Belize: Building Education, Expanding Awareness

“I learned more than I could have imagined from the entire experience. Being immersed in such a foreign culture opened my eyes to a whole world that I distantly knew existed, and I now can directly reference my experiences in Belize and use them to better myself in my everyday life.”

Destination: La Democracia, Belize

Trip Organizers: Megan Maher ’17 ([email protected]) & Benjamin Lamb ([email protected])

The Experience

This Break Out Trip brought participants beyond the touristic borders of the cruise line ships into the lives of people in the village of St. Matthews, Belize. In this underdeveloped village, students worked at St. Matthews Government School and tiled an entire classroom floor to eliminate some of the harmful conditions of the prior concrete, dusty floor. They also painted sidewalk games for the children, as well as picked up litter that surrounded the school. Perhaps the highlight for many was building relationships with the children – students assisted the teachers in their classes of 30+ students and then played sports and talked with the children during recess. Beyond community service work in the school, students also embraced the educational and fun experiences of Belize itself with a trip to the Belize Zoo, a canoe trip down the Sibun River, a trip to the Mayan ruin of Xunantunich, and debriefing time each night to share their experiences with each other.

Participant Quotes

  • “The trip far exceeded any expectations I had. I learned a lot about the developing world and how we can best help people in those countries.  I also learned more about myself and the group of students I was with.”
  • “Our work we did in the school has taught me how to appreciate all that we have here in the United States.  Even though we were teaching the students in the school, they still taught me so much about the importance of a positive attitude and stressing less about the unimportant details that are so easy to get caught up in at Williams.”
  • “I have a new perspective on what is important in life.  I realize now how trivial many of my problems are and I will focus on not worrying about the little things too much.  My perspective on service work has changed and I want to pursue more opportunities in the future.  I also have a new perspective on my fellow classmates on the trip.”
  • “The trip gave me a lot to think about, especially regarding education and what it means to really just be human and love each other, no matter who you are and where you come from.”