Global Studies faculty-led trip to Belize

Photo Credit: Students and faculty in Belize
Thu, 04/21/2016 - 00:00

Belize is a small Central American country nested between Mexico and Guatemala.  It is rich in history and culture and is an ideal place to introduce students to the benefits of international education and global perspective.  This spring break (March 19-26, 2016) fourteen UNL students had an opportunity to travel to Belize on a special program funded by Education Abroad Office.  The program was specifically designed to introduce first year students who have never been abroad and who come from underrepresented groups to the benefits of international education.  

The students who attended the study trip came from a range of programs and department across campus.  The trip was created, organized, and led by Dr. Emira Ibrahimpasic (Global Studies Coordinator/Advisor) and Dr. Radha Balasubramanian (Director of Global Studies). 
Students spent the week traveling and visiting numerous archaeological, cultural, and historical sites around Belize.  In addition to visiting numerous Mayan sites such as Cahal Pech, Xunantunich, and Lamanai, the students had an opportunity to learn from local experts on topics such as development, colonial history, and race relations.  One of the participants, Lizeth Fraire (Freshman), said "I was in awe at the fact that these people were so advanced that they built these temples that have stood the test of time and it is even more unbelievable is that there are hundreds more that are still yet to be discovered." They also visited a traditional Mayan village and spoke with members of a women's cooperative aimed at improving women's lives by helping them become economically independent and express themselves and their cultural heritage through their creations.

Students came back transformed by this experience and most plan to take another trip abroad while at UNL. Trevor DiMauro sentiments echo many of his peers when he said "In the end, this Belize trip was a major life changing experience for me. I now look differently at how I am living and how I view the United States."