BHSU News & Events

BHSU students share experience of spring break trip to Guatemala

 
 The Alternative Spring Break team of eight students and two advisors will discuss their trip and the life-changing experiences they had in Guatemala during a presentation Friday, April 11 in the Trump Room of the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union.

During their week in Guatemala, a group of Black Hills State University students taught English, art and physical education at a local elementary school, worked with indigenous weavers at their homes, served the country’s elders and worked with a local spoon maker group.

The BHSU Alternative Spring Break team of eight students and two advisors will discuss their trip and the life-changing experiences they had in Guatemala during a presentation Friday, April 11 in the Trump Room of the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union. There will be two presentations the first is at noon and the second will follow at 12:30 p.m.

Mary Mitchell, elementary education major from Eagle Butte, said the trip was an amazing experience that gave her a broader perspective of the world.

“In seeing how they live made me take a step back and really appreciate everything I have. They have so little, yet they are so thankful,” Mitchell said. She met one woman that said something Mitchell will keep with her forever. “She said, ‘Smiles and time spent mean so much more than all the money in the world.’ That really hit home for me because I’m always thinking I need the latest items, when in all reality the people around me and happiness are true treasures.”

 
 Mary Mitchell, elementary education major from Eagle Butte, learns the art of weaving. The BHSU Alternative Spring Break group recently returned from a week volunteering in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala.

Michelle Cole, residential education coordinator and one of the advisors for the trip, said Alternative Spring Breaks give students an opportunity to challenge and change their worldviews. “Many of the students who went had never been out of the country before,” she said. “There is no doubt they learned a lot about the culture and the differences between our countries. I truly hope their experience on this trip provided each of them personal growth and development.”

The students volunteered with Sharing the Dream, a nonprofit organization that promotes fair trade and community sustainability, in Santiago Atitlan.

Mitchell said one of the most surprising things she discovered is how important coffee is in the daily lives of Guatemalans. “The babies even drink coffee….it’s like us giving our babies milk.”

One of the most memorable parts of the trip for Mitchell was working with the children. “I speak little, to no, Spanish, but I couldn’t tell there was a language barrier. We would play, hug, and tease each other, and I never really realized that we weren’t talking because our gestures were so much louder than any language barrier. This really reinstated my love for children and my desire to be a teacher.”

Cole said Friday’s presentation will give faculty, staff and community supporters an opportunity to see how their support made a difference and allowed the students to partake in the life-changing experience.

For more information contact Michelle Cole, residential education coordinator, at Michelle.Cole@BHSU.edu.


Actions: E-mail | Permalink |

BHSU In the News

Black Hills State University faculty, staff, and students are transforming lives and making headlines with their achievements. See what BHSU is in the news for lately. Email CampusCurrents@bhsu.edu or call 605.642.6215 to share your news item.