Sandra Bolom


Sandra Bolom

My name is Sandra Margarita Bolom Macz. My first language is Qéqchi, my second language is Spanish and my third is English. When I was a little girl I only spoke Q´eqchi´ and I did not understand any Spanish at all. I grew up in a small village which is called Aldea Socelá.  Being in the village is very hard because you do not get the opportunity to receive a better education. In my village it is hard to get internet access, there is no electricity, no phone service.  There is only a dirt road and you have to walk about an hour and a half to where you can catch a bus in the road that goes into town. My parents always have to work as agriculture but they do not have a lot of income for the family, but they always tried their best to keep the family going and buy what we need.  They also have encouraged us to continue going to school so that someday we would not have to live like they were living. 

Now that I am older I have accomplished much; I have continued my education and am now in the university. I go to the University of Mariano Galvez of Guatemala which is located in Morales Izabal. The career that I am studying is Administracion de Empresas (Business of Administration) and I will be finishing this year of 2021. I chose this career because I want to know how I can best choose a business where I can find a job or how I can start my own business and how I will run it. My dream has always been to have my own business and be able to support my family.  GSSG has opened the door for me so that I can continue my education and be someone in the future. I am so grateful to be able to graduate from a university and to be able to see what I am able to be. In my village none of the girls have finished their education from the university because they do not have the money. 

My goal to help my people in the village is to encourage them that there is an opportunity for them to continue their education if they do believe in their self. Also I would show them we all need education because without education we are nothing and we can´t find a better job from anywhere because they will not be able to get the knowledge they need. To have a job from a different company they need to know how to speak Spanish, write their names, knowing how to use computer and there is a lot of other stuff that is needed to be known. My other goal for the people in my village is to create my own business that I can help other families providing them a job where they can make a little income and at the same time encouraging them to go to school so that someday they can create their own or maybe they can have an idea how they can help their family.  Now I am helping my family in different way by getting a job. I have a job now; I am able to help my siblings continue their education and graduate from high school. I keep encouraging them that they have to finish because education is the key to success. 

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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