting the city of Antigua, Lake Atitlan, and the Mayan pyramids of Tikal!
Overall, my trip developed me in countless ways. I now feel more confident, experienced, and have a drive to positively affect the lives of others.