Carleton University!

We love having groups come visit us! Right now, 17 friends from Carleton University, in Ottawa Canada, are here to visit and learn and experience Guatemala with the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy. It’s just their 2nd full day with us, but already they have seen and fallen in love with the colonial capital, Antigua, and in Xela at the Ixkik Museum, we learned about traditional clothing and the incredible amount of symbolism and meaning inherent in these beautiful textiles.

Other events on the schedule include learning about the history of the school, gaining a deeper understanding of the popular education model we use at the Academy and seeing Salcaja, Aguas Amargas, Cantel and El Baul! It’s a jam packed schedule and we’re busy every minute! Are you interested in participating in edutourism at the Academy? If so, please let us know! We would love to have you here and create a unique and meaningful experience for you in Guatemala! Contact Volunteer Coordinator Malea Hetrick at if you’re interested!

Feliz Dia de San Valentin!

Hello friends! I hope you had a happy Valentine’s Day at home, at work, with friends and with family. We certainly celebrated in style!

The elementary students began a soccer tournament, with the first game played between Primero A and Primero B. While the kids are certainly into the game, they’re such good sports too! It’s fun to watch them, and with our new third story, there’s plenty of “stadium” style seating! Some day, I hope you can watch recess soccer tournaments with us!

The middle school and high school students, for their celebration, didn’t organize a soccer tournament, but a school dance! Tercero was in charge of the organization, and put together a wonderful ceremony. The event began with a traditional dance, and did the students look sharp in their traditional clothing instead of their standard uniforms. After the formal dance, there was a mixer, so that students in their first year could get to know students in their last year, and vice versa and every year in between. Finally, there was the part of the night that everyone was waiting for… the dance! There was a good mix of pop, reggaeton and salsa music, and some of the students certainly surprised the staff with their salsa steps.

All in all, we had a great day and everyone had fun!

-Malea Hetrick, Volunteer Coordiantor

Learning Curve of a New Teacher

Introductions are important – culture to newcomer, newcomer to school, and students to newcomer. With two weeks under my belt as the new high school English teacher, I’d like to share some of my experiences.

First, as I was introduced to Guatemalan culture with its traditional clothing, beauty of surrounding mountains and volcanoes and, of course, its tortillas, I have become aware of the overall warmth of its people. Another thing I’ve noticed is the very apparent cultural divide within its society itself, as western influences are visibly seen everywhere. It is a battle between old versus new. During my time here, it will be interesting to see how this concept of traditional versus untraditional plays a role in my job as an English teacher.

Next, I meet Miguel Angel Asturias Academy and its teachers, who are busily preparing for the coming start of school. I join them in preparing curriculum and anticipating the student’s arrival.

At last, it was the first day of school. I have seven classes consisting of students aging between twelve and nineteen. Learning the student’s names was a high priority for me. Individualizing each student’s education is my goal and taking out the intimidation of learning a foreign language. As a fluent, NON-speaking Spanish person (Yes, you heard me correctly. I do not yet speak Spanish), as I make mistakes in Spanish, it will show them that I understand how difficult it is to learn a new language. After my first week with the students, my biggest surprise was how varied the class abilities were. Some students were moderately conversationally fluent, while others could barely count to 10. The second week was focused on conversation basics and getting comfortable with speaking English aloud in class.

I am pleased with the student’s progress. It is both challenging and rewarding to teach this group of young adults. We will continue the journey of learning English together, building solid platforms as we go. Stay tuned for more updates.


-Kyra Gibson