day 1: Arrival 12/28/19
I got at the airport around 5:30 am and my flight time was 8:32 am (because the recommendation online is to be at the airport 3 hours before departure time for an international flight).
I wore a windbreaker, leggings, a short sleeve top, and sneakers! I wanted to be comfortable on the plane and also ready for anything that was to come when I arrived at Belize. In my backpack carry on I had sunglasses, glasses, sunscreen, chapstick, my passport, my forms of identification, US cash in 20s, over the counter medications, insect repellent, a portable charger, my umbrella, granola bars, an empty stainless steel water bottle, hand sanitizer, deodorant, ziplock bags, and a black pen. (All my liquids were 3 oz or under due to my flights guidelines)
*Also, CELA sent the accepted students a link to a site that had all the information you need to know such as an orientation handbook, a checklist, accessing course readings, and a packing list so that students are safe and prepared for their study abroad experience which I found was really helpful because this was my first time traveling alone*
The plane ride was around 4-5 hours and I slept most of the time, watched the movie elf on the channels the flight gave, and looked at the flight map the airlines provided. Once I arrived to the Philip Goldson International Airport in Belize, I had to sign an immigration arrival card (every student traveling abroad for C.E.L.A. had to fill it out). I got my luggage and I found the CELA group waiting outside of the airport:)! I met other students from other colleges who were taking courses provided by CELA and it was so interesting and exciting to see how we all have diverse roles in impacting animal health.
We got on the white shuttle and got dropped off to the Midas Resort for the Large Animal Veterinary in the Tropics program. (The drive took around 2 hours)
As we were driving to the Midas Resort, I fell in love with all the different kinds of dogs I saw ❤️
I was so in awe to see how beautiful the Midas resort was!! After I got my swipe card & roommate, we headed over to our room and unpacked our stuff.
After unpacking, we went to eat and I had veggie quesadillas at the restaurant next to Midas which was called Hodes (I don’t recommend). The meal was covered for. & they gave us the options of veggie or chicken quesadillas, veggie or chicken burrito, or gluten free enchiladas. And the drink options were fanta pineapple, fanta grape, water, lime juice, watermelon juice, and soursop (aka guanabana) which is a famous belizean drink. It is very sweet and sort of looks milky.
We all went back to our rooms & I read over a few course readings that they provided. I recommend downloading the files they provide before traveling to Belize. Also, the midas resort has wifi but other than that, there is no wifi. Also, the wifi is terribly slow.
I also messaged and called my parents using whatsapp because regular phone and text didn’t work so well. I recommend contacting your parents through whatsapp!
Then, it was time to hit the hay 💤
Day 2: orientation 12/29/19
I woke up at 7:30 am, got ready, and ate breakfast with the group at midas resort at 8:30 am. There were MANY delicious options 😋 (everyday the breakfast is at Midas Resort either at 7 or 8 am and is covered for by CELA)
We then had orientation. At orientation, we got these bracelets and each seed represented a different meaning for our stay at Belize which was really cute! We also went on a tour of downtown San Ignacio.
We ate lunch around 12:30 pm and I had the famous belizean meal which is rice and beans! I chose to have chicken and it came with sides of potato salad (which tastes VERY different from potato salad from the US & I love that. I dislike every potato salad I’ve tried in the US so I was nervous to try it but it ended up being so good and I’m going to strongly miss it.), plantains, and liquid seasoning for the chicken. The meal was very cheap. (1 US dollar = 2 Belize dollars)
Then, we took a shuttle to pe-Xunantunich. There were cultural shops surrounding that had lots of unique bracelets, necklaces, dream catchers, cultural carvings, etc.
We then took a lil ferry to get to Xunantunich. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!! The view and feeling is something indescribable. I also loved learning about all the history and mythical background behind Xunantunich.
We then headed back to Midas Resort and I bought a Belize magnet from a shop set up in front of our resort. 🤩
We got icecream before dinner (haha) from the icecream shoppe (I STRONGLY RECOMMEND) and I had the sulasula swirl icecream. It had raspberries and like a very sugary sweet vanilla icecream made with coconut milk. It’s similar flavoring to raspberry cake. Our TA told us that the icecream shoppe has different flavors every day so its absolutely heaven!!
We headed to dinner time!! I had coconut rice, stew beans, and chicken! ❤️ I could never get enough of the rice and beans they have here. It’s served at every food place which I love!
I headed back to my room and read some of the course readings and then called it a night!
Day 3 first day of class 12/30/19
Today started with me waking up at 7 am, getting ready for class, and eating huevos rancheros for breakfast! It was so good 😍
My breakfast consisted of fresh squeezed orange juice, fry jacks, pepper jelly, bacon, refried beans, and eggs.
Then, we had an introduction to the course in the PAWS veterinary clinic at 9 am. After, we ate lunch where I had beans and rice (which is different from rice and beans here). Beans and rice is white rice and stew beans served seperately on the side. Rice and beans is when they’re cooked and served together.
Next, we went to the BAHA (Belize Agricultural Health Authority) lab from 1-5 pm where we did lab diagnostics. We learned how to do a CBC & Intestinal Parasite Exam manually. We learned about the 5 different cells:
Neutrophils, basophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, and eosinophils and we got to look at them under a microscope. We also got to perform a McMaster test which counts eggs in feces. In the picture below, there’s the lymphocyte cell.
We ate dinner around 7 pm and I had cilantro & lime grill chicken which was REALLY good.
Then, I headed back to my room and I did my homework for the course until it was time for bed.