Finding work in Guatemala City will require a lot of careful planning. The standard of living is low. Work visas are hard to get so most foreigners work on a tourist visa unless you ask your employer to assist you with your working permit. With a high standard of formal training, a teaching position can be found in better paying schools but you need to be consistent. The English teacher must be flexible. The educational center of Guatemala is in Quetzaltenango or, as it is more commonly known as, Xela. It is a dramatic city geographically as it is surrounded by 10 volcanoes; however, it is growing in population quite rapidly and is recognized as a good place to search for work as an EFL teacher.
There are five universities in Xela and numerous language schools. Some students right out of high school need to show English proficiency in order to enter university and others need to improve their English skills for more career opportunities. Some Guatemalan people are simply interested in learning English because they like American culture. There is a preference for all English schools for obvious reasons. The main schools accepting native speakers are: Best English School, Instituto Central America, Instituto Guatemalteco Americano and Inter-AmericaSchool.
Each school offers benefits, for example, some may offer free Spanish lessons. Hiring usually occurs during the spring months for the fall terms. Working hours vary from school to school and benefits depend upon qualifications. The salary for the English teacher is estimated as between $2.00 USD to $5.00 USD per hour in language schools; $5.00 USD to $8.00 USD per hour for private lessons. Furnished one bedroom apartments can range between $250 USD to $360 USD per month. Shared accommodations can run at slightly cheaper rates.
Almost 50% of the population are from Mayan origin. It is the most heavily populated country of all Central America with just over an estimated 14 million people.
The 36 years of civil war officially ended in 1996; therefore, there remain residual social injustice and habitation problems. Guatemala is on the mend but the healing process needs some time to work itself out. Violence still abounds within the disenfranchised groups of its citizens.
The working foreigner is cautioned to keep her or himself aware at all times and to use common sense when navigating city streets. There exist some difficulties for the foreigner and the individual must be aware of this reality. Good advisement would be to fit in with the surrounding culture rather than stand out.
Guatemala is captivating in terms of color and character. Many Mayan brightly colored handicrafts line the streets and the architecture has a distinctive; cheerful rustic quality. An area of interest in Guatemala includes Antigua, a city located just west of Guatemala City. It is a less Americanized touristy view of the country inhabited by a mix of Mayan and upper class Latinos.
The city is known for its relaxed, exciting, tremendously welcoming and comfortable atmosphere. Lake Atitlan, located just north west of Guatemala City, attracts numerous visitors for its incomparable view and its perfect shores. The currency is quetzals trading at approximately 7.5 to the US dollar. The weather varies according to altitudes; the average temperature is 68 F and can rise to 99 F. Rainy season at higher altitudes is from May to September, although, generally the nights are clear and during this time the temperature falls sharply at night.