Guatemala is a country that has long been a driving power in Central America. With a population hovering around 16 million citizens, it is the largest nation in the region and a majorly popular travel destination for international adventurers from all over the world. While one of the poorest countries in the region, it also boasts the largest economy in all of Central America, so there are many different opportunities by which you can work abroad in Guatemala.
Guatemala sits in the heart of Central America, sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east. It shares borders with Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador, making travel throughout these other Latin American nations easily accessible while you work abroad in Guatemala. Guatemala and the surrounding region also constitutes a biodiversity hotspot, with thousands of endemic plant and animal species calling it home.
Guatemala City is the national capital and the largest city in all of Central America, making it understandably the most popular destination where to work abroad in Guatemala. Sprawled out in a mountainous valley in the southern region of the country, the Guatemala City metropolitan area is home to nearly 5 million people, constituting nearly a third of the country’s population. It is one of the primary political, economic, and cultural nuclei of Central America.
Other locations where you might work abroad in Guatemala include Solola, a popular town sitting on the banks of Lake Atitlan, and Antigua, a small city in the highlands of the country which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its well-preserved Spanish architecture. Both of these locations are much smaller than Guatemala City, providing international workers with more intimate experience of Guatemalan culture.
Jobs Abroad in Guatemala
While Guatemala has the largest GDP in all of Central America, it also suffers from a great degree of economic inequality, with over half of country’s population living in poverty. As you might expect then, many jobs abroad in Guatemala are oriented towards development efforts, working with local and international organizations to bring valuable social services to sectors of the underserved population.
Teaching is another popular type of job abroad in Guatemala within this realm. International educators can seek out placements teaching English at all different levels, from young children through adult learners. In many cases you can choose to teach other subjects such as Science and Math as well.
Tourism is a third industry that is a popular choice among international aspirants to work abroad in Guatemala. One of the most visited travel destinations in Central America, there are many opportunities to to find a temporary job placements working for hotels, hostels, travel companies, and other such employers.
Whatever industry you choose to seek out a job abroad in Guatemala within, Spanish fluency is often expected among international workers. You can find English speaking positions in some cases, but the job market will open up to a whole new degree if you are able to speak the local language.
Salaries & Affordability
Salaries will vary depending on the industry you work in; however Guatemala is a very poor nation, so do not expect to make a huge salary while working abroad here. The bright side is that living costs will also be quite low, so no matter how much you make, you will likely be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle while you work abroad in Guatemala. The local currency is the Quetzal, which trades at about 7.5 GTQ to $1 USD.
Accommodation & Visas
You can usually find your own apartment quite easily while you work abroad in Guatemala, although homestays or group living situations are also sometimes available for international workers who are on a temporary jobs abroad programs. Wherever you live, remember that Guatemala is a developing country, and so many luxuries such as air conditioning, hot water, and Wi-Fi may not always be available.
International workers from many countries will be allowed to enter Guatemala without obtaining a visa, but will usually ultimately have to apply for work permission with the endorsement of their employer. For more information about Guatemala’s visa policy as it applies to your situation, you can check out our Guatemalan Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
History. Guatemala has one of the most interesting histories of any country in the Americas, from its ancient roots in the Mayan civilization to Spanish colonization to a wave of military dictatorships in the 20th century. Learn all about it while you work abroad in Guatemala.
Language Immersion. If you are not yet bilingual, then odds are you will become so during the duration of your job abroad in Guatemala. Do your best to leave behind your native tongue and speak Spanish as regularly as possible.
Biodiversity. Guatemala is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, from its unique landscapes to the thousands of species of flora and fauna which call it home. Get ready to explore nature!