Monday, March 30, 2015

Carson's Belize


My name is Carson Tilley and I’m a communications major at the University of Louisville.
I recently just got back from Belize. I chose to go to Belize with the International Service Learning Program.
I decided to spend my Spring Break in Belize because I wanted to do something different for Spring Break and wanted to make memories that I would never forget and this trip definitely did that for me!
When we first got there we did a few cultural activities that allowed the group and myself to really see and understand the country.  We first started out at the Lamanai Mayan Ruins where we learned facts about the Mayans, were able to climb ruins, and we were treated to a traditional Belizean meal.

The next day we visited South Water Caye, which was absolutely beautiful! South Water Caye is a 40-minute boat ride from Dangriga, Belize. It’s a beautiful private island where we snorkeled, kayaked, and had a blast!

After our two cultural days, we began our three service days. We taught at three different schools with children ranging from 5 to 15 and also did service at a dentistry and nursing clinic. Last year I went with the International Service Learning Program to Croatia so I thought I had plenty of experience going into a classroom with foreign children but there were so many differences! My advice for anybody thinking about doing any of the trips is to go in with an open mind because you WILL be surprised and things will catch you off guard (in a good way.) I had many challenges but they were all worth it in the end and ultimately I learned more from these children then they learned from me. I had an amazing time teaching.

I also helped out at the nursing and dentistry clinic one day. This was scary for me because I’ve never been fond of the medical field. Blood freaks me out! But I will admit, this was probably my favorite service day. I got to sit and watch the dentistry people work passionately on their patients and I also was able to sit in on a couple appointments with the nurses and see what it was like behind the scenes. I definitely have a newfound respect towards the medical field because I got to see how much work goes into being a nurse or dentist.

Sadly, our service days did have to come to an end but we were able to experience more Belizean culture!
We got to see traditional Garifuna dancers, learn about the U.S Embassy that is located in Belize, and we went to either the prison or to the Belize Zoo (where we fed a Jaguar named Junior!)

We finished off the trip playing volleyball, soaking up the last rays of sunshine, and laughing all night. The whole trip was fantastic and if you are thinking about doing this trip, have no hesitations. Fill out the application and go. You will not regret it, I promise.
Being able to explore a new country and do service is the best way I could have spent my spring break. I met amazing people, made unforgettable memories, and gained experience. Nothing could have prepared me for how great this experience would turn out to be!

Till next time,

(All pictures are mine or Erika Doll’s)

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