International Business Academy

About

The International Business Academy (IBA), located in the new and emerging business section of Guatemala City has been providing professional, business English training to local Guatemalan companies for the past nine years.

We provide Business English training to our valued clients. We are working together with our clients to achieve the common goal of overall business excellence in profitability and substance in economic growth. We are dedicated to helping our clients achieve their goals in personal development, career, business objectives, and International Business.

Our goal is to help employees communicate fluently in English and to use the language effectively in a working environment and in everyday life.

Website
www.IBA.gt
Founded
2005
Headquarters

United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Rob
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience in Guatemala, and with this internship, has been great. I have really gained an understanding and appreciation how an international business in Guatemala operates and how they view potential growth. International Business Academy (IBA) really takes pride in providing the resources necessary for their employees to grow and allows them to pursue projects based their own relevant interests. For example, I have always been interested in finance and I have had the opportunity to sit with the owner and implement a new cash flow program to help the company make better financial decisions.
Another beneficial aspect has been the professional development training I have received. This training has taught me some great strategies and methods for task prioritization, goal setting, project management, and other beneficial skills that I will use throughout my working career.
Outside of the office, Guatemala has a lot to offer. The natural beauty of Guatemala is absolutely incredible and their are some amazing trips you can plan (I am very excited to be traversing through rivers in the caves in Lanquin this weekend!). I strongly recommend that anyone who comes to really visit all that Guatemala has to offer.

What would you improve about this program?
If I were to improve this program, I think I would include an orientation program to help interns get acclimated with travelling in Guatemala. While the staff have been extremely helpful with any questions I have had and have helped me to organize and plan trips around Guatemala, I think a quick orientation going over some of the travel resources (such as which buses to use, phone numbers for taxi drivers) would have been extremely helpful.
Default avatar
Sarah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Many people ask me how I ended up in Guat and to be honest, it was because I was a recent graduate with no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I am so glad I made the decision on the whim to come here.

Working at the International Business Academy has been an absolutely rewarding experience. On a day to day basis, I see the impact I am making on our clients and the community of Guatemala. I have gained immeasurable experience and this is definitely an experience I will never forget.

Not only has the work been rewarding but I've had the opportunity to travel which has been great. I never realized how much Guatemala had to offer with its beauty and immense culture.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

Alumni interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Sarah Leib

Sarah Leib, 22, is a recent graduate from Butler University who studied International Business and Spanish. Shortly after graduation, she wasn't having the best luck in the job market because she wasn't exactly sure where to go with her bachelor's degree. It was until she stumbled upon an opportunity to intern in Guatemala for six months, from September 2014 to March 2015. Although Sarah is a Chicago girl at heart, her passion for traveling wouldn't keep her in there for too long.
kite festival

How has this experience impacted your future?

Sarah: Coming to Guatemala has by far been one of the best decisions I have made. A lot of people really questioned my decision to go to Guatemala but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I have gained invaluable experience working as an intern at the International Business Academy.

Here, I am not treated as “just an intern”. I’ve been given real responsibilities, I get asked my opinion about how things should be done, and I really take an active role in the business. This is a job that I do look forward to going to work the next day. Overall, I’d definitely recommend this program to people. I am truly valued here and I know I have impacted others during my time here.

Did you forget to pack something important? Did you feel as if you were missing something?

Sarah: When I packed my two HUGE duffles for my six months in Guatemala, I was being a bit naive about the weather. I figured, “Well, it’s Guatemala. It can’t be THAT cold.” Well I was wrong. It wasn’t until November/December that it began to get cold.

bridge

I truly wasn’t anticipating it to be cold here, so I wasn’t fully prepared (clothes wise) for the weather. Although it’s not considered very cold, Guatemala, along with other Latin American countries, they don’t have heat throughout houses. It’s funny though because in reality it’s not actually that cold, especially compared to Chicago.

When I would complain about the cold, people would always ask me, “Aren’t you from Chicago?!” Guatemalans would make fun of me for thinking this is cold compared to Chicago. So I do wish I had brought some heavier sweatshirts, another pair of sweatpants, and a warmer jacket.

Do you think your program changed you as a person?

Sarah: Coming to Guatemala has definitely changed me as a person. I’ve been able to appreciate my life and how fortunate I am to have family that loves me, a roof over my head, and food on the table. Life abroad can be very different (depending on where you go).

As an American, I know we Americans sometimes take advantage of some of the simplest things that we have in life. Some of these things include hot water, clean water, security, and government organization. Spending time abroad has truly opened my eyes about how fortunate I am to have all of the aforementioned things. I believe that I truly am a better person when I am not living in America.

Describe your favorite must-have food that you tried abroad.

antigua view

Sarah: Guatemalan food is so good! I have had the chance to try almost all of the typical Guatemalan foods. A typical meal is eggs, black beans, and plantains served with tortillas. You can find tortillas or tamales served with almost all meals. Although this typical meal is very basic, it has truly grown on me.

Also, surprisingly plantains and beans together taste amazing! By far, one of my favorite foods from Guatemala is something called a Rellenitos, which are fried pockets of deliciousness filled with plantains and black beans. They are typically served with sugar on top. This is definitely a must have in Guatemala and something I definitely will miss!

Another thing to try are called Shukos, which are basically hot dogs. But instead of hotdogs, you can get chorizo or sausage with it. But what’s best about it is the bread served with all the different kind of dressings on top!

Staff Interviews

Staff interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Elise Lasko

Job Title
U.S. Sales and Recruiting Manager
Elise is the U.S. Sales and Recruiting Manager for the International Business Academy. She is an International Business and Spanish graduate from the College of Charleston (South Carolina). In 2011, Elise moved to Honduras where she worked in the development of the Microfinance Brigades program for Global Brigades, a university student led, health and development organization. Throughout the last four years, she has become an advocate for Central America and has taken on various roles collaborating with students and professionals to come to Honduras and now Guatemala to work in development and internship programs.
woman posting on Temple IV pyramid Tikal National Park Guatemala

What position do you hold at International Business Academy? What has been your career path so far?

Elise: I am currently the U.S. Sales and Recruiting Manager. I have been very lucky that my career path has naturally evolved since college. In the fall of 2010, prior to graduating from college, my heart was already set on moving to Honduras to work for the non-profit Global Brigades in their microfinance program.

Luckily, I had the opportunity to spend my Spring Break in Honduras and return to work for Global Brigades for two years following graduation. I unexpectedly fell in love with a Guatemalan and moved to Guatemala in July 2013.

It took me nearly a year of working and exploring the job market in Guatemala until I stumbled upon the International Business Academy. I was expecting to be interviewed to teach English, but I fell into creating the IBA’s first Professional Training and Development Internship Program and my role in the company.

What country have you always wanted to visit?

woman smiling at machu picchu

Elise: I have spent a lot of time in Latin America but never been to Europe. I have always wanted to visit Italy as I come from Italian roots. Everything about the country fascinates me, the food; the people; the history; and beautiful landscapes.

Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?

Elise: Throughout college, I was determined to become fluent in Spanish. Over the last six years of studying and living in Central America, Spanish has become essential to my everyday life.

For me, learning the local language is key to understanding the culture of a country. There are so many words and expressions that have evolved as a result of history and cultural norms of the country.

Learning Spanish has definitely helped me to adapt to living abroad and to connect on a deeper level with people, particularly in Honduras and now Guatemala.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Elise: During my first year in Guatemala, I had gotten away from my passion that I studied in college, business. I spent some time teaching at a preschool, which never felt right to me. I felt rejuvenated and back into my groove once I started working at IBA.

Since May, I have reaffirmed my strengths in project development, where I can use my creative ability to come up with new ideas for the program and even my own personal ventures.

IBA has helped me to understand more about business in Guatemala and also provided me with connections and learning opportunities I would not have had otherwise.

two women smiling in the coffee growing community of Zurzular Honduras

What unique qualities does your company possess?

Elise: IBA is much more than a language academy. Our main focus is teaching business English, but along with that comes providing professional development services.

What we really do is consult clients in how to use their English skills in the business world to help them become more successful, such as getting their next big promotion.

We have a very close-knit staff that is fun to work with. The internship program has been integrated very well into the company culture where interns become much more than “interns’; they utilize and build upon their skills and strengths to become part of IBA.