BLOOMSBURG— Two Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania students attended the annual Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Honors trip abroad this summer.
Each participating PASSHE University honors program selected two students to enroll in the program. Chosen to represent Bloomsburg University were Joshua Lloyd (Muncy, Pa.), a junior majoring in Spanish and interpersonal communications, and Laura Josuweit (Shickshinny, Pa.), a junior majoring in mathematics and computer science.
Mansfield University political science professors Jeff Bosworth and Jonathan Rothermel organized this year’s trip abroad to Belize. Bosworth and Rothermel accompanied the honors group from May 29 to June 12.
Students prepared for the trip at Mansfield University where they completed several days of academic study on the history, politics, economics and culture of Belize. During their time in Belize, the students completed a field research study where they interviewed both local and professional Belizean people.
Belize, population 380,000, is what the United States classifies as an impoverished country. “Being in Belize was a much-needed wake-up call for me,” says Lloyd. “Belize has made some strides with the resources and assets it has, and the United States can learn some important lessons from the way the Belizeans approach work, family, and life in general.”
Throughout the time on the trip, the students were able to gain a worldly perspective, and gain insight on biodiversity, history, and democracy. Josuweit says, “The main thing I took away from this trip is that people from other countries may have cultural differences, but we are all just people and not that different once you get to know each other.”
In addition to having an academically enriching experience, Josuweit and Lloyd had the opportunity to explore several Mayan sites. “Every single day we are out doing things,” says Josuweit. “We went caving in the ATM Cave where we saw ancient Mayan artifacts and scarified skeletons. We went on a snorkeling trip to the coral reef, visited a sugar factory, and had a night tour of the Belize Zoo, to name a few.”
Besides gaining a more worldly perspective and learn about the culture of Belize, Josuweit and Lloyd had the opportunity to meet 22 other PASSHE students from all over the state. “It was nice to meet other honors students from all over the state—I feel like I have so many more connections now,” says Josuweit.
Also, Mansfield Professors Linda Kennedy (geosciences) and Lilace Guignard (outdoor recreation) assisted and shared their expertise with the students during the trip.
Josuweit and Lloyd will be graduating from BU in May 2019, but both found this opportunity to explore beneficial for their future career endeavors. “After I graduate, I am hoping to pursue a career in foreign service, travel writing or at a study abroad organization,” says Lloyd. “Through this trip, I was able to practice my Spanish language skills and learn about Belize’s young, but growing democratic form of government. My trip to Belize has furthered my desire to complete a master’s degree in Spanish and interpersonal communications, as well as a minor in Arabic language and culture.”
BU’s Honors Program provides unique educational opportunities and experiences for academically talented students. This program challenges students to aspire to high academic standards and to achieve more professionally and personally. Students conduct independent research in their major, become part of a community of ambitious scholars, and have the opportunity to explore the world through the Honors Program.
For more information on BU’s Honors Program and see photos from the trip, visit their website at www.bloomu.edu/honors
Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 9,600 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.