Belize short-stay study abroad trip cancelled

By Jessica Hartling

Campus Life Assistant Editor

A change has occurred in short-stay study abroad trips for next spring: no courses are traveling to Belize.

Both the nursing and science departments have offered courses which have been short-stay study abroad trips to Belize in the past; however, this has changed for next semester. The nursing program’s trip to Belize was cancelled because of a lack of student interest, and the biology department decided to offer a new location to students.

Short-stay abroad trips are offered through different courses and programs on campus which allow for students to go abroad for a short period of time. The trips generally take place during Christmas break, spring break or shortly after spring semester ends.

The nursing program has a course in which final year nursing students have the opportunity to go to Belize for their last clinical rotation.

“The Belize experience would have enhanced my critical thinking abilities and problem-solving skills by overcoming barriers present when providing healthcare to a culturally diverse population,” Megan Blanchard, a senior nursing student from Marshfield, Wis, told Lumen.

However for this upcoming spring semester, the nursing trip to Belize has been cancelled. “I had been looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of the Belize clinical experience since I first heard about it my freshman year, so I was disappointed when I heard that it was no longer an option,” Blanchard said.

“All of our student short-stay study abroad trips have to have enough student interest to make the trip cost-neutral,” Barbara Gayle, vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of Graduate Studies, said via email. In order for a short-stay course to be offered, “10 or more students need to sign up and pay their deposit,” Gayle said. The nursing Belize course only had seven nursing students signed up for spring.

The plan is that the Belize course for nursing students will be offered again next spring. “Perhaps next year will be different, and 10 or more students will sign up. I certainly hope so” Gayle said.

Additionally, the biology department used to offer Ecology of Belize, a short-stay study abroad trip which took place over spring break every other year. This year the course is under a new name, Tropical Ecology and is headed to Costa Rica.

This ecology course is being taught by Michael Alferi, associate professor of biology, and Catherine Wright, a biology instructor. “If Tropical Ecology is as popular as we hope it will be, we wanted to give students a chance to go to Costa Rica one year and Belize the following time the course is offered,” Alferi said.

If enough students are interested in the Tropical Ecology course, they winll be going to Costa Rica during spring break 2013.

Multiple courses are being offered next semester which are short-stay study abroad trips. Their destinations include Costa Rica, El Salvador, Italy, and China. Recruiting for these courses is currently underway. Information about such courses can be obtained through flyers and contacting the course instructors.

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