Four students from the Nova Scotia Community College will be travelling with tourism instructor Adam Rumsey to Belize in May. Pictured from left are: Rachel Smith, Chantelle Pidgeon, Jordan Rutledge, Rumsey and Ellen Best. ADAM MACINNIS – THE NEWS
From basking on the beach underneath a Belize sun, to ziplining through the rainforest, four tourism students are about to enter a whole new classroom environment.
The group from the Nova Scotia Community College Pictou Campus in Stellarton as well as other students from around the province will be making the trip from May 9 to 24.
While there they will get to take in all the local tourism attractions, visit a jaguar preserve and even stay a night in a Mayan home.
“Yeah, we’re going to come back tired and sore and dirty and stinky, but we’re going to be in a country for two full weeks – which is only a flash in the pan really,” said instructor Adam Rumsey, one of the leaders on the expedition. “In that two weeks we’re going to see as much of their tourism industry as possible. That’s the key. Yes there’s some down time and yes there’s some beach time, and there’s some great experiences, but the whole thing is to experience their tourism industry and bring those experiences home.”
Belize is a burgeoning tourism destination that is about to explode, Rumsey said, with many cool sites to take in. What this group hopes to focus on is the eco-tourism.
Chantelle Pidgeon can’t look at the itinerary without getting excited.
“From our accommodations to other attractions we’re going to see it all,” she said.
While she’s travelled some in Canada and the United States and once to Cuba, she’s never had an experience like this.
“I just want to experience everything I can and take full advantage of it,” she said.
Rachel Smith said she is looking forward to visiting a foreign country as well.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the eco-tourism and going farther than New York,” she said.
Two of her favourite items on the itinerary are visiting the Mayan ruins and the cocoa festival.
Ellen Best said she is excited about the ziplining and cave tubing, although she admits she is a bit nervous about what kind of insects they may encounter.
The students will receive course credit for the trip and have already spent the last few months studying about the country and its tourism. The cost of the trip is between $2,000 and $2,5000 per student, but they’ve held fundraisers to help cover the costs.
Rumsey has spent a fair bit of time in Central America in the past and said the most important thing he hopes to see happen is a cultural exchange.
“It’ll opens our eyes to a lot of things,” he said.