PCC Contingent Studies Abroad in Belize
WINTERVILLE—A group of Pitt Community College students, faculty and staff traveled to Central America last month as part of a study abroad program in the coastal nation of Belize.
Nine students, along with English instructor Tabitha Miller and International Programs and Services Coordinator Andre Gregory, explored the Belizean countryside from May 6-19 to learn about the nation’s cultures and traditions. Through lectures provided by faculty from the University of Belize that were coordinated by the Institute for Sustainable International Studies, the group also gained insight into the Maya and Garifuna people.
According to Miller, the PCC contingent stayed at Midas Resort in San Ignacio for most of the trip and took tours of the Belize Botanical Gardens, Blue Hole, the Maya Women’s Co-op in San Antonio, and the ancient Xunantunich and Cahal Pech Mayan ruins.
Miller said that throughout their visit, students interacted with many of the local people, including artists and major political figures. The last few days of the trip, she said, were spent seaside in Hopkins Village.
In their downtime, Miller said students tried their hand at river tubing, canoeing on the Macal River, and snorkeling in South Water Caye.
But, as Miller noted, the trip wasn’t all fun and games, as the group members also traveled to San Jose Succotz Village on multiple days to carry out service learning projects.
Student Amy Travagiakis was one of several group members who endured extremely hot and humid conditions to help locals develop a garden at San Jose Succtoz School.
“We put in a lot of hard work in the blistering heat,” she said. “Even though it was hot, it was spectacular to see the end product. It was very rewarding to know that the work we did will benefit the school and the community.”
Travagiakis, who received an associate in arts degree in May and will now study English Education at East Carolina University this fall, said her Belize experience was both “amazing” and enlightening.
"Going to Belize has now made me more aware of the problems in the world,” she said. “It has made me more determined to help others in and out of (America).
“I hope to travel abroad again to do more service learning.”
Students interested in the Belize Study Abroad Program for 2013 can contact Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.