Though they’d been preparing in discipline areas for weeks for their service projects, this meeting was more about what to pack, what to expect when traveling and what to know about life in Belize before they departed for the March 14 to 21 trip.

“I’m really excited because this is my first time out of the country,” said Shelby Culver, a junior nursing major. “I just wanted to take this great opportunity to participate and be involved.”

Culver is one of 32 students participating in the ISLP trip to Belize this year. During their final March 3 meeting, the students spent the first half of their time grouped by discipline and the second half participating in a question and answer session, getting answers from the program’s alumni.

While in Belize, students will maintain a blog with updates about their experiences and the knowledge they’ve accumulated on their journey:

While ISLP has visited several countries over the years, Belize is the original and the longest running service trip. ISLP sets itself apart from other study abroad opportunities by the intense focus on community service.

While in the Belize, the students will staff a dental and nursing clinic as well as work in two primary schools and one high school within the community. They will be assisted by certified instructors in Belize and gain real world experience.

“You learn all kinds of things you never thought you would,” said ISLP faculty Joy Hart, communications professor. “There are differences in cultures but there are deep similarities in people.”

Trip participants come from across the university to participate in one of four discipline areas: communication, nursing, dental and law.  

This is the first year law has been a discipline. Susan Duncan, dean of the Brandeis School of Law, said she’s excited to be going on this year’s trip as well as the opportunity it provides her students.

“I think the appeal to interdisciplinary studies is great for the students, you need a global experience to practice law,” Duncan said.