SPONSORED CONTENT: The University of New Mexico-Taos is offering an immersive educational experience with its new Study Abroad program available to students and to the community at large.
The University of New Mexico-Taos is offering an immersive educational experience with its new Study Abroad program available to students and to the community at large.
Instructor Phillip Alldritt and his first group of Taos-area students will complete the first segment of this year’s series in May, with an eight-day excursion to Jamaica. Two more trips are scheduled for 2021: Guatemala in March, and Belize in May. Alldritt said there’s still time to sign up for the Jamaica trip.
This can be a life-changing opportunity, as Alldritt can personally attest to. “My first trip to Guatemala in ’79 blew me away and I knew I wanted to be a tour guide and archaeologist,” he said. “It took me five minutes to decide that.”
Be prepared to get an education, Alldritt said. Students return from these trips with a new understanding of different people and their cultures, economics, tourism, ecologies, and politics that’s much more intimate and rounded than anything a textbook could teach. Not only that, but the experience of travel and overcoming culture shock is guaranteed to expand any comfort zone. As Alldritt put it, “Traveling is the best classroom.”
These trips are open to the community and students alike. They can be taken for no credit, or a degree-seeking student can earn general education core credits in anthropology.
Planning ahead is crucial, and Alldritt said he is available to help through each step of preparation. First, go to studyabroad.unm.edu, where you’ll find everything you need to get started. It’s a good idea to do this now, even if you’re thinking of signing up for one of next year’s trips currently in the planning and enrollment stages. The application process and preparational materials – as well as some of the preparation itself, such as getting or renewing your passport – can be taken care of well in advance.
Everyone is welcome to take advantage of this opportunity, whether for UNM class credit or to broaden your own sphere of knowledge and experience. The outings are designed to include virtually anyone, student or not.
“There’s not a lot of activities anyone can’t do,” said Alldritt. “There may be moderate-level hiking, but nothing too strenuous or technical.”
Alldritt recommends exploring the website and then contacting him during office hours for answers to questions and help with preparation.
“Come in and we’ll work through it together,” he said.
Phil Alldritt has been an Instructor at UNM-Taos since 2000. Traveling with a U.S. Treasury permit for Research and Education, he has conducted 62 trips to Cuba since 1999 focusing on the historical architecture and culture of Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and Santiago. He has been a professional guide for Mayan archaeological sites in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico every year since 1985. He lived in Belize for 6 years while becoming a National Tour Guide Instructor for the Belizean Government and in Jamaica for 2 years as a tour guide. He has a Master’s Degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona, is a PADI Dive Master, and first aid instructor. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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