APPLYING EARLY IS STRONGLY ADVISED
This unique program is an international service-learning project for six (6) credit hours in Belize during Summer Session I. University of Arkansas faculty project leaders will co-teach on campus for one week and prepare student teams as they prepare and implement service learning projects during the summer in the community of Dangriga, a city of about 10,000 on the Caribbean coast. The implementation of projects will take place during a three-week travel period immediately following the one week course. That period of time requires intensive commitment from students to work diligently and with an open mind toward cultural awareness as they work side by side with community members to implement projects in their discipline. The expectations are high, but the reward is a deep understanding of the challenges of working in a developing country, an amazing cultural immersion, and the experience of leadership and accomplishment as students work creatively to overcome unexpected roadblocks in their work.
*Priority Deadline: December 1, 2016
**Regular Deadline: February 1, 2017
*Program may fill before regular deadline; therefore, early application is advised
**Post-priority applicants will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the regular deadline
Prior to departure, students will be expected to do readings that the faculty have compiled regarding development from each of their disciplines. Students will then be asked to write about those readings to ensure their academic preparation. That allows us to spend the one week class here in Fayetteville preparing to apply students’ knowledge, implement their projects, learn about the projects across disciplines and brainstorm about how they can contribute from the perspective of their discipline.
The faculty are with students from 7am through dinner every day of the program. Their role is to work with students as guides and resources while allowing the students to take leadership over their projects. The faculty’s role is to facilitate the students’ educational experience as they turn successes and frustrations into teaching moments, with respect to their academic discipline, cultural awareness and personal growth. It is not their role to plan and lead the projects as that would detract from students learning.
Projects are currently being planned for Business, Education, Engineering, Public Health, and Social Work. The projects are open to students from all majors who are looking for elective credits in the humanities.
The trip is led by a team of faculty members from across the University of Arkansas, with the faculty coordinator being Professor Amy Farmer, from the Walton College of Business economics department.
Belize abounds with ecological treasures, from the second largest barrier reef in the world to intricate cave systems and waterfalls in pristine tropical forests. Culturally and linguistically, the city is a fascinating mixture of Creoles, Mestizos, and Mayans, though it is dominated by the Garifunas, a Caribbean people descended from African slaves and indigenous groups, with English being the official language.
Despite its cultural and ecological resources, Belize is burdened by a large foreign debt and expanding trade deficit, the effects of which can be seen in a lack of financial resources for education, health, and social services. Widespread poverty is a natural result. Since 1994, Peacework has provided services to Belizean schools, support for literacy and education programs, and resources for increasing access to affordable health care.
Dangriga and the surrounding Stann Creek District is the site of a Peacework Village Network pilot program with the University of Arkansas where a remarkable variety of education, social services, health care, agricultural, engineering, and other projects are underway.
Similar partnerships and tremendous service opportunities exist with schools, orphanages, social services, and others throughout the country from Placencia in the south to Corozal in the north.
Excerpt Courtesy of Peacework
Program Duration: 1 week on-campus + 3 weeks in-country
Transcript Issued By: University of Arkansas
Credit Hours: Six (6) credit hours
Courses: Offered at the Undergraduate and Graduate levels
||SPECIAL TOPICS IN BUSINESS: BELIZE PROJECT (3-6 credits)
||SPECIAL TOPICS: BUSINESS SERVICE PROJECT IN BELIZE (3-6 credits)
||ELEMENTARY SEMINAR (3 credits)
||CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION: FIELD STUDIES IN BELIZE (3 credits)
||SPECIAL TOPICS: COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: BELIZE (3 credits)
||CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION: FIELD STUDIES IN BELIZE (3 credits)
|Public Health Project
||SPECIAL TOPICS: COMMUNITY HEALTH IN BELIZE (3-6 credits)
||HNRS SPECIAL TOPICS: COMMUNITY HEALTH IN BELIZE (3-6 credits)
||GLOBAL HEALTH (3-6 credits)
||HONORS GLOBAL HEALTH (3-6 credits)
|Social Work Project
||SPECIAL TOPICS: APPLYING SCWK INTERNATIONALLY (6 credits)
All projects will be open to students of all majors. Take a look at the project overviews below to learn more about which project you want to apply for!
AGRICULTURE & NUTRITION PROJECT OVERVIEW
(Not offered Summer 2017) This project in Belize is designed to improve nutritional, personal, social and economic well-being of community members. The community projects are intended to be sustainable, with the community members continuing the initiated activities and building on it, after the students have left Belize. Students will interact with community agencies and members, and utilize course assignments to meet the goals and objectives of the course.
The projects of the business team are varied and can change significantly from year to year. The items listed below are samples of past projects and are indicative of the kinds of things students might do. In fact, project ideas often come from previous students. While in Belize, we ask our students to identify needs, be creative and take leadership roles.
Microfinance Lending |
Students create and/or analyze business plans for Belize small businesses that request loans from our service learning project. Students decide whether to grant the loan and, if the loan is approved, they write a contract specifying the loan amount, interest rate, and repayment terms. Past projects include loans to a local restaurant, a youth hostel, and a granola producer.
Human Resources Training |
Students provide Dangriga city employees with customer service skills through workshops that include role playing and other interactive activities.
Business Planning |
Students assist (small) businesses and other organizations with business planning. In 2012 the business team assisted a women’s vinegar cooperative with organizational plans and strategies. They also strategized with a national park to prioritize revenue-producing activities to help the park become more sustainable.
Business and Economic Literacy |
Students go into the primary and middle school class rooms to teach children basic economic and business concepts. Students create lesson plans and activities for the children. Teaching typically occurs two to three days per week several hours each day, and students are assigned to classrooms in pairs.
Women's Cooperative Support |
Students work with POWA, a local women's cooperative, to support their vision to manufacture products and use the revenues to improve the lives of Belizean families. In previous years, students helped POWA produce healthy juice packs for school children as an alternative to the sugared beverages the children typically drink. They also assembled a cookbook with local recipes.
EDUCATION PROJECT OVERVIEW
Literacy projects in Belize designed to improve educational and literacy experiences for students, teachers, and educational entities. Project participants will engage in the pre-assessment of students' literacy abilities, design lessons to address their needs, and implement learning methodologies. Students will also have the opportunity to work alongside and observe teachers in the Belize community therefore gaining insight into the similarities and differences in educational practices. Students will interact with community agencies and members, and utilize course assignments to meet the goals and objectives of the course.
ENGINEERING PROJECT OVERVIEW:
The team will work with local groups to design and build projects such as: pedestrian bridge, small community drinking water filtration system (2012), aquaponics system (2014), swine bio-gas system (2014-15), stream gaging station (2015). Other projects have included evaluation of beach erosion at Dangriga (2014) and a watershed management plan (2014). For an inside peak, watch this video
to see the aquaponics system made by the summer 2014 team.
HEALTH PROJECT OVERVIEW: The pre-professional health clinical experiences may include a combination of hospital and healthcare clinic visits/observations and interviews, lectures from local healthcare professionals, global health concepts application and projects, assessment and projects related to the healthcare needs in the community, and other opportunities as available. Students participating in this program will be engaging directly with community partners ranging from Ministry of Health officials and healthcare professionals to women's groups and local related organizations. Participants will be working with partners toward their goals, helping to build capacity, and assisting in their important work within the community. For an inside peak, watch this video made by the summer 2014 Public Health team.
Public Health Initiative | Projects for this group will strengthen students' ability to understand and interpret the determinants of human health, as well as aspects of chronic and infectious disease prevention. Students broaden and deepen their skills in critical and comparative thinking through participation in community-based needs assessment, while gaining practical skills in targeted program planning and implementation, and field-based research methods and analysis. Potential projects, consistent with World Health Organization and Millennium Development Goals, include environmental health/sanitation, pre-natal and infant health, sexual health, HIV/AIDS education, women's empowerment, and handwashing education.
SOCIAL WORK PROJECT OVERVIEW: Students will work in a variety of community settings with a diverse group of community members to assist with community development projects. Community settings may include: primary schools, community health clinics, and/or vocational training facilities. Community members include children, youth, teachers, health care professionals, volunteers, and community leaders. Lastly, projects may include: teaching life-skills to elementary school children; creating after-school programs for at-risk children; and conducting outreach to community members of all ages on such topics as personal hygiene, HIV and AIDs, domestic violence, substance abuse, conflict resolution, parenting skills, self-esteem, national identity and cohesion, leadership development, coping with grief and loss, and empowerment skills.
Students will stay in two different local hotels: Chaleanor and Pal's Guest House. They are in the heart of Dangriga, allowing students to walk around town to their work sites. We have stayed in each of these places previously. (some rooms have air-conditioning, but most do not). Rooms are typically 2-3 students per room.
For most meals, local women will be cooking large meals for the group dinners. Vegetarian options will be available.
The program will take place in Dangriga, Belize, a community of about 10,000 inhabitants. Some of the projects will travel to local villages or work in the National Park, but the majority of work takes place in town. One weekend the students will travel to Caye Caulker and another weekend students will travel to San Ignacio. Both have a very local, but different culture so students will have an opportunity to experience different sides of the Belizean culture and economy
Complete a minimum of 24 credit hours* by the beginning of the program abroad
Possess a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or better at the time of application
Display an academic record demonstrating maturity
*Students who have completed less than 24 credit hours may be admissible upon recommendation of faculty leader with support of the dean of the sponsoring college.
This service learning programs requires participants to undergo background checks. Be aware that failure to submit the proper documents may result in your inability to participate in the service learning study abroad program. Background checks must be cleared prior to the start of the service learning activity. (If you are approved to participate, your study abroad advisor will provide you with more information regarding this process).
Applications will open in late-September for the following Summer term.
Once applications open, click the "Apply Now" button at the top of the page to begin.
If you don't yet have your passport, don't worry! You do not need a physical copy of your passport in order to apply for the program. However, if you don't already have a passport, please be proactive and begin your passport application as soon as possible.
Click here for estimated the budget worksheet; prices and dates confirmed by January.
*Airfare is not included in the program fee, but group round trip airfare will be arranged to Belize City with bus transportation to Dangriga. Details will be provided in the spring semester.
Financial aid and scholarships are available to U of A students.
In many cases, you can also use your current scholarships and financial aid to help finance your program. If you receive scholarships, grants, or loans as a U of A student, please contact your Financial Aid Advisor in Silas Hunt Hall (479-575-3806) to see how much of your current aid package you’ll be able to utilize towards this summer study abroad program or to apply for loans. Criteria for scholarships vary, and students should read eligibility requirements carefully.
U of A students should check out additional funding opportunities on our website.
For assistance with the application process, costs, travel arrangements, etc., contact the Office of Study Abroad:
Office of Study Abroad & International Exchange
University of Arkansas
722 West Maple Street
Fayetteville, AR 72701
For additional information about courses or program content, contact appropriate faculty:
Check out our quick info sheet to see what former students have said about their cultural experiences, out of pocket expenses and budgeting, packing, and technology abroad!
Belize CommDev_info sheet.pdf
"It gives you real hands on experience with working with people. You get to experience a new culture. It teaches you more in 3 weeks than you could learn in a whole semester. It makes you grow as a person."
"They say that the world is a book and those that do not travel only read one page. I got to see incredible things, learn about engineering design, and get to know faculty on a more personal level. I knew I would gain knowledge, experience, and better understanding from myself by going abroad."
INDEPENDENT STUDENT BLOGS & VIDEOS
Sarah Campbell, summer 2015 business project
Tyler Platt, summer 2015 business project
Roshni Patel, summer 2014 public health project
Watch this video to see for yourself what Global Community Development in Belize is all about! Special thanks to Hannah Birch, summer 2013 for creating it.