You occasionally hear, "step outside your box" or "jump off the cliff" but this spring break my theme is to "jump off the dock".
About six months ago I was looking online at the study abroad trips Iowa State was offering and I noticed there was a horticulture trip to St. John, Virigin Islands over spring break. Although the I had never taken a horticulture or eduction class, I thought I would apply.
Here I am a few months later sitting at Gifft Hill School in St. John after completing the lessons I taught to the 4th and 5th graders. The school is a private school that has students from pre-K to 12th grade. The teachers incorporate the numerous school gardens into their lessons and I am amazed with what the students know about composting, plant growth, irrigation, and other practices that are used to grow the garden. For example, conserving water is a big deal on the island, because they do not have a fresh water source. Many places collect and store rainwater in order to have a water source at all times. We've even been limited to taking three minute showers while staying at our campsite. The entire island is Eco-friendly and well kept, which makes it that much more beautiful.
The entire trip is a little outside of my comfort zone, yet has been an amazing experience. I have made new friends, tried new food, even got car sick because although the place we stay is only under nine miles away, the road is full of hills and curves so it takes 45 minutes to get there.
I am going to jump off the dock on Saturday while snorkeling, which maybe my new favorite hobby, I'm very glad I decided to take that first jump a few months ago because this is one experience I will never forget.