• +(+502) 2381-0800
  • info@iba.gt

Tag Archives: Guatemala

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 1.15.35 PM

3 Foundations That Are Totally Worth Your Money!

Katia Arias No Comments

“Giving back” is a wonderful thing. In fact, many studies have proved that people who share are way happier than those who spend on themselves.

The world needs help! But there are so many ways and causes to aid that it can become daunting to choose just one. To assist you in this process, we’ve shortlisted 3 amazing foundations and social enterprises that could put your volunteering hours and donation money to very good use. All of them present in Guatemala!

  1. Empresarios Juveniles – Entrepreneurship Education

A member of Junior Achievement Worldwide, Empresarios Juveniles has empowered over 200K young people in Guatemala since 1988.

With more than 27 years of experience, EJ focuses on entrepreneurship, financial literacy and skill development to help the new generations break the cycle of poverty by starting their own businesses or becoming competitive candidates for good paying jobs.

Currently, EJ is present in 17 departments across Guatemala and works with a unique model connecting the business world with the classroom through internationally acclaimed programs taught by professional businessmen and women.

If economic integration is your thing, support this incredible foundation with donations, volunteering hours or by introducing their mission in your company!

  1. Feed The Children – Food Security

Feed The Children’s goal is simple: that no child goes to bed hungry. Feeding more than 263K kids per day, their efforts extend all over the world including Guatemala.

Being poverty the main cause for food insecurity, Feed The Children is conscious that the problem goes beyond food. That’s why they also offer various education programs and long-term solutions regarding clean water and health initiatives.

If food security calls you, you can help this amazing organization through volunteering, donations or by creating your own fundraising campaign. Imagine being the hero who gives a child the opportunity to get nourished! Doesn’t that sound good?

  1. Wakami – Community Empowerment

 Wakami is a wonderful nonprofit and social enterprise hybrid that seeks to empower at risk communities in Guatemala. Their model encompasses creating small rural community businesses and then commercializing their artisanal products worldwide.

Currently, their inclusive business methodology has empowered 486 Guatemalan producers, 95% of them being women. With almost 20 incubated businesses, the Wakami efforts have solved problems that go beyond poverty. Increased women empowerment, food security, increased school attendance and better education are only some of the great results that this amazing organization has delivered.

 If you find women and community empowerment interesting, get involved with Wakami! Here’s a short video from Soy 502

 

If you found this post useful, please let us know in the comments!

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 11.53.23 AM

Guatemala’s Holy Week: A Unique Experience

Katia Arias No Comments

Guatemala’s Holy Week celebrations are a splendorous display of history, religion and Latin American tradition.

After the Spanish introduced Christianity in Guatemala the 16th century, the indigenous people began to worship Christ the “Guatemalan” way. Mixing colors, music and gatherings this intercultural mix of European religion and indigenous worship methods created a new set of customs that became a cornerstone of the country’s present identity.

Of all the Holy Week traditions, we’ve put together a short list of the most famous ones, hoping you can enjoy some of them this year and get to experience one of the richest cultural experiences in the world.

Here is a short video from Aspectos Digitales, who presented the tradition perfectly

  1. The Passion of The Christ (live version)

In many Guatemalan departments like Huehuetenango and Santa Rosa, hundreds of actors come together to reenact the passion of Christ in the streets of their towns, allowing people to live the Stations of the Cross, side-by-side with Jesus.

  1. Sawdust Carpets

This is one of the biggest Holly Week traditions and is lived all around the country. Made of colored sawdust, each carpet either tells a religious story or displays important Christian images, such as rosaries, Hosts and images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. During Holy Week, entire communities and parishes get together in advance to prepare the materials and put the carpets together so that Jesus (in the procession), can walk on them later on!

Source: flickr.com

Source: flickr.com

  1. The Processions

 Antigua Guatemala is mostly known for this Holly Week tradition. Processions start out on the first Thursday of Lent and then are carried out every week until Palm Sunday, and then every day until Resurrection Sunday. The processions not only tell beautiful stories but also bring people from all economic and social statuses to work together. Some processions are carried for more than 15 hours and they all include music, prayers and a lot of emotions.

  1. Penitence

 Throughout Guatemala, many communities practice interesting activities to pay for their sins. Curious enough, many of these practices date from the time of the colonies and have been passed down generations until this day.

In Quiché, the “gateadores” crawl around the city streets with their faces covered and with thorns on their backs.

In Chichicastenango, people carry a small cross on their shoulders and follow the procession on their knees all the way to the temple.

In Sololá, you have the “Toronjeada” where people fill bags of oranges and hit each other with it. And finally, in Sololá as well, communities are allowed a time to hit each other to settle any dispute and reconcile.  

Source: Pinterest.com

Source: Pinterest.com

  1. Food!

And last but never least, during Holly Week celebrations Guatemalans prepare their souls and also treat their stomachs with a lot of their traditional and delicious food!

Amongst these incredible dishes you can find enchiladas, “canillitas de leche”, “tostadas” with frijoles, guacamole or red sauce, “molletes”, “rellenitos” (plantain cakes), and Horchata (rice-based juice).

And just like these, there are many more traditions in every town of this beautiful country.

If you are religious Guatemala might be the right place to be during Holy Week and if you’re not Guatemala may also be a great place to visit this April if you want to experience something beautiful.

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-1-58-39-pm

Young Guatemalan Entrepreneurship

Katia Arias No Comments

The Lucky Attitude describes millennials as the “Startup Kids”, the generation that wants to be their own boss and the ones that see more value in creating something for themselves than climbing the corporate ladder.

Although such is a general statement, millennials in Guatemala are proving it right. With 40.3% of adults between 18-64 intending to start a new business and 60% of them believing they have the right capabilities to do so, you find yourself facing a country that ranked #107 in the Global Entrepreneurship Index.

But why are Guatemalans so special when it comes to business? My visit to the annual “Product Fair” sponsored by “Empresarios Juveniles” and “Universidad Rafael Landívar” gave me a good idea.

Image Credit: Katia Arias

Image Credit: Katia Arias

The program “Young Enterprises” is a semester long workshop where first and second year students from the business department come together in groups to build a functioning small-scale enterprise from scratch. Throughout the workshop, students must adopt different managerial roles, develop a product and create a business/marketing plan to launch their final concept at the product fair, where they are judged based on how well they developed and presented their idea.

As I walked by “grading” the stands, I couldn’t help to notice four prominent trends:

  1. Taking advantage of what’s local and traditional

The new generation of Guatemalan entrepreneurs has rediscovered the power of tradition and is exploiting it right!

Why are traditional products so attractive?

Because they not only offer a useful piece of clothing or accessory, but also a culturally valuable piece that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. By printing the Guatemalan identity on bags, shirts and wallets you’re giving these products a level of authenticity and “exoticness” clients inside and out of the country find very attractive. When clients buy traditional products they’re buying a story, a piece of the country and an “authentic” pass into global citizenship (which many people find extremely desirable and valuable).

Local products, however, have another advantage. While you’re promoting your country’s uniqueness you are also helping the artisanal community both socially and economically. Since entrepreneurs rely on indigenous craftsmanship to create their pieces, they embark themselves in a journey to better understand their people and roots. Also they keep the money within the local economy helping the country grow.

So, when clients see “local and traditional” they are sold. They see artisanal (which is “cooler” than commercial), they see cultural value and they see social impact (which makes them feel good about the purchase, and as I mentioned before, almost 90% of purchases are made through the emotional brain).

 

Image Credit: Katia Arias

Image Credit: Katia Arias

  1. Using social causes as marketing tools

 Speaking of the emotional brain, young Guatemalan entrepreneurs have also learned to take advantage of the country’s critical situation to create marketing campaigns with social aspects.

With the huge spectrum of social and economic gaps in Guatemala, people have many “causes” to choose from when they think of Social Corporate Responsibility. I was surprised of how many students chose to support a cause as part of their marketing. Their products were simple, almost useless to the eye but buying them helped someone, so suddenly the products had a social value impossible to ignore.

There was a stand selling bottle openers. The products didn’t have anything special on them, but if you bought one (for very cheap) you would be helping a kid’s shelter. So technically you bought the cause not the product.

Another stand offered bracelets to support breast cancer. I liked their approach when they said to me; take a bracelet for a meaningful donation of Q.20. Notice they didn’t say the words price or cost. Although they had adopted the structure of an nonprofit, I was happy to see that the salespeople prepared themselves to offer their products using the right vocabulary and approach.

Image Credit: Katia Arias

  1. Targeting Millennials

 According to PFS, “millennials may only comprise 26% of the population, but they contribute to approximately 35% of retail spending. That said, new and old businesses must seek to understand what millennials value to properly market to this generation; and, in consequence, their baby boomer parents.

The World’s leading research and insight platform, Qualtrics divided millennial values in four: relationships, socio-ecological impact, easy-grab and high-tech.

Most of the stands did offer products that fell in one of these categories: from fashionable iPhone chargers to eco-friendly bottles, one-step make-up removers, traditional clothing and artisanal jewelry.

Image Credit: Katia Arias

Image Credit: Katia Arias

  1. Employing charismatic salespeople

 The category of “relationships” in the millennial value circle refers to how well the company seeks to relate with the customers before they sell them a product.

Latin America is comprised by what sociologists call “primary cultures.” Where most people rely on inter personal relations to meet their needs. These cultures value extended family systems and social connectivity as well as oral forms of communication and natural-spiritual concepts.

These cultural traits have helped Guatemalan entrepreneurs become natural salespeople (at least some). “4Her” was the small business that captivated me the most. They had incredible traditional products and they knew the story behind them. But, what really helped was the team’s customer service. The only reason I didn’t buy from them was because I didn’t have any cash on me!

image4

Image Credit: Katia Arias

Conclusion

 In conclusion one could say that Guatemalans are growing to become great entrepreneurs because they are taking a proper advantage of their local resources and causes as well as their natural sociability. On the improvement side, I youngsters still have a long way to go when it comes to understanding their customer and sharing their story. The products I saw at the fair were great but I left wanting more information from each one, I left feeling as if students didn’t do enough research on their market and as if they were doing it “just for the class”.

Overall, however, visiting the product fair was a very enriching and insightful experience to see what young people value and believe is important. I was impressed by the quality of the products and marketing material (given they only have a semester to plan everything) and would definitely recommend the activity to anyone interested.

word-of-mouth

How to be Heard

Daniel Shipley No Comments

How to be Heard by Daniel Shipley

In sales, one of the hardest things that a salesperson can feel is unheard. Sometimes as sales people, we feel as though we have such an amazing thing, that if people would just give us a couple of seconds to hear about it they would all want what we have. However a lot of people open the door to hear your sales pitch only to think, eh another sales person. With that mentality, how are sales people ever to sell anything.

The answer really is simple, be different, however the explanation and understanding is what is hard. People like to buy from people they like or things that remind them of themselves. However that first impression, people are really looking for something that will grab their attention immediately and show them that this is different and it is worth their time to listen. Trevor Clayton, CEO of International Business Academy, tells me time and time again that their success as a company comes from them being different. All the companies in Guatemala who are teaching here are doing something the same way. They have these great facilities and supplies, but it can be inconvenient to a lot of people because of the travel cost. Trevor has built his company based off the fact that, “we will come to yochart communu.”

The great big question is though how do you get past the beginning stage so that you can portray your message at how you are different. One method that I have found useful is the use of non-verbal and para-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication attributes to about 55 percent of what is perceived and para-verbal communication attributes to about 38 percent. That means together, 93 percent of communication is related to not even saying anything, but how we say it and what we are doing when we say something.

 

What I have found in my own sales experience is that positive vibes create great selling atmospheres. First impressions really do matter, so whenever I walk into a sales meeting, or I am doing an elevator pitch, I try to put on a huge smile so that the other person will mimic my smile. This may sound weird, but by doing this you will get them to smile and positive endorphins will be released inside them. By giving off a huge smile, this is an example of non-verbal communication that I do in order to make sure the sales process starts off smoothly.

Non-verbal communication is generally portrayed through facial expressions and also through postures and gestures. According to an article titled, Communication Skills by Rod Windle and Suzanne Warren, they said this about facial expressions and also posture and gestures,

“Facial Expression: The face is perhaps the most important conveyor of emotional information. A face can light up with enthusiasm, energy, and approval, express confusion or boredom, and scowl with displeasure. The eyes are particularly expressive in telegraphing joy, sadness, anger, or confusion.

Over-Exaggeration-2Postures and Gestures: Our body postures can create a feeling of warm openness or cold rejection. For example, when someone faces us, sitting quietly with hands loosely folded in the lap, a feeling of anticipation and interest is created. A posture of arms crossed on the chest portrays a feeling of inflexibility. The action of gathering up one’s materials and reaching for a purse signals a desire to end the conversation.”

Depending on different things that you do with your body, this will depend on how the message is received and how we are heard. In sales, I always had the rule that if I didn’t have the person within the first 10 seconds, then I lost the sale. Working in the door to door industry, I would try to notice something different about each house so that when I got to the door I would have something to spark conversation. Usually it was about a car they had, or their garden, or just something I noticed about the house. Building credibility is huge as well and so I would always start off my sales pitch by bringing up people that they would know that I have been talking to as well. Again, while doing all of this; keeping a big smile on my face, straight posture, and maintaining eye contact but breaking once in awhile to avoid awkwardness. Non-verbal communication was crucial to my sales because I had it mastered down in terms of the psychology in selling.

By being aware of my facial features and also my posture and gestures, I would help people feel comfortable enough to enjoy what I was selling, and made the yes’ come a lot easier.

Another important technique to being heard is used through para-verbal communication. In the article, it defines para-verbal communication this way, “Para-verbal communication refers to the messages that we transmit through the tone, pitch, and pacing of our voices. It is how we say something, not what we say. Professor Mehrabian states that the para-verbal message accounts for approximately 38% of what is communicated to someone. A sentence can convey entirely different meanings depending on the emphasis on words and the tone of voice. For example, the statement, “I didn’t say you were stupid” has six different meanings, depending on which word is emphasized.”

Para-verbal communication was another really big part of my communication in sales. They way I said words would portray how confident I was in my product. People can read right through you if you are not confident it what you are selling. One way I would stay positive is in the mirror or in the shower I would repeat to myself every morning that what I was selling truly was the best product out there and that I was helping people’s lives by what I was doing. In para-verbal communication you can be confident, but if you are not using your para-verbal correctly, you can completely give off the wrong message. For example read this sentence one way where you end the last word with an up pitch in your voice and then with a down pitch in your voice.

  • I have the best product in the world.

You can literally be saying the same sentence, but if I say the last word in an up pitch, it sounds like I am questioning myself and that I am not confident in what I’m saying. In retrospect, if I am saying this last word in a down pitch, it just sounds more confident and more like I believe in what I am saying.

vivint_selling_door_to_door_300pxIn door to door sales, we have a saying as to not throw up on the person’s front door. Now literally you really shouldn’t do that, but that is not what we were referring to. You don’t want to speak too quickly, or give out too much information on the door step, or office, or wherever you may be. Some people when they are not getting a lot of sales and getting rejected a lot tend to do this more often because they are literally expecting the no. Be calm, cool, collected and find out the needs of the customer first so that you know how to proceed with your sales presentation.

The article gives us some examples of what to remember for para-verbal communication. “…When we are angry or excited, our speech tends to become more rapid and higher pitched. When we are bored or feeling down, our speech tends to slow and take on a monotone quality. When we are feeling defensive, our speech is often abrupt.”

If you want to be heard, don’t be afraid to speak up and say what you need to say. But by being aware of your non-verbal and para-verbal communication, you will be a lot more successful at actually getting the person to HEAR you instead of just letting you talk. There are other things you can do with para-verbal communication as well such as preplanned physical things you do in order to maintain the attention, but I will leave it at this for now. I am curios if anybody out there has any experience with how non-verbal or para-verbal communication helped them get the sale, or lose the sale. What are you experiences?

 

Windle, Rod, and Suzanne Warren. “CADRE Resources.” Ideas That Work, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.

Business English with International Business Academy

Experience and Travel within Guatemala City

Jackie Jacobsen No Comments

When I first came to Guatemala I was excited as well as nervous. I was not sure what to expect coming into a new culture. There are many differences here compared to the United States. For example with how people greet each other, the food, the language, and etc. It was challenging to adapt at first, but as time went by and I started to become close with people and get in a routine, which has helped me to consider this country a second home for me.

For my traveling within Guatemala it has been quite adventurous. Recently I had traveled to the Peten to visit the Mayan Ruins of Tikal. It was so beautiful and interesting. I have never seen or done anything so adventurous in my life. Walking through the Jungles of Tikal and climbing the ruins was a whole new experience for me that was very enjoyable. download (8)

Now with completing my internship in another country has been quite an experience in itself as well. The internship at IBA has been great. I have learned so much about important business topics as well as my own personal career development. I have also been working on developing a training for the Company, which has helped me learn how to use the skills I have learned in my studies within a real world setting.

Overall this experience has taught me many lessons thus far within my career as well as my personal life. I feel I have grown as a person and have conquered many fears and aspirations sense being here. I do not regret my decision to come and live in a new country to complete my internship because it has been one of the most beneficial experiences of my life. If you are considering traveling abroad to Guatemala or in general I say try anything to make it happen because it really does change you and helps put your life into perspective.

Hello in lots of languages

Why language matters!

Patrick Gartrelle No Comments

Patrick –

A few nights ago my house celebrated the birthday of the woman I call “Casa Mama”. I know the words do not translate into English properly but it’s true intention is to show respect for my house mom. She is a wonderful woman and is always trying to find ways to make me feel more comfortable in Guatemala.

On her birthday she nicely requested we had pizza for dinner, so we did. At the table she invited some visitors we were hosting and the tenants who live in a house behind our house. A giant box of Pizza Hut showed up at the door and everyone was ready to dig in. As we sat around the table it is important to know, I don’t speak enough Spanish to have a comfortable conversation with others and to make matters worse I was at a table with all native speakers. I prefer to listen and attempt to follow along, sometimes I chime in when necessary.

So one of the reasons why languages matter is because true emotions move through our words and also our actions. But it is hard to truly comprehend how another human is feeling without the power of language. As I looked around the table I saw nothing but smiles, the conversation looked healthy and I was itching to join in, but it wasn’t really possible. At least it is not possible right now but listening for the time being is helpful, I understand more than I can responded.

At the dinner table “Casa Mama” went and got a very large candle and said we were celebrating all the summer birthdays. So we started with Roxy who is 17 and lives in the house behind ours with her mother. I see them daily and say my hellos and few words and go about my day. We began to sing happy birthday in Spanish which I actually knew, so I found it entertaining to be included in this chant. After Roxy, a candle was lit for me and they requested we sung it in English, but they needed to learn the words.

So another reason why language matters is because everyone wants to get involved with it and understand the meaning. I don’t think there are many things as frustrating as not being able to understand someone. When you don’t speak the same language as someone you do some crazy things to get your point across. I can recall throughout my travels around the world I have acted like a chicken in many foreign countries in order to ensure my food order was correct. So in the long run understanding someone completely is a small desire within us. I can’t recall one time while travelling in Guatemala or anywhere around the world where someone has walked away from me because they could not understand me, in fact I think it only makes people want to help out more. The sense of accomplishment is one to parade around with, when you get through to someone who can’t comprehend your native tongue.

After I taught the words to “Happy Birthday” we sung it with mixed success but it was very warm and I blew out my candle 21 days late but at least it happened. Last but not least it was Casa Mama’s turn and as we prepared to sing the words to Happy Birthday in Spanish the lyrics defiantly changed, which confused me. But I just clapped along and wished her well on her birthday. After the celebration and clean up Roxy had a request. She wanted me to help her with an English assignment she had due for tomorrow.

I agreed to help her of course, English is my native language and I love sharing it. Her assignment was to properly write and read aloud the rules of basketball. I explained to her that the sport was complicated but the basics are very easy to comprehend. It is also really up my alley because my father is heavily involved in the basketball world. Through our exchange and working together for about 90 minutes not only did Roxy master pronunciations, she is really good at retaining information. Her listening skills we superb and the excitement knowing that she would be successful with her assignment the next day was a great feeling. We also both discovered we both play basketball for leisure.

This brings me to my last point. People want to be successful in as many ways as possible and language opens up more options in my opinion than a 4 year degree. Keeping this short it was just a really nice feeling knowing that she felt prepared for something and it did not take that long. It also didn’t take much for me to share information that I was programmed with since birth. The night was a fun success in my opinion. We celebrated each other, our cultures and learned something new.

 

Language matters because it creates and moves emotion or information from person to person, it creates involvement and  gives a sense of success and security. Language is essentially for life’s greatest things.

Guatemala-map

Guatemala, a place to live, travel, and work

Trevor No Comments

Guatemala, also known as the “land of many trees” named for its foresty landscape is the cultural hub and and the most visited country in Central America.  The official language is Spanish but being a country of Mayan descendants, there are also 21 dialects spoken throughout the country. The capital city is Guatemala City, a place tourists often choose not to visit, heading straight from the airport to the colonial city of Antigua.  At IBA, our internship program provides a great opportunity to live, work, and explore the capital city and also travel to top travel destinations such as Antigua, Tikal, Semuc Champey,  and Lake Atitlan.

IBA interns, Sarah Leib and Rob Dolot, have spent the last three months working at the IBA office in Guatemala City’s zone 4, in an area also known as 4° Norte (4° North), an upcoming trendy spot within the city, and also exploring the country.

 Antigua

Antigua was once the capital city of Guatemala. After being destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, it was preserved as ruins and Spanish colonial buildings, churches, and houses. It is one of the top tourist destinations of the country and a great place for dining, purchasing typical clothing and souvenirs, and exploring.

Antigua 2

shopping for local artesan goods at the market

 

Antigua 4

Just one of the many parks…

 Rooftop Views in Antigua

Antigua 5

Café Sky

 

Antigua 7

Jungle Party Hostal rooftop bar

Around the office, 4° Norte

Ciudad 5

4° Norte has become an urban renewal project started by a group of entrepreneurs to make the area what it used to be, filled with nightlife; bars; restaurants; and music. The IBA office is located in the heart of the area in a building called the Campus Tecnológico. The area bustles during lunchtime with business people and food trucks on Thursdays, brought in by the municipality. On the weekends, the municipality also organizes a “flea market” where local artesans come together to sell their products.

Ciudad 7

 In the office…

Ciudad 1

Sarah and Rob became much more than interns to the company, they have become part of the team.  In addition to teaching local Guatemalans and online clients in Germany business English, they also became managers of their own projects within the company.

 

Ciudad 2

Campus Tecnológico, IBA Office Building

Ciudad 4

Coffee break at the local café Rojocerezo Coffee

 

Ciudad 9

International Business Academy of Guatemala is an organization that is dedicated to the constant improvement of its shareholders, customers, and its workers. Each person here has a genuine passion for learning and the office environment is one that promotes self-learning and rewards creativity.  Personally, the Professional Development Training I have received though International Business Academy has been a tremendous experience and has given me some great ideas that I will apply to any career path I pursue. Overall, I would highly recommend this internship program to anyone who wants to gain valuable international business experience in a friendly atmosphere that fosters growth.

Oh, and the food here is incredible!

– Rob Dolot

My time working with the International Business Academy has been remarkable. The IBA team immediately welcomed me in as their own and helped me comfortably immerse myself into the culture and country of Guatemala. My work days fly by because I always have work to do,the work environment is comfortable, and my co-workers are fantastic. Additionally, the housing arrangements they set up for the interns is great. The family has been very welcoming and accommodating.

Overall, I’d highly suggest this program to those who are interested in an innovative international internship experience! This has definitely been a great resume builder, I am proud to say I work there and overall have enjoyed my time with the IBA!

– Sarah Leib

Want to learn more about the IBA internship program? Check our the Careers section of our website!

Sources: mwengo   lonely planet  THE TICO TIMES

Photography by: Rita Flores

 

1

Llevándote a 'ese' nivel de éxito

Con nuestra metodología de Inglés enfocado hacia los negocios. Conoce nuestros planes, paquetes y horarios!