Alexandra Reineck

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Waynesburg University

Heinz Programming Area:
Study Abroad Country: Belize Cohort Year: 2019 Home Institution: Waynesburg University Programming Area: Learning
International Experience Summary:

Alexandra Reineck traveled to San Ignacio, Belize for her wonderful international experience. Her first two-week course explored indigenous culture and medicinal plants. She discovered a new perspective on indigenous people and their practices by learning first-hand from Maya and Garifuna people. While there, she was a part of a ceremony put on by a Maya healer to give thanks to the earth that we take pleasure in every day. Hand-picked flowers were separated into four color sections that all represented the connections between earth’s strongest forces. "Everything in this world is intertwined", she learned. The methodology behind Maya ceremonies was used centuries ago in the building of the holy sights sometimes referred to as “Mayan ruins.” Ruins are not the only misnomer made by westernized culture and put onto indigenous peoples' culture, but it is one of the most incorrect. Although Belize has put a ban on indigenous people doing ceremonies at holy sites like Xunantunich and Lubaantun, these sites are still full of energy, and many Mayan people consider them to be sacred. Lexi was fortunate enough to explore these holy sites and view the intricate architecture and gorgeous vegetation. She felt the importance of women in these cultures due to many healers being women and midwives.

Her second course dove into public health in the tropics. She spoke to many local organizations that protect communities from large outbreaks of disease, including malaria and dengue. Scientists in the area studied the migration of certain mosquitos that cause outbreaks of these diseases, as well as ways to kill off these critters without hurting the surrounding environment at the same time. All together Belize changed her outlook on medicine and what healing truly entails. She came to find that there are many other things besides chemically made medicine that she believes should be considered medicine, like community. She now knows that even the small things we take for granted are connected to our health.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title:  "The WE in Wellness" 

Waynesburg Universities 2019 cohort put on the “We In Wellness” community engagement experience. The purpose of the event was to discuss the factors that make up wellness. There are eight distinct factors that include social, intellectual, physical, emotional, occupational, spiritual,environmental, and financial wellness. Each person in the cohort had a table that represented their country and distinct concepts of wellness that were associated with their country. Along with these tables other clubs represented wellness in different ways at the event. For example, our campus ministry set up a table for the community to have access to spiritual wellness. These clubs represented the ideas we were trying to convey well, because they discussed wellness in totally different ways. One of the main purposes of the event was to show, and explain to the community that wellness is not just one thing. One of the other main ideas of our CEE consisted of environmental protection practices.Therefore, we had a raffle with ten prizes that people who went to all of our cohorts tables could enter. Along with visiting each cohort members table the guest had to answer a question from a wheel correctly to enter. Each question was connected with something somebody would have learned fromour tables. The prizes for the raffle were intended to help give winners access to more environmentally friendly practices, so we gave away reusable water bottles, reusable bags, and reusable straws.