I grew up in a large family, the 7th daughter of 10 siblings. My father was the only one who worked. Many of my brothers had to work from a very young age to help with the sustenance of the home.  I had the opportunity to have help from one of my sisters who dedicated herself to work. At times we suffered a lot because we had little resources.

Now I am studying in the seventh semester in the major of legal and social sciences, lawyer and notary, at the University of San Carlos de Guatemala. I chose this career because I know there is a lot of need in our community. I want to be a support to those people who can not afford a lawyer. At times I work tutoring children of different ages in English or another course. At one point in my life I had to stop studying for about two years, as I got married and had my son and started helping my family financially.

My plan for the future, is that God first makes me be able to graduate and be able to specialize in Criminal Law. My great dream is to begin a law firm to be able to serve people who in reality, as I said, can not afford a lawyer when they need it most.

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.

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