A Bridge to Belize 2014



As the Experiential Learning Program Manager at the University of Baltimore, I sometimes find myself thinking how odd it is that I now spend most of my days wearing a button down shirt, dress pants, and sometimes a tie and/or jacket in order to work in an office and attend meetings. It is a far cry from my days of wearing short pants, boots, and a t-shirt and taking students out to the Chandler Gilbert Community College Environmental Technology Center to learn about sustainability and environmental ethics. I think that is why this year the Bridge to Belize study abroad tended to take on more of a personal meaning. I felt back at home working with my Belizean friends to teach students about sustainability and cultural diversity by exploring caves, climbing ruins, visiting gardens and snorkeling coral reefs. It was exciting to watch University of Baltimore students experiencing a number of firsts while studying in Belize. A first trip to Central America, horseback ride through the rainforest, snorkeling at Laughing Bird Caye, and so on. Opportunities that served as prefect trigger mechanisms to better understand the theoretical concepts such as being a responsible traveller, respecting other cultures and the importance of ecological preservation. I have written qualitative research papers demonstrating the transformational process of experiential learning, although the actual experience of observing students getting excited about active learning is so much more rewarding. It was nice getting out of the office…


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