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Public Health in Belize Alternative Spring Break Trip
Projects Abroad volunteer teacher and her students Projects Abroad volunteer teacher and her students

Public Health in Belize Alternative Spring Break Trip

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

My public health volunteer trip In Belize!

Hi there! My name is Denise and I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. I am a Public Health major and have always aspired to travel abroad to do volunteer work, and I came across Projects Abroad online and saw that their volunteer opportunities and work absolutely aligned with what I wanted to do, as well as my academic schedule. Therefore, on March 2018, on my spring break, I flew to San Pedro, Belize, in order to partake upon Public Health volunteer work.

When I arrived in Belize City, I took another plane which brought me to the tiny beach town of San Pedro. The plane minuscule plane flew over the Caribbean Sea and the view was absolutely spectacular! I was immediately picked up by one of the volunteer coordinators upon my arrival and brought to a local restaurant where I was introduced to the other volunteers. Later on in the day, we had our house induction where we met our host family who accommodated for our stay though out the week. My house family was so generous and kind. They prepared us breakfast every morning, as well as dinner if we did decide to eat at home. The house had all the utilities we needed - a modest bedroom with a comfortable bed, and a bathroom with clean running water. I will never forget the discussions we had with our "host mom" about the culture in Belize, the economic status of the people, and the history behind the diverse population of the country! We were very much immersed into the culture and I certainly felt like I was a citizen of the country.

The most exciting part about my journey in Belize was the amount of community work that I was able to do through Projects Abroad. We conducted mobile clinics all throughout the town, namely the town hall, the district of San Mateo, and Central Park. We called upon random people and would encourage them to take part in the mobile clinic by getting their blood pressure, blood sugar, and BMIs measured. So many people were willing to do so, as access to a hospital is quite difficult since San Pedro doesn't have one. Instead, they have a polyclinic. Once we encounter abnormal vital signs, or measurements, we write them referrals and raise their awareness in regards to healthier lifestyles. We then proceed to input the information we collected into the Ministry of Health database, which allows Belize healthcare to have the most accurate information they could receive about their patients.

I also enjoyed visiting local schools because I personally love interacting with youth, as their enthusiasm is always rewarding to see. One of the first schools we visited was a primary school, where me and my fellow volunteers conducted lice checks on the students. However, in order to make a more lasting impact, we created an educational interactive activity focused upon combatting the stigma about lice. The fact that the kids were willing to take part in the activities and learn from us, was a feeling greater than no other. We also visited San Pedro High School towards the end of the week where we gave a presentation about college access and the importance of obtaining higher education. In the beginning of our presentation, it seemed as if only half of the students were willing to go to college. However, after the presentation, more students raised their hands after being asked as to whether or not they are willing to continue their education beyond high school!

My time in Belize was nothing short of inspiring. Our volunteer coordinators always ensured that we were safe, and were available whenever we needed them. Our public health supervisor, Diomne, stayed with us through all of our assignments and gave us advice and encouragement throughout the way! We came to her for anything, whether it's information about a restaurant, ideas about what to do for our presentations, or details about how to get to a particular location. I felt so at home in Belize because of our the helpful staff, our kind host family, my down-to-earth fellow volunteers, and most importantly, the people. If you're wondering about what organization to volunteer with, and where to go, I HIGHLY SUGGEST volunteering with Projects in San Pedro! It will be an experience you'll remember forever.

  • Projects Abroad responded to this review May 18, 2018 at 3:54 PM

    Dear Denise. It sounds like you had a wonderful time in Belize! It is amazing how much you can learn in so little time about a foreign culture - and about yourself and the role you want to have in the world. I am sure you helped inspire many young students and hopefully this whole experienced inspired you as well to keep helping those in need. Thank you for sharing!

Institution Affiliates:

The International Volunteer Programs Association