The trip kicked off with a great group of people excited to board our plane from Halifax to Newark. Upon arrival to the airport, we discovered our flight was cancelled due to weather conditions. Go figure, Nova Scotia weather is so predictable eh? That did not stop us from being positive as we embraced the change and ended up on our way to Houston Texas, yeehaw!
When we landed in Belize City of course, my luggage was nowhere to be found. Lost luggage did not get me down, I thought it would make a good story in the end so all I could do was laugh! We experienced an interesting 5 hour bus ride as we got to know each other pretty quickly while we were crammed into a van like a bunch of marshmallows, it was awesome. Once we got to PG we jumped into our work full force. Half of the group went to Hillside Health Centre to shadow professionals in their field of study, while the other half travelled to the local schools in the community to teach about health and hygiene. Each group spent a week in the community schools, as well as a week at the Hillside Health Centre. My experience in local schools was amazing. I was so excited to incorporate my field of study (Therapeutic Recreation) into the education sessions with the children. I was able to bring forward some recreation activities to help demonstrate proper hand washing techniques in a fun way. I facilitated activities involving paints, basketballs and games. I learned a lot about methods used in Belize in regards to hygiene, sanitation practices, as well as the education system. Working at Hillside Health Centre provided me the opportunity to shadow medical students, and work closely with Physiotherapy students and faculty. I gained exposure to a variety of populations across a range of settings. I was fortunate to experience visiting patients in their homes and I was able to assess the patient in their environment and use resources available to within their home.
As a student, I am thrilled that during this service learning experience, we worked in both clinical and community based settings. I feel this combination helped to expand our exposure and knowledge regarding the methods and systems used here in Belize. I feel that through this experience I have grown both personally and professionally. In doing so I have improved my ability to be adaptable, effective communication skills, as well as being culturally competent. This experience will last a lifetime, as I will apply what I have learned to future experiences throughout my life. I have met many amazing people here in Belize, and everyone is so friendly and inviting. There is a true sense of community here in Punta Gorda, and I recommend everyone to experience it for themselves. I love PG!
This experience has been unbelizable!
Therapeutic Recreation Student
NSCC, Waterfront Campus