I am Claudia Maribel Choc Choc. I was born on December 2, 2000 in the village of Semuy, lot # 14, in El Estor, Izabal. When I was little I liked to play with my friends, participate in school, read books, and do my homework. What I liked most is dancing.

So far I feel very happy to continue studying. I chose the [two-year] major Secondary Education in Pedagogy and Specialist in Educational Administration at the University of San Carlos of Guatemala. I am beginning to learn new things, such as that history allows us to know the past to understand the present that we are living and to build our future, and how the society in which we live develops.

I am studying to be someone in life, to get a good job, to help my brothers so that they can continue with their studies, and in the future I want to continue studying for a bachelor’s degree. I want to be a professional person and learn many good things in school and in life.   My family is not supporting me for lack of economic resources. I have brothers and sisters that also need help with their studies and many more things. At the same time I thank God for having given me the opportunity to get to where I am now. I am also very grateful to the people who is giving me the support to continue my studies; without the support of GSSG I would not be achieving my dreams.

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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