In early January 2013, approximately 20 students will begin studying about Belize, learning about the country, its history, its culture and its people. Belize is a developing country, and UC students will learn that the health issues facing Belizeans differ from those facing Americans. As they are learning about health needs in Belize, groups of students also will identify specific health issues they would like to address and will begin developing projects to implement when they visit the country later in the semester.
For eight days during spring break, students will travel to Belize for their international experience. They will stay in camps when visiting rural areas and in hotels when they visit cities. They will meet with schools, health clinics and health agencies to discuss health issues, and there, they will present and implement their projects.
Upon their return, students and faculty will spend the final weeks of the semester reflecting on the visit, collecting data from the projects and evaluating and measuring their successes and challenges.
Professor of Health Promotion and Education, Brad Wilson, applied for funding from the Provost’s Office to pursue creating this class. Recently, he returned from Belize where he met with representatives from health clinics and agencies, public schools and universities as well as department of health and government officials. Abigail McKay, dean of Nursing, Allied Health and Social Work at the University of Belize facilitated Wilson’s visits and meetings. McKay and Wilson met 16 years ago when they both were Kellogg International Fellows in Community Development. When Wilson contemplated creating a course abroad, he called McKay and suggested a partnership. She enthusiastically agreed and set the wheels in motion.
When asked, “Why Belize?” Wilson responded that Belize is “…close by, not too far too travel. There will be a good mix of rural and urban experiences for the students. English is the official language. And most importantly, Belize is very multi-cultural.” Wilson indicated that the Belizean population comprises Mayans, Africans, Europeans and multiracial groups such as Mestizos, Kriols and Garifuna.
Wilson says there will be recreation time for students as well, learning about and experiencing Belize’s diverse environment – coasts, mountains and rainforests -- and its wildlife
"Health Education in Belize" is open to all UC undergraduate and graduate students. For additional information on this exciting opportunity, contact Brad Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-556-3862.