Belize: Communication Sciences & Disorders Program:
This two-week program is based in the Central American country of Belize and is intended for undergraduate and graduate students ages 18 and up who are interested in pursuing a career in speech-language pathology (speech therapy), audiology or a related field. This is an ideal program for students who want to take advantage of learning from professional American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) accredited speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and Therapy Abroad staff in order to learn more about this remarkable field of study. Students will gain hands-on experience rarely found in the classroom, professional observation hours, one-on-one time with SLPs and other professionals, intercultural exchange, a better understanding of global issues, and a chance to help children with special needs and their families.
Belize is well known for its beaches, eco-lodges, and jungles rich with Mayan ruins. Belize is also the only Central American country with English as its official language, which makes it the perfect place to dive into an overseas learning adventure in communication disorders. Students on this program will have the opportunity to snorkel turquoise waters, go cave tubing & zip lining through tropical forest, explore coastal villages, and Mayan ruins, and indulge in mouth-watering local cuisine. Belize is a tropical paradise steeped in history, mythology and beauty. Students on this program will have the opportunity to experience a little of everything that Belize has to offer. In addition, students will work with schools and other community partners to help Belize meet a huge demand for speech and language services.
Your group will work with government organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private clinics and charitable organizations to bring services to children throughout the country. Focusing on grassroots community based outreach, students will work directly with ASHA licensed SLPs and other professionals including physical therapists (PTs), occupational therapists (OTs), social workers (SWs) and medical doctors (MDs) in small groups, learning about speech & language disorders, feeding, swallowing disorders, behavior modification, disabilities, and special needs in multicultural environments with speakers of English as a second language. Working directly with school aged children, students gain invaluable hands-on experience through fun play based activities. Students will also be observing evaluations, conducting field based speech & language screens, developing and implementing intervention plans and learning through planned discussions.
There are no prerequisites for this program, and students from any department or major may apply. Spaces for this program are limited and fill up quickly. All applications will be individually evaluated on a rolling basis. Students on this program will primarily be working with children, so all applicants should be comfortable working with children and be creative and flexible to get the most out of their experience.
- July 24 - August 5
- August 7 - August 19
- January 1 - January 13
- April 9 - April 15
- April 18 - April 24
- May 7 - May 19
- May 21 - June 2
2020 -2021 Winter Program Dates (Now Accepting Applications)
The goals and priorities of this program are determined by working directly with the government, local communities, schools, NGOs, charities, and hospitals. Therapy Abroad students and staff provide essential services such as speech & language screenings, evaluations, and intervention. Students and staff will also take part in a communications learning camp for children with special needs designed around skill-based stations (learning centers)-speaking/listening/learning/ sensory/fine & gross motor skills. Each day students will have group discussion as well as one on one time with SLPs and other professionals. Learn more about our communications learning camp from an article recently featured in the California Speech-Hearing Association (CSHA) magazine, “Ahoy Undergrads! International Speech-Language Therapy.” As part of our collaboration with local organizations, students will also take part in home-based field visits. This is an incredibly unique, culturally rich and important part of the learning experience for all of our students. You will visit children with special needs in their own homes, as part of a small interdisciplinary team consisting of SLPs, social workers and medical doctors.
Your team will work with children and parents focusing on speech & language, swallowing disorders and special education. You will learn, observe, share ideas and work on developing critical observation skills in a home environment. Time will also be set aside to learn new concepts, practice skills and learn about Belizean culture and history. In addition, students will gain hands-on and observational experience working in a variety of settings, leadership experience as well as insight and discussion on applying to graduate schools and career opportunities as an SLP. Many aspects of the program will be inherently spontaneous and based on the individual skills, background and interest of our students, creating what we believe to be the best type of deep learning experience.
We design all of our programs with our students in mind and we know that observation is a great way to learn more about speech-language pathology (speech therapy) and audiology. Because you will be completing observation hours with an ASHA licensed SLP on all of our programs, these hours may also count towards clinical competencies for students planning to pursue graduate education in speech-language pathology. Please check with your school or department to find out more information. We would also be happy to provide your undergraduate advisor or a specific professor with information. Simply provide us with their contact information or have them email us directly to request information.
Most Therapy Abroad students chose to fly on one of our organized group flights and will be joined by at least one Therapy Abroad staff member to help you through international check in and departure process. On arrival day (Monday), all students will be greeted by additional staff at Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) and from there you will be driven by private bus to your accommodation. After checking into your rooms, students will have a home cooked dinner and then attend a short orientation and safety briefing. All Therapy Abroad accommodations offer a beautiful, safe and comfortable setting for all of our students and staff and an excellent staging point for our entry into the nearby community. Through our partnership with local communities we hope that Therapy Abroad students will not only gain a deeper understanding of communication sciences and disorders, but also a deeper insight into the unique ecological and cultural landscape of this amazing country. Monday through Friday will consist of organizing and running our communications learning camp, providing speech & language screens at local schools, visiting and working with other private practice and charitable organizations, group discussions and other fun group activities as listed in the program details section above. Over the weekends, the group will experience the best of Belize with included trips to the Xuantunich Mayan Archaeological Site, cave tubing, jungle zip lining, visits to local markets and a full weekend at the beach
You will stay in basic western style accommodation with communal areas to relax, meeting areas for group discussion, and plenty of beautiful outdoor spaces to explore with fellow students. Every day students will have access to Wifi, fresh drinking water, western style toilets and showers, laundry services and most importantly, plenty of hammocks to kick back in a soak up the natural beauty all around. Meals will be home cooked Belizean and Western cuisine consisting of rice and beans, chicken, fish, pasta, and other meats along with fresh vegetables and fruits. We have a 100% guarantee that you will have plenty of amazing food! We can cater to specific dietary needs as long as you let us know ahead of time. In addition to Belize’s many scenic charms, the warmth and hospitality of the people and culture will make every adventure a pleasure.
Students with Therapy Abroad will find out that we pack a lot of activities into a two week program, but we will also make sure you have down time to relax, write in your journal, use the internet, talk to our staff and explore. Our Staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. If you have any questions about any opportunities not listed in our program, want to try some new food a friend has told you about or just try something different, then let us know any time before or during your program and we will do our best to make it happen.
Benefits for Students Who Participate in this Program Include
$3,950 USD not including international airfare. Airfare from the Continental US is estimated at $550. Therapy Abroad will organize group flights from Houston International Airport (IAH) as soon as airfares have been published.
We know that travel and study abroad is a big investment and our promise to you is that we will work hard every day to make sure you are going to have the most amazing experience, best staff, tastiest meals, an excellent itinerary full of the best activities and the meaningful hands-on experience that you are expecting. With the exception of international airfare, our trips are all-inclusive. We won’t try to upsell you on any “additional activities” or “additional optional activities” that are advertised as part of the program. Your tuition covers: All activities. All materials. All meals. All housing. Everything. We want all of our students to arrive and participate fully in every activity and every learning experience without ever thinking about how much money they are going to spend.