International Co-op in Belize – The greatest learning moment I experienced in Belize is gaining a new confidence in traveling. I enjoyed and conquered the ability to travel like the locals, to have real conversations with people, and gain knowledge, experiences and make meaningful observations. By traveling alone outside of my ‘home base’, I was never really alone. By not having the distraction and focus on other volunteers traveling alongside me, I was more welcoming to the conversations and help of the local people, thus making my experience more meaningful. I also learned that because I was alone, I wasn’t on anyone else’s time but my own, allowing me to ‘go with the flow’ and not have the stresses or agenda of others.
Related to my Early Childhood Education course, this experience has given me an outlook on how children in other cultures and environments are similar and different than the children I have previously worked with. Hands on experiences with the children I lived with gives me a better understanding of how the influences in their lives can negatively or positively affect them. I can relate every course in my two year studies to my experience in Belize, from Observing and Recording, to Special Needs, to Sociology etc. Not only has my experience at the Preschool and Orphanage helped make me a better Early Childhood Educator, but I also gained a new confidence.
I learned to listen and feel out the energy of every individual to know how to appropriately respond. I learned respect and understanding for other cultures and people. Most of all I learned more about myself, and what kind of person I know I want to be.
Early Childhood Education Student
NSCC Burridge Campus