I spent three weeks this summer in Belize with Global Leadership Adventures and even though I had spent the summer before in Guatemala, also with GLA, this trip was one of the most amazingly scary things I’ve ever done. Not only being without family but being surrounded with strangers in a whole new country is stressful to say the least, and as should be expected, had a slightly rocky beginning, with lost bags and awkward hellos, but once we reached the Tropical Education Center, which would be our home for the next three weeks, things settled down. We played a few “get to know you” games, nothing like the boring icebreakers I was used to from past summers, and got a tour of home base, and as we did this I started to get to know the other girls I was there with.
The food was always great at the TEC, they had wonderful gluten free options and always something without red meat for me.
Our first day at the school was easy, we split into groups and organized our classrooms, children occasionally stopping in to say hello, four little girls gathered by the fence that separated their yard from the school, telling us how excited they were for tomorrow.
When we did get to the school on our first day teaching, kids were there waiting for us, happy and willing to learn. The kids I taught all spoke very good english, some were better spellers than me. My fellow teachers and I made lesson plans every night after dinner, a quick job once you get it down, we also always had a few back up games incase the kids were especially energetic. We did have a few problems with fighting, teasing, and bullying, and the kids sometimes tried to sneak out when they thought we weren’t looking but all in all they were well behaved.
The day trips we went on we always interesting, though some more than others, I would have to say our trip to the ATM caves was my favorite, but that is only available on the three week program. On the last few days we took a trip to Caye Caulker, a two mile wide island just off the coast without cars, the locals having bicycles and tricked out golf carts instead. We stayed at a pretty nice hotel with AC right by the sea, explored the island, shopped a little, and spent the whole next day snorkeling from which I earned a nasty sunburn, but it was definitely worth the pain.
All in all it was a great trip with amazing mentors, the kids were hilarious, and the other girls on the trip with me were some of the sweetest, most down to earth people I’ve ever met.
If I were to suggest a summer program I wouldn’t hesitate to say this one.