My name is Samuel David Ramirez Calderon,  I am the youngest of my siblings. Although I was born in the department of San Marcos, I grew up and went to school in the city of Jalpatagua, department of Jutiapa. Before my parents had to move to another place, they worked in a hotel. When I was a little boy, they always told me incredible stories about working there

Our economic resources were often limited, but we always had food at our table by God’s mercy. On many occasions for special seasons, my mother and sister prepared dishes to sell such as: paches de papa, garnachas, and fiambre. I went door-to-door in order to sell the dishes. I was happy to offer the food and my greatest satisfaction was when we sold all the dishes we prepared.

Currently, I have completed the courses for the Bachelor of Hotel, Tourism, and Gastronomy Management. For now, I am just waiting for the processing of some documents that are required to solicit my private final exam. I am happy and satisfied that I chose this career. I have met incredible people and I have acquired new knowledge. Overall, I have lived, in person, so many of the stories people told me about life.

Like anyone, I have many aspirations in life. One of them is to have my own restaurant and publicize the dishes my mother and sister used to make. I also want to provide plates of food to those who are in need.

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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