Pablo (Jose)


Pablo (Jose)

This is Pablo Cucul. I was born in Cobán, but I have lived most of my life in San Pedro Carchá. I am twenty-nine years of age. I am the third child out seven children in my family. I found out about the Guatemalan Student Support Group when I was in 7th grade. At that point I was thirteen years old. I got the opportunity to travel to the United States to learn English in the summer of 2005 and I lived for six months with Mr. and Mrs. Bonds in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

I was able to learn English thanks to the continuous support of my host family. In 2008 I traveled to Raleigh one more time but this time to start my high school studies at Saint Thomas More Academy. In 2012 I graduated from high school and was able to get a one-year full scholarship in Business Administration at Siena College in Loudonville, New York. At Siena College I was able to live to full American college experience.

I came back to Guatemala at the end of 2013. I am currently in my last year in Forest Engineering at Rafael Landivar University. I am focusing my thesis research work on Agroforestry systems and biodiversity conservation in this area of the country. Since 2020 I have been working as an English teacher at San Carlos University School of Languages. It has been a tremendous experience given that I get to share what I know with other university students. Education is the most powerful weapon, and I am blessed to be able to contribute to the education system. 

In the future I would like to open my own English academy to help bring about change to this nation that desperately needs it and give the opportunity to impoverished students to learn a new language and have better opportunities in the future. I also want to participate in politics and find a way to make this country a better place for future generations. Another goal that I have is to teach at the university level in my field of study. 

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 (Jose) Pablo for just $25/month