Washburn’s International House provides students with a chance to study abroad and may be one of the most important experiences in any student’s academic career. However, the dazzling amount of available options could make the decision harder for Ichabods to choose.
This 15 day experience is a unique opportunity for Washburn students to explore the diverse culture of Belize City while providing volunteer service among the sites. The seventh annual trip will be held over winter break, which will transport Ichabods from the cold winds of Kansas to the warm, tropical climate of Central America.
Being formerly known as British Honduras, Belize’s national language is English. For the past six years Washburn students have been learning about Belizian culture in its entirety without a barrier of a foreign language. Students have also been contributing to local orphanages and island schools through needed volunteer services.
Rebecca Shelton, a sophomore majoring in Criminal Justice with two minors in Leadership and Sociology, has chosen Belize as a study abroad site.
“This experience has made a big impact in my own personal life,” said Shelton. “It made me look at the world in a different way.”
Washburn students get fully immersed into Belizean lifestyle through an ongoing interaction with locals.
“During this program we got to go to a children’s orphanage in Belize City, it was the best part, yet the hardest,” said Shelton. “We donated goods to them, played games and had fun.”
In addition, students research and gain knowledge about unique perspectives of history, economy, religion and art of Belize. Ichabods visit a myriad of places including the Mayan ruins, Bacab Eco-Park, the Caribbean Island of Caye Caulker and even participate in a three day Belizean International Symposium on Education.
Another unique feature of the trip is that it is planned for Washburn students to have time to have fun in addition to volunteer and academic work.
Dr. Judith Lynne McConnell-Farmer, founder and director of the program said that activities the students may partake in include cave tubing, zip lining through the rain forest, swimming in the ocean, sunbathing on the beach, riding in a water taxi boat, snorkeling, kayaking, riding bikes and renting a golf cart to ride around on the island.
The program is available to all undergraduate and graduate students who have completed at least their first semester and are in good standing at Washburn University.
In order to gain eligibility for participation in a program, students are required to enroll in either ED 474 for undergraduate or ED 674 for graduate students through Washburn in the fall. Both classes count for 3 credit hours with a maximum number of 18 students coming on the study abroad trip.