Have you ever thought about going to another country to have a life-changing experience or to learn and experience another culture? Now the chance has come for you to do so with ABAC’s Study Abroad Program.
ABAC’s study abroad offers two trips during the week of spring break, one to India and the other to Belize. During the summer, a group will visit Nicaragua.
The cost of the trips to India and Nicaragua will be around $2,000 to $2,200. The cost of the trip to Belize is about $2,400. This price includes airfare, meals and lodging.
The trip to India is organized by professional photographer D.K. Bhaskar and ABAC journalism professor Dr. Thomas Grant. Bhaskar has taken seven groups to India. During these trips, he creates an opportunity to think about education, health care and entrepreneurship.
Bhaskar never takes a group to the same place. Last year, ABAC students raised money to give the children of Pragpur Village shoes.
This year, they will be visiting a mahout village in Southern India. A mahout is a person who works and tends to an elephant for almost his whole life — in other words, a lifelong elephant keeper.
In case you didn’t know, elephants are an endangered species and in India alone there are about 6,000 captive elephants, but only around 3,000 mahouts. Therefore about half of the captive elephant population in India receives inadequate care.
Students will be able to see what it takes to be a mahout, what the community is like and how the elephants touch the heart of everyone as they interact with them. Students will also get to experience the psychology of the people who want to live with these large land mammals.
Also if you are interested, Professor Grant is looking for students to help him create a documentary about the elephants and the mahout village.
The trip to Belize will also be during spring break. Belize is the only English speaking country in Latin America. Almost half of Belize City is afloat on the river. Because of this, all the waste and trash of people’s home goes into the river, causing it to be very dirty. However, the Mangrove forest found in Belize cleanses the water before it flows out and reaches the coral reef.
During this trip, students will be able to visit the Mayan ruins, zip line through the forest, snorkel in San Pedro Island, swim with sharks and sting rays, swim to the world’s second largest coral reef, get to see the work of the Mangrove forest, and get field experience hours from working in Belizean Schools.
If students take both EDUC 2120 and SCIE 1005/L online, they will be able to get seven credit hours for the Belize trip. They will be required to keep a journal for Environmental Science and for EDUC 2101, students will conduct an investigation on the different cultural groups in Belize. Every evening there will be a 20-minute meeting to touch base. After the trip, students will be required to give a presentation on what the learned.
A physical will be required for this trip because of the strenuous physical activities. A nonrefundable fee of $700 dollars is due by Nov. 7, $1,000 is due on Dec. 6, and the final deposit of $735 will be due on Jan. 15.
The Nicaraguan trip will be a 10-day trip between summer and fall terms. Students can get three credit hours. One thing that students will be able to do during this trip is go on an excursion in an active volcano.
During this trip, students will be able to learn about cultural agreements, and the positives and negatives of all health care systems. Students will also be able to get a better understanding of poverty and different living conditions of rural life.
Devin Gibbs, a former student of ABAC, has been to both Nicaragua and India. She feels that both trips changed her life and heart completely. She said she also “realized how close-minded people are in America.” For Gibbs, the trip to Nicaragua was her first trip out of the country and in which she was “constantly learning” and “constantly growing.”
During her trip to India, Gibbs was able connect with the children in the schools and even met a great friend there. She said she was surprised to meet someone in India who she shared similarities with since they lived in opposite sides of the world.
If you are truly interested in studying abroad, don’t procrastinate because the number of people who can go is limited. The maximum amount of students who can go to India is six. The maximum that can go to Belize is fifteen to sixteen. Also make sure to have you passport and visa ready early because those can take up to six weeks to get ready.
Studying abroad is an opportunity to grow academically and it’s also an opportunity to learn and appreciate other cultures from around the world. You will be able to experience a different language, culture, landscape, and be able to understand local dynamics.
If you are considering this opportunity but the price is holding you back, don’t lose hope. Organizers are planning fundraisers to help you pay for some of the cost.
Like Gibbs, you may find a friend who you can connect with really easily and bring back a lifelong friendship. You could also come back being more appreciative of all the things we take for granted here in America. As Gibbs said, don’t miss the chance to go on a life changing