My fondest memory was the surprise party that my students threw on my last day of the programme. My most beautiful memory was when I saw the blood-red full moon rise at the Mirador de San Lucas Milpas Altas.
I was in a programme that involved teaching English and Maths alongside a Guatemalan Teacher. I was based in a small town in the mountains – and lived with a lovely family, who, from day 1, made me feel part of the family.
We got on so well, that we often did outings together at the weekend. Some weekends I would meet up with other volunteers – we went on to visit Antigua, Guatemala City (go with a local!) as well as the towns dotted around Lake Atitlan, which you get to by boat.
INLEXCA coordinated my stay – they did everything from helping me to get organised pre-departure, to finding the school and the host family. On arrival they provided me with a thorough induction – the advantage of going with an organisation is that someone is there to support you and advise you.
Advice for future Guatemala volunteers: Bring with you a decent supply of hand sanitiser, toilet paper, napkins, wetwipes and, if you can, more than one debit/credit card. Where I stayed, running water would be a bit on and off, and although not amazingly glamorous, those wetwipe camping-style showers are a godsend! This depends on the region, obviously.
Finally: Absolutely do go to Guatemala! It’s an amazingly colourful place – not just the clothes and the buildings, but it’s got everything from volcanoes to jungles to Mayan pyramids etc. You’re going to love it.
Everything about the programme lived up to my expectations.