Belize Business Service Learning Project
You will choose one of two tracks: entrepreneurial or job skills. We will work with the Orange Walk Institute of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ITVET). ITVET opened its doors in March of 2006, and has grown into a prominent center for vocational instruction. The school offers training in mechanical engineering, masonry, carpentry, electrical work, English language, mathematics, technical drawing and information technology. We will create a curriculum that covers business plan creation, goal setting and presentation skills. We will work with 30-40 ITVET students, helping to train and facilitate entrepreneurship discussions and a student presentation to the Belize Youth Business Trust. The curriculum will include at least four hours of instruction each day.
Day Trips/Activities: Lamanai Archaeological Site/River Tour; Banquitas House of Culture
Accommodations are at the Hotel Del Fuente in Orange Walk
Food for Thought
- Don’t expect things to be like they are here; you’re going to a new country for a reason so appreciate the diversity in culture, customs and way of life
- Culture shock is normal and will pass
- Think about stereotypes about Americans. What you do will dispel or reinforce these attitudes when you go abroad. You are an ambassador for your school and country at all times, and people will judge you based on your behavior.
- Keep your parents updated on how you are doing and if you are experience culture shock, assure them it will pass so they don’t worry for a prolonged amount of time
- Observe local rules, be courteous and respectful and realize that things will not work the way you think they should. Most other countries are more formal in their interpersonal communication that in the U.S.
- Take the initiative to interact with the locals instead of sticking with your U.S. friends only.
- The Golden Rule: Respect and Sensitivity
- Please and Thank Yous
- Quiet conversations
- Don’t block doorways and passages (especially with a large group)
- No littering
- Always clean up after yourself
- Belize currency is fixed at a rate: 2 Belize dollars = 1 US dollar
- You can use US dollars to pay for things in Belize (although it's hard to get change when using large bills of any currency in Belize).
- Belizeans do not accept US coins (quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies) and all change will be given in Belize dollars.
- There are several banks in Orange Walk and you can use ATMs to take out Belizean money (if you use Bank of America, you can avoid fees by using Scotia Bank ATMs).
- Several larger stores will accept credit cards (mainly Visa and MasterCard) with minimum purchase limits, but they are often not accepted among smaller vendors.
- Money – If foreign currency, you should exchange some money at your local U.S. bank before you leave. That way you can avoid excessive rates at the airport. The cheapest way to withdraw money is using the ATM in the country. Call your bank before going to notify them that you are traveling outside of the U.S. because they will sometimes be suspicious of out-of-country transactions and might freeze your account. Travelers checks are not as popular anymore and most places accept credit cards. The best rates and prices are usually given when paying with cash.
- Recommended to buy pre-paid calling card that works with calls from Belize to US
- When traveling, leave a detailed itinerary with your resident director, advisor, parent or responsible party. This will be useful if something happens and you need to be found.
- Have a photocopy of all important documents (passport, traveler’s checks, credit cards, prescriptions) in case these items are lost or stolen.
- Make sure that your designated emergency contact information is completed on the “Student Portal”.
- Register your travel plans with the U.S. Department of State before you go! Your Information will be available to embassy personnel in country if you were to be in need of their assistance.
Study Abroad Office contact
- SAO Emergency Line (24 hours): 512-669-8488
- SAO Front Desk (8AM to 5PM, US Central Time): 512-471-6490
email@example.com (answered 24/7 by SAO staff)
Helpful travel information from McCombs International Programs
Helpful Travel and Resource Links
Here are the websites that Dr. Miser recommended we visit:
Media, news, shopping, weather: http://www.belizemall.com/
Hotel : http://www.hoteldelafuente.com/
Travel health: http://www.healthyhorns.utexas.edu/travel/index.html