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International Tourism in Belize – Our trip to Belize is now over and we are all home resuming our everyday lives. The trip, however, was amazing. The weather was fantastic, the setting a little piece of paradise, the guides were warm and hospitable, the food, the culture, the activities…all were top-notch. And on top of all this, I learned so much…about another way of life, about myself, about this industry, and about the students with whom I shared this experience.

Belize is considered a third world country, with tourism as its number one economic driver. There are four main historic cultures there, and we experienced all of them through our guides: Creole, Garifuna, Mayan, and Mestizo. Our guides shared their peoples’ history with us, as well as information about their own lives: growing up, family and social life, economics and industry, as well as some of their traditions and beliefs.

On our last night on the Cays, we enjoyed traditional music and dancing of the Garifuna culture, and joined in the dancing. We visited two Mayan sites, the ruins at Xunantunich and Altun Ha, and learned about their ancient culture and beliefs. From a more personal perspective, this was not only a trip to Belize, but also a trip well outside my comfort zone. I learned to kayak (including wet exits and entries in chest-high water!), snorkel, stand-up paddleboard, and experienced zip lining in the jungle canopy. I had experienced none of these adventures before. I learned that I can do lots of things if I just decide to do it.

It was also very refreshing to see people with a passion for their country and sharing it with visitors; I now feel even more enthusiastic about my home and the experience that travelers visiting Nova Scotia have. One of the biggest things I learned, however, was what an amazing group of students NSCC soon-to-be grads are. If the rest of the 2017 graduating class is anything at all like the ten students I had the privilege of sharing these ten days with, the economy and future of Nova Scotia are in great hands.

They were energetic and intelligent, outgoing and caring, excited to learn and experience new things, and a tight-knit team who helped, supported and encouraged one another and their faculty to do new and sometimes scary things. They asked meaningful questions and made insightful observations and comments. As a member of faculty, I was proud of how these ten young people represented their program, their college, and their province in another part of the world. Thank you NSCC International for making this experience and this learning possible!

Michelle Amirault

Faculty, Tourism Management

NSCC Akerley Campus

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