There is no shortage of research-backed literature on the value of experiential learning for college students throughout the world. According to Kolb’s research on Experiential Learning Theory, “Learning by doing, or “experiential learning,” is, in its foundation, interdisciplinary and constructivist”. Not to mention, key experiential learning takeaways include an increased appreciation for diversity, cross-cultural empathy, and community-centered solution making.
A pillar of our mission at Hillside is to provide experiential learning for both locals and internationals working and/or studying within the field of health. We host students and professionals in public health, physical therapy, pharmacy, and medicine, from all over the world. This makes for a culturally and geographically diverse experience between the students and the Toledo District community Every year we receive over 200 volunteers and students, who spend 4-5 weeks in rotations, working on local health and education projects, and learning the ins and outs of providing quality healthcare here in Belize.
Students often describe it as a transformative experience, and most leave with a longing to return as a volunteer after they graduate, including our past volunteer Rea K., who sent us an appreciation for her experience, “I volunteered as a PA and university professor working with a dedicated group of students and staff– superior educational opportunity!” -Rea K.