The Outdoor Leadership minor has completed its first international trip with a bag full of good memories and few complications.
“The International Expedition to the Río Usumacinta in Chiapas, Mexico, was a big success,” Outdoor Leadership Instructor Sam Morrison said. “Students were able to practice their intercultural
communication and push their comfort zone.”
The class went to several locations in Mexico to study the effects of mass tourism and adventure
tourism on local economies. The trip also included a cultural immersion experience and a seven-day
rafting trip. Several aspects of the trip required the students to come out of their comfort zone.
“We had to navigate a foreign country, sometimes on our own, speak Spanish, although a few of us
had no formal practice prior to the trip, live in the jungle during the river portion, and make it far past our comfort zone to get to the other side,” student participant Dylan Welles said.
Both Morrison and Welles had stories that stuck with them after the trip. Morrison talked about a sinkhole along the riverside that was large enough to fit all five 16-foot rafts in and explore. He said “it was fascinating to see such a recent geological formation taking place.”
Welles had more to say about the wildlife the group encountered on the trip. During one of the
nights along the river, the class was woken up by a group of howler monkeys.
“That really put me in this mindset, like ‘wow, we’re really out here in the middle of the jungle, miles away from anyone and anything that could stop this noise,’” Welles said.
As for future trips, Morrison is very hopeful.
“This trip was the first international expedition of what I hope to be many more,” Morrison said.
For anyone who wishes they could have joined there is no need to be disappointed. Morrison hopes to
offer the same trip in January 2019.