Being in Belize is like a whole other world. It’s definitely hotter than Alabama. I came off the plane and had to take stairs down to the ground, I felt like a movie star. Once we got into a van to go to our first destination, the landscape started changing. It went from flat land with shrubs to rolling hills of rainforests to miles and miles of ocean. IT’S INCREDIBLE.
I’ve experienced so much here from driving a boat to catching a foot-long barracuda. I explored Mayan ruins and learned about the people who lived here hundreds of years ago. I swam through a cave of fresh water several feet below the Earth’s surface.
I snorkel every day with hundreds of vibrant fish, stingrays, and nurse sharks. I fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing and wake up to seagulls screeching. I lived on a 5-acre island with iguanas and TONS of hermit crabs. I spent the night in a Mayan village with a host family, learning how to make tortillas from hand. Locals taught me how they make crafts that they sell to earn extra income for their families. I learned how to handmake cacao seeds into chocolate. I’ve made friendships with the other students that I know will last a lifetime.
I think that any student who has the chance to study abroad should take that opportunity. It teaches you so much about the world and gives you a glimpse into other people’s lives outside of the U.S. This experience also showed me what I might pursue as a passion. I’m learning that I really want to do something to help the ocean like marine conservation.
I know I’ll be sad when I finally have to get on the plane to leave Belize but I plan on coming back here later in my life to experience once again all the wonder and magic that this magnificent country holds.