Over the last couple of months we have been delighted to welcome overseas volunteers back to school. Our Development Coordinator in Guatemala, Sinead Hickey caught up with Ben from the USA, Diana from Spain and Johannes from Germany who had just finished their placements to find out about their experiences. Remember if you have family, friends or you’re looking for an inspirational place to volunteer on a gap year or whilst travelling then why not consider Guatemala? For the full lowdown of what to expect check out our volunteer information, email us email@example.com or message on social @eftcfoundation.
Sinead: We’re delighted that you chose to volunteer at The School of Hope. I’m excited to hear about your experiences being part of the School of Hope family. So, firstly why did you decide to volunteer here? :
Ben: I was really intrigued to see what life was like in Guatemala and I was excited to learn more about schooling here. Some friends who knew about all the amazing tourist attractions in Guatemala such as stunning Lake Atitlan and the Mayan ruins at Tikal said to me: ‘Why are you going to a school?’ But as soon as I got here on the very first day I knew I’d made the right choice.
Diana: I wanted to get to know Guatemalan culture and see how families live day to day.
Johannes: Yes for me too, it was about the culture and also to learn more about the Guatemalan educational system
So what did you enjoy about your experience?:
Ben: The four or five hours I spent here each day were the best hours of my day. The first thing that struck me was the parallels across continents and cultures. Kids have tons of similarities whether they’re in Jocotenango or Boston. It was pretty similar to when I was teaching campers back home - but this time speaking Spanish ! One thing I did notice was the effect of the pandemic and the disparities between kids in the same class on things like Math and English. Some kids were able to focus and complete a task very easily and some needed a huge amount of help - that’s similar to at home I guess, but the contrasts were starker.
Diana: It was my first time volunteering. I was surprised and delighted about how fast I got attached to the kids and to the school. The project is inspirational and I'll have so many amazing memories from my time here.
Johnannes: I was surprised and impressed about how well organized and structured the school is. I really enjoyed the diversity of the activities I got involved with. I enjoyed helping in the classroom with different classes, doing activities 121, and I especially enjoyed doing sports activities with the students outside on the sports pitch.
Sinead: Thank you so much to all of you for sharing your experiences. Safe-travels back home and we’d love to welcome you back again in the future.