During Mardi Gras break, nine Spring Hill College students and one faculty advisor traveled to Belize City, Belize, and partnered with Hand in Hand Ministries to provide housing for a family in need.
This year, two different student groups traveled to Belize: Belize City and Punta Gorda. While on the Belize City ISIP trip, students learned from a new culture, while continuing to cultivate relationships with Hand in Hand Ministries and focusing on the five pillars of ISIP: learning, faith, community, service, and justice.
The students attending the trip worked with the Hand in Hand Ministries crew and built a 16x16 house from scratch for a single mother and her two kids. The total number of people on site was about 20 people, including the students of SHC. The build took three days and each day these students gained valuable skills with hands-on construction work and learning from one another.
The ISIP or International Service Immersion Program, gives students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a different culture while helping others who live there. Most importantly, students gain hands-on experiences, complete service projects, and learn about the cultural environment of the country.
“ISIP has allowed me to have an amazing Spring Hill experience. It has allowed me to experience a culture outside my own and get a better worldview. The most impactful thing I learned on the Belize City trip is how much care and love there is still left in humanity. Through my trip, I was able to see that there is so much love left in the world for each other,” shared senior Lizzie Barrois.
The Belize city group also had the opportunity to learn about the outreach center that partners with Hand in Hand ministries. This center focuses on helping children with AIDS or HIV and is equipped with a patient care program, school, and daycare. Moreover, the group explored the Mayan Temples: Altun Ha and swam with sharks and stingrays in the waters surrounding the island of Caye Caulker.
ISIP did not happen during the 2020-2021 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Campus Ministry, who is in charge of the ISIP program is proud to have been able to put on these trips this year.
Director of Campus Ministry, Colleen Lee says, “We feel very accomplished that ISIP happened this year, but we are a long way from where the programs were before COVID,” said Colleen Lee, Director of Campus Ministry. “Before COVID we had four or five international trips and two US trips. We respond to the needs of our project partners and the interest of our students, so we hope that we can offer more trips next year to different locations.”