The IE CIG course provides surprising opportunities to acquire new skills, even for a seasoned guide with many years’ experience.

One of the most difficult challenges for a senior tour guide is to acquire new methologies. When you have developed a way of leading a group of tourists, interpreting a phenomenon or explaining something your clients have asked you, you – as an expert of the destination, the culture and the area – feel that if you have received very good feedback from your clients over the past ten or 20 years as a profesional guide, that there cannot be a better method.

That’s basically what happened to me. I spent 30 years guiding in the wilderness, in urban and rural areas, with local communities, and was always open to improvements – particularly if they came from the guests. I felt I was in a state of constant renovation and was open to making improvements.

However, something different happened when I attended the Interpret Europe Certified Interpretive Guide (CIG) course. For the first time in my career I have the sensation of a complete rewiring of my own method. A process I feel I‘m still in the middle of: still discovering new ways to interact with the guests, where the interpretation process is individual, where every person, depending on their individual background, will experience a completely different analysis, and we know where it starts (on the tour) but not where (or even when) it will finish.

In addition, in my particular case as a college professor, in Duoc UC I started to implement the IE method with my students of Tourism & Hospitality in the subject Guiding & Customer Service, and I have to say that it has been very meaningful for them and for me. It was a bit shocking for my students at the beginning (which is also how I felt at the start of the CIG  course) because they have had to unlearn to relearn, but being learners as they are, the process has been much easier considering that everything is new for them. And for me, because during the explanation step by step, class by class, I discover more details to implement and to consider in future excursions, and every time one of my students asks me to explain something they didn’t understand, it helps it to become even more clear to me. By clarifying doubts, by creating new examples, by giving ideas of ways of elaboration of storytellings, I’ve been feeling how nourishing the process is.

To sum up, for my enterpreneurship EduScience Expeditions, I did a trial tour in an urban park named San Cristóbal for a group of 9-year-old kids. It was a complete success! It’s amazing to guide children because they are so open to learn, so curious about everything and so full of amazing questions that I have to say having attended the IE course is the best decision I’ve ever taken.

Ximena Velásquez, from Santiago, Chile, is a college professor teaching Tourism & Hospitality. Ximena also has many years’ experience as a tour guide in the local area. She can be contacted at: [email protected].

To cite this article: VelásquezXimena (2023) ‘Unlearn to relearn ‘in Interpret Europe Newsletter 3-2023, pg. 11.
Available online:  https://interpret-europe.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/PDF-Newsletter-2023_3-autumn.pdf