WITC students bring technology skills to Guatemala

May 24, 2012

From wdio.com: “WITC students bring technology skills to Guatemala” — It’s a different country and a different culture, but the need for technology is the same. A school of about 70 students in Guatemala only had a few computers that weren’t exactly up to snuff, “Most of them were around ten years old. The computers were very infected with viruses,” recent WITC graduate Jacob Koval said.

So every morning for ten days, the tech savvy students fixed them up. They also donated twelve laptops, “It was a way for me to take the skills I just learned and actually put them into a real world application,” recent WITC graduate Carl Haughn said.

But their itinerary had room for fun too. During lunch, the five students took a break to see the sights, and play a few pick-up games of soccer with locals. Roles reversed in the afternoon. Students became teachers, demonstrating computer and software skills to staff. As they worked to close the digital divide, they also had to overcome a language barrier.

“We had already kind of figured out what to say to get them to do what we wanted to do when giving the lessons,” Haughn said.

And they were completely immersed, living with spanish-speaking host families, “It’s always ‘buenos dias’,  or ‘buenos tardes’, they’re all very friendly,” Haughn said.

Students said it was a once in a lifetime experience, “I really enjoyed being able to use my skills to help other people out. That’s half the reason I wanted to do this program, I like helping people out,” Koval said.

And the people in Guatemala appreciated the help, and the company, “In addition to helping them with the computers, just interacting with people from somewhere else, I think they really enjoyed it,” WITC IT Network Specialist Instructor Paul Gordon said.

The students graduated just before the trip. Some are now looking for IT careers while others are looking to continue their education.

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