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?
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.
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.