WHAT is the Alterna Fellowship?
The Alterna Fellowship is a multi-dimensional program that will give you a renowned edge in your career trajectory and a seat at the frontline of social innovation. Through a comprehensive, hands-on experience with an organization that is pioneering the social entrepreneurship and impact investment sector, Alterna fellows gain the critical skills, contextual insights and connection to a global network to advance their careers and catalyze impact.

"The bridge between your aspirations and their realization."

WHO do we look for?
The Fellowship program is for top young professionals that seek to accelerate a meaningful career and become global agents of change. We look for the highest-quality talent amongst rising professionals driven by authentic values and a can-do attitude with a demonstrated balance of professional excellence, drive, and empathy. We look for the following in applicants to the Fellowship Program:
  • Early-stage professionals (ideally 2-7 years of experience) with a track record of academic and/or professional excellence
  • Passion and commitment to fostering positive social change
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment and manage complexity
  • Humility, empathy and cultural sensitivity
  • Resilience and spirit in the face of a challenge
  • A sense of humor and contagious energy
  • Technical, professional, and language skills vary by position (see position description details)
HOW does the Fellowship work?
The Fellowship is an 8-12 month, 360-degree program that provides a comprehensive professional and personal development experience. Centered on the pillars of engagement, immersion and discovery, key program components include:


Receive one-on-one mentorship with a leading actor in the ecosystem, individually matched based on Fellow’s needs and professional aspirations


Immerse yourself in the vibrancy of Guatemalan culture from the bustling capital of the highlands and Guatemala’s second-largest city, Quetzaltenango


Plug in to Alterna’s global network of impact leaders and participate in noteworthy sector events

Insight series

Participate in a series of in-depth sessions with local experts and sector leaders who offer unique expertise and insights


Join a diverse community of high-performing, impact-focused young professionals and the international Alterna tribe


Dive into a structured and dynamic Fellowship track tailored to the Fellow’s experience and interests. Tracks grant ownership of real-world engagements that address pressing social and environmental problems and while providing an opportunity to work closely with Alterna leadership to maximize the organization’s impact and drive professional development
Applications for the upcoming cohort will open in May 2018.The selection process for this program is rigorous and highly competitive. Once applications open, we encourage you to apply early. Here is a general timeline of the 2018 process:
Applications open:
21 May 2018
Applications close:
21 May 2018
Skype Interviews:
June and July 2018
Start of Fellowship:
6 August 2018
Frequently asked questions
1Does Alterna provide scholarships or funding?
Alterna Fellowships are self-funded by the fellow. In select cases, depending on the profile of the applicant, Alterna can provide a small stipend to cover living costs. Note that each Fellow’s investment in this program is an investment in local entrepreneurs and the advance of the ecosystem, ensuring the delivery of the highest quality attention and resources. With the average international startup failure rate at over 80%, this investment from fellows often makes the difference for the entrepreneur and leads to a more fulfilling experience for both. The program also serves as an invaluable long-term career investment. The average monthly cost of that each fellow incurs in Xela is approximately $450 - $500 USD.
2Were will I be based?
Alterna Fellows are based in Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala, the second largest city in Guatemala and the bustling capital of the highlands. Our headquarters are in the historic Zona 1, with easy access to local markets, restaurants and Parque Central. Note that you may be asked to travel to different regions of Guatemala for various projects. Xela is ideal for expats: the city reflects a perfect mix of local and international experiences, providing full immersion in Guatemala as a truly authentic city, in addition to offering a strong international community and opportunities.
3Is Spanish proficiency a requirement?
Spanish working proficiency is a requirement, although exceptions can be made in select cases based on the position requirements (see position descriptions for details). Please note that Spanish is the primary language of the Alterna office and is generally needed to communicate with clients and partners.
4What kind of support does Alterna provide?
With an acceptance of a Fellowship offer, Alterna helps to coordinate your living arrangement and provides the full immersion experience—tailored to each fellow, we help to coordinate your arrival, cohort training and orientation, Spanish language support, etc. accordingly. Alterna staff members will also be available to you at all times before and during your experience.
Guatemala is the ideal test ground for global solutions to pressing social and environmental issues. Although Latin America has one of the highest rates of entrepreneurship, most regional enterprises are born out of necessity rather than innovation and opportunity. Nevertheless, the role of entrepreneurs is increasingly fundamental. The local impact ecosystem is relatively young in comparison to other regions across the world, but moving quickly: there is an increasingly strong pipeline of dynamic and inclusive social enterprises and an increasingly strong impact investment culture for small businesses in their early stages of growth. These characteristics that converge in Guatemala make the region an ideal platform to generate and experiment with innovative social and environmental solutions that can be applied worldwide.
6WHY Alterna?
The Fellowship is a vehicle to accelerate your career in the impact sector and beyond. By joining Alterna, Fellows gain unparalleled exposure to initiatives that are breaking boundaries and defining the social entrepreneurship and impact investment sector in a rapidly developing region. The multi-dimensional, hands-on program gives Fellows to powerful professional boost in their career trajectories, enabled by the fact the Fellows will:

  • Join the pioneer organization of the impact sector in Central America
  • Advance a diverse professional skill set and generate a lasting impact on Alterna and on the ecosystem through ownership of high-impact projects that are core to the organization’s strategic trajectory and to the advancement of the sector
  • Gain hands-on experience in a developing context and the Latin American entrepreneurship ecosystem, granting first-hand insights on systematic complexities and best practices in social innovation
  • Connect with a network of over ~1,000+ regional social entrepreneurs and a wide-reaching network of global impact leaders, presenting invaluable opportunities for professional connections and opportunities
  • Work in an exciting, multicultural setting with the international, passionate, and fun-loving tribe of Alterna
  • Seize a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live the rich history, culture, and reality of Guatemala, the heart of the Mayan civilization and Central America’s most diverse country, with extraordinary access to captivating landscapes, adventures, and cultural experiences