As a part of the duties of her Human Resource Director position, Lisa Hetzel interacts with many English-speaking volunteers who are exploring Guatemala. Lisa says that while exploring Latin America is not always an easy endeavor, it is often much more accessible than the reverse — when Latin Americans look for experiences to explore the English-speaking world first-hand. Opportunities and funding tend to be scarcer and the legal process can be difficult to maneuver.
So Lisa had an interesting take on the recent opportunity of New Hope teachers who traveled to Chicago for a teacher exchange. She writes:
We at Common Hope are incredibly grateful to all of the volunteers in the United States who recently made it possible for a group of five of our teachers from New Hope School in Chinautla, Guatemala to participate in an education exchange with Hubbard Woods Elementary School in Winnetka, Illinois. Last week many boarded a plane for the first time, bundled up in loaned hats and scarves upon arrival, and learned about educational methods and teaching strategies at Hubbard Woods and other schools around the Chicago area. The teachers have been thrilled with their discoveries, from experiencing snow for the first time to watching U.S. schoolchildren’s enthusiasm with their demonstrations of traditional Guatemalan kite-making.
Common Hope has received foreign volunteers since its inception nearly 25 years ago, and they have provided invaluable creative and physical energies to our work. Now, with the Guatemalan staff members able to have a similar experience, our cultural exchange comes full circle, contributing to a more dynamic environment for developing new ideas.
You can read more about the New Hope teachers’ adventures on their blog.