It has been three years since Daniel Shelley, professor of education, began taking elementary education students to Belize for an international experience.
Belize, a commonwealth of Great Britain, is the only English- speaking country in central America.
“I visited Belize several times, and I went into the university and talked to educational professors,” said Shelley, who originally planned to go to Aruba, but hesitated because the country’s main language is Dutch. In addition, there is only one international school in Aruba.
Shelley wanted his students to have an international experience.
“We were basically going to check Belmopan Elementary School,” recounted Shelley. The school was recommended by his colleges in the University of Belize.
After chatting with the principal of Belmopan Elementary school, Robert Morris University (RMU) students were allowed to teach in the school. After the first tryout, the principal was pleased with how well the program worked and welcomed the idea of having RMU students visit each may.
The class, ELED461, is a three-credit course that gives students an elementary education field experience. The students have three optional field experiences for this class.
The fields experiences are the surrounding schools of Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia inner cities or Belize.
“I like that [Belize] is not very populated,” attests Shelley. “They are very open and friendly to Americans.”
The students also get a chance to learn about the Myan culture by visiting the two Myan ruins. They also get a chance to enjoy the beach along the coast, and go to the zoo and water cave.
For the near future, Shelley hopes to have students from Belize come to RMU.