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Belize: Women’s Health and Spirituality – A Cross-Cultural Exploration

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Course Location:
Program Dates:
Winter Session 2017-18
HLTH 145/ WGST 196 - 3 Credits
Jeanne Kaczka-Valliere
The program fee is $2,130. Airfare is additional. Tuition is included in your spring course load, unless you register for more than 18 credits. Students are responsible for obtaining the appropriate vaccinations, including any associated costs. At the time you are admitted, you will be required to submit a $500 non-refundable deposit.
The course is primarily for undergraduates. Graduates can enroll with permission from the instructor. An application and interview is required. Contact the instructor for an application. This course accepts 11 students.

To explore the complex bio/psycho/social/spiritual impact of health, illness, and health care facing woman daily, the goal of the course is to compare and contrast young women’s health and influence of spirituality and other factors between the USA and Belize. Furthermore, the goal is to increase the student’s understanding of these influences in their own lives, as well as others.

Description: Belize is small tropical country, located in Central America nestled between Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea. Belize is an English speaking country with rich culture and diverse population including: Mestizo, Creole, Garifuna, Maya, East Indian, Mennonites, & Chinese.

Arrive in Belize City and travel to the mountain city of St. Ignacio ( 2nd largest city). St Ignacio is near several Mayan ruins, a Mennonite settlement, 2 rivers, jungle and much more. Check out this website.

Immerse yourself in the culture, life and healing aspects of the culture of Belize. For 14 days you have an opportunity to learn from healers, psychiatrist, doctor & nurses, drug & alcohol counselor, teachers, social workers; these will augment the rich depth and cultural exploration. Mornings and several evenings are spent in experiential and didactic course presentations and seminars. You explore the implications of these diverse perspectives on the life of women in Belize and how culture and spiritual beliefs may impact all women.

While we are in San Ignacio we will visit local Mayan ruins, medicinal/botanical jungle gardens, attend religious gatherings, meet with a local Mayan healer, go to a Mennonite village, explore the Belize zoo, enjoy local foods & culture, have the opportunity to explore the town, nature and wild life, share our experiences with each other and residents of this beautiful country.

The last 7 days we will spend in Dangriga, a Garifuna town (south of Belize City, on the Caribbean Sea). We will continue with classes here, as well as, enjoy homemade Garifuna meals, meet with a Garifuna healer, visit a Garifuna temple& a Garifuna museum, meet with a priest, HIV positive women and more. We will try snorkeling off the 2nd largest coral reef in the world, enjoying the town, beaches, and warm ocean waters while you reflect on your 2 weeks experience.