As the largest and most populous country in Central America, Guatemala has for long been an influential force within the subcontinent. A fascinating history, vibrant culture, and impressive amount of biodiversity all make this Latin American country a fun and enriching place where to teach English abroad. Enrolling in a TEFL course in Guatemala is the opportunity to make an impact at a local level, develop your own language skills, and have the adventure of a lifetime learning all about this diverse and dynamic region!
Sitting just below Mexico at the northern tip of Central America, Guatemala is a nation of roughly 16 million citizens, making it the largest in the Central American and Caribbean region. The country is still developing and has had a tumultuous recent history of political regime change, though today it enjoys a steady degree of economic growth and open democracy, bringing hope for a very bright future ahead.
One of the most popular destinations where to enroll in a TEFL course in Guatemala is Antigua, a city in the mountainous regions which is renowned for its charming colonial architecture. Though a small urban settlement of just under 40,000 citizens, Antigua is one of the most popular travel destinations in the country because of its scenic beauty (it is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and its rich history as the capital of the former kingdom of Guatemala.
Another popular destination where you might look to join a TEFL program in Guatemala is Quetzaltenango, one of the largest cities in the country which is also the capital of its own department. Once you have obtained your TEFL certificate, you may also go on to seek out teaching placements in any number of different locations throughout the country as well!
Courses & Programs
A TEFL certification generally requires a minimum 120 hours of study, which correlates to a four-week intensive training within most programs in Guatemala. Usually the only requirements for enrollment in a TEFL course in Guatemala are that you are fluent in English and that you have completed a basic level of schooling (either high-school or undergraduate), though you need not have studied a related subject.
Throughout the duration of your TEFL program in Guatemala you will cover a wide range of topics, ranging from the basics of teaching English grammar, reading, writing, and speaking to second-language speakers, to more strategic concepts such as lesson-planning, classroom management, and assessments. Many TEFL programs in Guatemala will also offer you the opportunity to engage in practice in front of a classroom as part of the course architecture.
While you will not be required to know Spanish in order to enroll in a TEFL course in Guatemala, or to go on and teach English in the country for that matter, having a decent command of the local language can only help communicating with your students. Joining a TEFL program in Guatemala can be a fantastic opportunity not only to train others in becoming bilingual, but to learn a second language yourself!
Costs & Affordability
While TEFL training courses range in affordability across the country, it is reasonable to estimate that you will wind up paying between $1,000 to $2,000 for enrollment in a one-month course. This initial investment can pay off quickly however, as a TEFL certification will enable you to land paid English-teaching positions all over the world.
Guatemala is also an affordable country for many international educators coming from the industrialized world, so you will not have to worry too much about everyday costs beyond the classroom either. The local currency in Guatemala is the Quetzal, which exchanges at roughly 7.5 GTQ to $1 USD.
Accommodation & Visas
Most TEFL courses in Guatemala will offer you the opportunity to either live in a homestay with a local host family, or else in group housing with other international educators enrolled in your program. Remember that Guatemala is a developing country, so while you should expect to be made comfortable, do not take for granted that commodities such as internet, hot water, and air conditioning will always be available.
International educators coming from many countries will not have to apply for a visa in order to stay for the one-month period required by most TEFL programs; however if you intend to stay on longer to move on to a paid teaching position in the country, then you will likely have to apply for documentation. To learn more about Guatemala’s visa policy toward your home nation, be sure to check out our Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Language Learning. Earning your TEFL certificate in Guatemala is an invaluable opportunity to learn more about your own language while also immersing yourself in a Spanish-speaking context. If you’re intent on becoming bilingual, this is one route that can take you there.
Local History. Being in an auspicious position right below North America, Guatemala has endured a tumultuous past which can be tremendously informative to learn about. The country’s former and present experiences speak volumes about the region’s history.
Professional Development. Even if you do not aspire toward a career in education, earning your TEFL certificate and teaching English in Guatemala is the chance to mature greatly within an international environment. More importantly, you will be giving a huge boost to your students as well!
Travelling to earn your TEFL certificate in Guatemala will prepare you to the fullest to teach English abroad by giving you firsthand experience in an international setting. The opportunity is there for the taking; will you make the leap?