Southern students take advantage of study abroad program

Among many of the study abroad opportunities at Missouri Southern is the chance for education majors to travel to San Ignacio, Belize, to work on their student teaching in the community’s school system.

Dr. Clara Cozens, assistant teacher education professor, and four education majors will be traveling to Belize on Nov. 3 and will return four weeks later on Dec. 1.

“This is a great experience for these students because they will be able to be in a different culture setting,” Cozens said. “We’re very isolated here and you don’t get to see or experience a lot.”

San Ignacio is a mostly English speaking community.

Cozens’ role on their adventure to Belize will as their student teaching supervisor. She will observe the students while they present their lessons to their classes.  

She also hopes to work with and attend workshops with some of the teachers there in the community. 

To prepare for the trip, Cozens and her husband traveled there in August. They scoped out where they would be staying, things they could do in Belize and what kind of environment they would be working in. 

“It was just a beautiful, very unusual country with a lot of different people in it,” Cozens said. “We were surprised at how diverse it was there, but their customs aren’t so different from ours.”

The students will be in walking distance of everywhere they will need to go. 

The elementary school where three of the students will be working  is across the street from where they will staying, and the high school where one of the students will be working at on the same street. 

“The guest house we’ll be staying at is in the middle of town,” Cozens said. “It’s very secure and safe. It’s really a neat set up.” 

Sara Adcock, English education major, will attend the trip to work at the area’s high school. 

“I would like to get my masters in teaching English as a second language,” Adcock said. “I wouldn’t be opposed to working a few years in a different country or working here with foreigners.”

Adcock is looking forward to having an active role in the classroom while doing her student teaching in Belize. 

“For the first few days I think we’ll just be observing, but eventually we will take over the classroom and teach our own lessons everyday,” Adcock said.

The students plan to participate in tourist activities on the weekends such as going to the beach, hiking and even visiting a sacrificial ruins cave.

“It’s definitely the experience of a lifetime and I’m really looking forward to it,” Adcock said.