My name is Alejandra Guadalupe Santos López. I was born on August 27, 2021 in a town called San Antonio Aguas Calientes, in a small house with my parents and maternal grandparents. Since I can remember, my life has not been easy at all, since my father has suffered from alcoholism problems since I was a child, and that has greatly affected my family.

My brothers and I had to work hard with my mother to get ahead. My mother cleans an office but the money she earns is not enough, so she and I make and sell güipiles, which are a part of the indigenous clothing. Making these is not an easy job since they must be woven on a waist loom, kneeling or sitting for several hours or even days until the güipil is finished. I also help my grandmother sell tortillas. We make the tortillas by hand on a clay comal [plate-like griddle] with corn flour that is cooked and ground every day.

So, with the production of these textiles and the sale of tortillas, we helped each other in my family to get ahead.

To arrive at the point where I am currently in college has not been easy, since there were days when my parents did not have money to buy my materials, but I wanted to continue studying because I like to study and I am a good student. I thought that, because of our financial situation, I was not going to reach one of my dreams, which is to study at university, but thank God I met GSSG three years ago. And seriously, the support they give me is a great blessing to me and my family.

Finally, I can say that I am making the most of this scholarship opportunity that GSSG offers me, because I look around me and I see that there are many people who would like to have a scholarship and do not have it. I am trying hard every day to be able to learn new things. Currently I am studying a degree in educational pedagogy and administration, since I am a teacher of early childhood education and I really like teaching. When I obtain my degree I hope to find a job that is in the field of education, and thus contribute to the quality education of my community and my country.

Education System Glossary

Since the Guatemalan government only funds education to the end of elementary school, it is not all that common, especially in the rural areas, for someone to graduate from middle school. Thus, these students are awarded an actual degree, called the Basico, which carries some weight when looking for a job, etc.

High school comes in a variety of flavors in Guatemala. All of course are private, and there are seemingly as many curriculums as there are schools. Some high schools focus on particular careers, such as teaching, accounting, surveying, etc. Usually, it takes 3-4 years to complete, and they are awarded with a certificate of competency at the end. In teaching, the certificate entitles one to teach at the elementary school level only. More academically-oriented high schools have a curriculum similar to US schools, which includes language arts, math, science, history, etc. These typically require 4-5 years to complete, and graduates are awarded the Diversificado degree, which is required if the student wishes to continue their education at the University level. This is the degree that most GSSG-supported high school students are pursuing.

The University system in Guatemala is like the high school system, in that there are many degrees, and many ways to get a degree. There is only one public university, the University of San Carlos, and about a dozen private universities. Like high school, students can decide early to specialize in a particular field, and after 2-3 years, graduate with a “tecnico” degree. In education, this degree awards them the title of “Profesor”, and qualifies them to teach all the way through high school. For those wishing to go further in Education or other fields, there is the “Licenciatura” degree, which is awarded after four years of study in one’s major plus an additional year researching and writing a thesis that addresses some national problem in Guatemala. So far, three GSSG students have been awarded their Licenciatura degree, with several more hoping to have theirs by next year.

Sponsor Alejandra for just $25/month