Our organization was born in 2010 when a group of friends and co-workers decided Belize had so much to offer students and professionals in unique learning experiences that we formed a company to assist those who wanted to visit, study, and learn about Belize. Coming up with a name which expressed what we wanted do was actually much harder than we thought. We wanted to convey our educational purpose with a focus on sustainability.
We decided on I.S.I.S which stood for the Institute for Sustainable International Studies. We know Isis is the Egyptian goddess of the earth and the patroness of nature, so our initials were quite apt. The fact that Dr. Nancy, our Executive Director, also has a cat called Isis sealed the deal.
Then, as you all know, the civil war in Syria escalated and a group of extremists decided that a Caliphate was what the middle east needed and the media took to calling them ISIS. We waited to see what would happen, relieved that people were smart enough not to mix us up! In the end, with so much negativity around that acronym we decided that we would change our name. After much head scratching we decided to call ourselves Center for Engaged Learning Abroad, C.E.L.A. Belize.
We love sharing the wonders of Belize while providing educational services to students here. We are thrilled to see the sense of awe when students experience new knowledge first hand through their field work and community service. Belize challenges students to move outside their comfort zone. Our students achieve amazing results when they do something they didn't think they could or have never tried before. Watching a student grow personally with a new view of the world makes us feel C.E.L.A. has accomplished something worthwhile.
C.E.L.A. isn’t just about the few of us who founded it either. It is about the community of people who teach, live and work in Belize and provide services to our students. Student fees contribute to the development of Belize through donations to local organizations, contributions to communities for service learning projects and the employment of Belizeans. We are proud to be Belizean and building this great little country.