No secret: MSU students get to experience Secrets Resort in Los Cabos

MINOT, N.D. – At Minot State University, there are a lot of different opportunities for students to gain experience in their desired future field. Whether it be writing for the school newspaper or helping with MSU Life, there are groups and possibilities in all degrees.

For students in the teacher education and kinesiology program, Terry (Ferebee) Eckmann ’81/’82, professor and chair, offers an elite experience to travel out of the country and teach at all-inclusive resorts in different countries. Minot State is also the only university in the U.S. that offers this resort experience.

Taylor Benjamin and Holly Steer were lucky enough to go to Secrets Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico earlier this semester to teach different classes for the resort clientele.

“Our main goal is to provide quality group fitness and yoga experiences for clientele at the resorts and expose our students to teaching in a completely different environment. Meeting new people, networking, seeing new cultures, and experiencing an all-inclusive resort are just a few things that students get out of these trips,” Eckmann said.

“Getting that experience in a different environment was awesome. We’re used to teaching in a school setting, whether it’s our classroom or the Wellness Center, but once you’re actually out and you get to know them on a personal level and work with them, it was honestly amazing,” Benjamin, a junior physical education major, said.

Traveling and teaching at the resort was a new experience for both Benjamin and Steer, but both mentioned the biggest difference wasn’t the culture, but the teaching style that they’re used to.

“The most difficult aspect of teaching there was not knowing everyone’s fitness level, so having to make sure to show regressions and progression to better help the clientele,” Steer, a senior corporate fitness and physical education major, said.

“With peer teaching, you’ve worked with them before and you see how they are before you teach,” Benjamin said. “You had to step it up and know how to work with everybody. That was the biggest difference, not knowing who you were going to work with, but making sure you found a way to work with them.”

The best part about this experience is that it opens up other opportunities for students after graduation and while looking for a job. Networking while on these trips is one of the most beneficial parts about their trip.

“Those connections with the people who are working there, along with networking with the clientele, can open their doors to many different opportunities that they didn’t even know existed,” Eckmann said. “Just getting students to think about what other opportunities are out there and what is something that would work for their life.

“Holly is actually going to be interning with the largest fitness spa in the world, Rancha La Puerta. There are 13 gyms at the resort and different classes every hour. Holly will end up, after the second week, teaching solo maybe two or three times a day. She might lead a hike, teach a class, or assist a couple classes. She can attend everything else that goes on as well so she will get to learn a lot. If you get your foot in the door there, then there’s opportunities to go other places and do other things as well.”

On top of gaining an abundance of experience, Benjamin and Steer got some free time throughout their day, but not as much as normal due to a hurricane.

“Once we were done teaching, there was volleyball, water volleyball, ping pong, and a lot more. We’d have a relaxing day by the pool and just talk with new people, then we’d run into them the next day and start up a new conversation, just so many connections were built down there,” Benjamin said.

“We made friends with the people that we were working with, so we hung out with them a lot. We played volleyball one day for probably three hours, they also had entertainment and shows that went on after dinner that were really cool,” Steer said.

Steer and Benjamin enjoyed their experience so much they hope to work in comparable settings for their careers. Benjamin wants to intern somewhere outside the U.S. but is focused on the opportunities that present themselves.

“I definitely want to stay in the fitness world, and my goal is to be a physical education teacher. I’m also yoga certified and want to continue doing that, but I for sure want to keep expanding from what I know now,” Benjamin said. “I don’t know if I’ll stay in Minot, but if I have another opportunity, I want to snatch it up right away.”

Steer, on the other hand, wants to travel and doesn’t want to commit to just one area, both geographically and career wise.

“I’d like to go to grad school after I finish my undergrad here, then narrow it down to what I want to study,” she said. “I’ve worked with younger kids and adults, and I still haven’t found out if I have one area that I enjoy more. This experience lit a spark and I definitely want to travel, I don’t want to be stuck in one place.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 10/28/21   

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