Peace Corps volunteer Kathryn Hoyt returns from Belize

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Peace Corps volunteer Kathryn Hoyt returns from Belize

Peace Corps volunteer Kathryn Hoyt returns from Belize

Peace Corps volunteer Kathryn Hoyt returns from Belize


Peace Corps volunteer returns to civilization

By Dustin Dow

Daily Kent Stater

To Kathryn Hoyt, living three years in the Third World, sometimes out of a backpack and without adequate electricity or running water, was a frightening idea.

"To tell you the truth, I was really scared before I left," said Kathryn Hoyt, a graduate assistant in the college of education who returned in September from a three-year stay in Belize. But Hoyt, a Peace Corps volunteer, got over her initial fear and grew to love the tiny Central American nation.

"I had a wonderful time in Belize," she said. "I met so many people and made so many friendships. It was an amazing experience to see how different their world is."

The world of teaching students who had no books or school supplies was far different from Hoyt's life in the United States. She spent most of her adult life as a stockbroker in Florida before her mother talked her into joining the Peace Corps.

"Being a stockbroker wasn't fulfilling," Hoyt said. "And the Peace Corps had always been a dream of mine."

She knew she was in for a change the moment she stepped on a bus in Belize.

"I was the only white woman on the bus," Hoyt said. "It was a very humbling experience, but I eventually realized that people are just people. I think I learned more from the people of Belize than they learned from me."

Now, Hoyt wants to share what she learned. She is leading a return trip to Belize shortly after final exams in May for Kent State students.

The trip will run from May 14-21 and is open to any Kent State student. Hoyt, who works in the Center for International Travel and Intercultural Education, said the trip is designed specifically for education majors, but anyone could benefit from visiting Belize.

"At first, I thought it would just be for education students," Hoyt said. "But it's really open to any Kent State student. The main goal is to expose students to different cultures."

As a former Peace Corps volunteer in Belize for three years, Hoyt has access to people and areas in Belize that students would not otherwise see.

"I want other students to be able to experience what I got to experience," she said. "They'll be able to meet some Peace Corps volunteers there as well."

Education students can benefit from the various school visits scheduled on the trip. Hoyt wants to show students schools in Belize so they get a feel for what education is like in a Third World nation.

"Everything is extremely different from what we do here," Hoyt said, regarding teaching methods. "Seeing that will give educators a chance to see how you teach without anything."

Besides schools, students will see ancient Mayan villages and ruins while learning local culture and dances. Other visits are planned to beaches to see the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere and manatee and sea turtle nests.

Belize is an English-speaking nation, making it a popular destination among American travelers.

The idea for the trip was born out of conversations Hoyt had in September with Ken Cushner, associate dean for student life and intercultural affairs in the college of education. Cushner himself took a class of fifth and sixth graders to Belize 20 years ago.

"We like to create as many international and cultural opportunities as possible," Cushner said. "And here is a trip that is open to anybody. People with an interest in the environment, or foreign relations or just the adventure-minded student would be interested because (the trip) is an adventure."

Cushner said Hoyt's experience is an invaluable tool that students can use to their advantage.

"She had three years there so she can open up doors and opportunities for people," he said. "She knows a lot of contacts in the Peace Corps for any students who are considering going into the Peace Corps after graduation."

The $1650 price tag for the trip includes airfare, room, board and other costs. Any current student who is interested may contact Hoyt at 330-672-0739.

Copyright 2001 The Daily Kent Stater

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Story Source: The Daily Kent Stater

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Belize



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