I absolutely adored my time in Belize! There were so many cultural things to experience! I also LOVED how much hands on experience I received! In America, there are lots of limitations but in Belize, I actually got to spay/neuter and suture! The veterinarians are so knowledgeable, kind, and funny! My group also got along so well together and they definitely played a big factor in making the trip one of the best things to experience.
Overall, I am bursting with happiness that I got to go!!
I am also very happy to be back at home and filled with love from my family and friends ! 😊
Studying abroad has been one of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced and I will share my experience with others throughout my whole life! If you are interested in studying abroad or going to study broad soon to Belize, I have provided below some things to know.
*disclaimer: these are only from my experience & from collecting experience from my classmates*
Yay food places:
(in order from greatest to least)
Crave (I haven’t been here but everyone has told me great reviews about this place)
The ice cream shoppe
Any food place in Placencia
The Midas resort breakfasts (some choices)
- The Huevos Rancheros
- The waffles
- The Belizean Breakfast
- The fruit platter with yogurt and granola
- The full english
Bambu (bubble tea + coffee shop)
Nay food places (cheap but eh)
(in order from greatest to least)
Ko Ox Han-nah
We also got this paper of a list of things that was helpful
Fun things to do outside of academics:
Eating at Guava Limb
Getting ice cream at the ice cream shoppe
Going to Bambu (bubble tea + coffee shop)
The Midas Resort Pool
The beach at Placencia
Snorkeling at Placencia
Shopping at the fruit & spice market downtown
Swimming in the lagoon at the horse farm where we did the horse physicals.
Going to the Waterfalls (Dr. T, Candice (the TA), and Rueben will know)
Shopping for souvenirs downtown
hanging out with friends in your room and hanging out with friends in their room!
Things that should be more emphasized on bringing:
MONEY MONEY AND MORE MONEY
- You will be eating out A LOT and some times the food isn’t as cheap. There are a lot of tourist attractions where you will want to participate in the activities and it gets pricey. You will also most likely want to buy souvenirs and most of the souvenirs are hand crafted so they can be more expensive than expected. I would suggest bringing $600-$800 US. But it also depends on how touristy you intend on being.
- Most of the time, dinner was late at night and there was a big gap between lunch and dinner. There were also times where I ate a small dinner because of the pricey food options. With that being said, bring snacks! They will always come useful.
A PORTABLE CHARGER
- Although there is barely to no wifi to use your phone, you might be like me and want to take billions of photos!
A STAINLESS STEEL INSULATED WATER BOTTLE
- C.E.L.A. provided us with a 5 gallon water jug located in the reception center of Midas Resort. We were able to fill up our water bottles whenever we wanted. Hydration is SO important in Belize. It will be very hot and humid.
DON’T CARE CLOTHES
- I highly suggest bringing clothes that you do not mind getting dirty in! ESPECIALLY your scrubs! After the pig castrations, I was covered in pig poop from head to toe! Also after the spay/neuter clinic, I had many ticks and fleas on my scrubs that I had to throw away. Thankfully, I didn’t pay much for the scrubs I brought and the clothes I brought, I didn’t mind too much of. BRING CLOTHES THAT are not as important to you. And if you are buying clothes for the trip, buy clothes that are cheap!! At the end of the trip, you can donate your clothes (as I did) to CAWS which is the Cayo Animal Welfare Society. Clothes in Belize get expensive (especially scrubs) so anything helps.
- Although I just mentioned that you should bring “don’t care clothes”, bring clothes that you would like to wear out. You will be eating out a lot and most of the dinner places had really nice lights and scenery, so you might want to dress better than slouchy.
LONG SLEEVE CLOTHES
- Belize is VERY hot and humid but in the PAWS veterinary clinic, my classmates and I were freezing during the lectures. Some restaurants will have high AC so it can be useful to wear a long sleeve shirt. MOST IMPORTANTLY, WEAR LONG SLEEVES FOR THE DAY YOU HOLD IGUANAS. When my classmates and I went to pick the iguanas up, we didn’t expect them to have really long nails and to be cut all over. Some iguanas do not want to be held so be cautious of that. Make sure you know how to hold an iguana correctly because if you don’t, their nails will cut you.
- I had to do a powerpoint presentation and use a laptop for it so yup! Also, it’s useful for the course readings that you can download.
- it’s helpful to take notes for any information you hear when you can’t use a laptop. It’s useful to take notes in the BAHA lab, for the chicken suturing, during the iguana conservation, etc. This will be helpful for your daily journal that you have to hand in on the last day of class detailing what you learned.
- you might get sick from the trip just because the food and water is different from the US. There are also many many bugs so you have to be prepared.
- Belize is very humid so the bugs will always be out! SO many of us were covered in mosquito, flea, and ant bites.
FIRST AID KIT
- anything can happen so it’s always good to be prepared!
MANY BATHING SUITS
- there are a lot of water activities
- it didn’t rain during my trip but I suggest bringing one because you don’t want to get your sweater or what ever kind of jacket you’re bringing soaked.
A BACKPACK/SHOULDER BAG
- you will be attending class and going to farms where you will need a lot of supplies! Also, I went to Placencia with my group so we had to pack clothes and toiletries for 3 nights. You can keep your bug spray in there, sunscreen, stethoscope, gloves, thermometer, water, wallet, etc.
- you will need a wrist watch when taking the heart and respiratory rate!
1 PAIR OF: SNEAKERS, RUBBER BOOTS, SHOWER SHOES, AND SANDALS
YOU DO NOT NEED LAUNDRY SUPPLIES
- Midas Resort can do your laundry for $15 BZE I believe. And the laundry is usually ready in 24 hours.
Some More Information to Know
*Once you’re accepted, you will get lots of emails in assisting you on what to do for your study abroad experience so don’t worry you aren’t thrown into the wild. You are also always welcome to email any questions you have to CELA admissions.
*Once you arrive at the Philip Goldson International Airport, CELA will be outside in the front of the airport waiting for you!
*Breakfast is always covered by CELA. Any other meals or activities, you have to pay for.
*the italicized words in my posts is important information
*the wifi at Midas is VERY slow. Get WhatsApp to contact your loved ones. (although, expect WhatsApp to be slow at times too)
*1 US dollar = 2 Belize dollars
*Try to not get stuck in always getting the back seats of the vans. It’s very hot outside and the AC doesn’t flow as well throughout the van. There are also SO many speed bumps in Belize and it’s not fun. (Yes I am talking from experience from always getting the back seat)
*For the course, I had to do a journal, a 10 minutes powerpoint presentation with a partner, and a final exam. Do not wait until last minute to do these things. Ask lots of questions to the veterinarians. They are so knowledgeable and it will also help in doing your required course work.
*Don’t wait until last minute to buy a souvenir unless you’re planning on buying one at the airport. But, if you really like something, GET IT!
*If you have a friend that’s going on the trip and want to request a roommate, you can!
*if you are up late and want food, Hodes is open very late and it’s right next door to Midas Resort. I personally don’t really like Hodes but it’s very good if you get the rice and beans!
*”Belizean time” is a thing and expect activities to not always be on time.
*Travel in groups and have a buddy with you at all times since you are in a new place
*Try the Marie Sharp sauces!! You can find them at almost every Belize restaurant. I bought the pineapple and mango one for home because they are so good!!
*You will be doing so many hands on veterinary medicine things so TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT!
*BE OPEN MINDED AND TRY DIFFERENT THINGS! There is so many great food options, fun activities outside of academics, and lots and lots of things to see! Make the trip worth it!
*HAVE LOTS AND LOTS OF FUN!! 🎉
I am extremely thankful! Without SEBS and Douglass covering a portion of the cost, Rutgers promoting to study abroad, the friends I’ve made in the course, and my friend’s and family’s support, I wouldn’t of been able to study abroad and had such an amazing time!
And thank you for reading my journey! I am so grateful again to have experienced going to Belize! I was very nervous before departure but once I got to Belize, it was SO much fun. I gained so much knowledge through the consistent veterinary medicine hands-on experiences that I’m beyond grateful for. I definitely recommend going to Belize for the veterinary study abroad course! You will get SO much experience where you are in the position of being the veterinarian. Also, I suggest reading other people’s blogs as well. This is only from my experience and perspective, and I’m sure other students will have different things to share! If anyone has questions or is looking to go to Belize and be in the large animal program, my email will always be available to reach: firstname.lastname@example.org !