PLAN YOUR TRIP

So you are coming to Belize for a learning experience of a lifetime – awesome! What should you bring? Do you need a visa? What’s the weather going to be like? Once you’re an enrolled student, all these questions will be answered in the materials you’ll receive before your trip, but we’ve provided some basic information here to help give you an idea of what to expect. If you are traveling abroad for the first time, Belize is a great choice! And if you already have lots of travel experience, we are certain that you’ll find Belize to be a unique and wonderful adventure.

Chances are that you will be sharing room while in Belize. You may be in dormitory style rooms (maximum 4 people) and using composting toilets. Although C.E.L.A. endeavors to find you the best accommodation for the budget; don’t expect luxury or sometimes even hot showers! The power and water will go off periodically so plan daily activities accordingly.

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION

Your passport must be good for up to 6 months past the end of your visit; you must also provide proof of a return plane ticket. No VISA is required for U.S, Canadian & Western European citizens, but students from countries other than these should inquire regarding regulations for their passport country.

If you plan to use a credit card or ATM card in Belize, it is a good idea to let your credit card company and bank know when you will be here. Belize has its own currency, the Belizean dollar (BZ), but the US dollar is also accepted everywhere. The exchange rate is set at BZ $2 for US 1$. Most shops accept U.S. currency and will give BZ in return. The ATMs disperse BZ dollars.

Your program includes pick-up and drop-off at the main international airport in Belize, which is the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (airport code BZE). You should book your flights to arrive at and depart from this airport.

 

GETTING READY FOR YOUR ADVENTURE ABROAD!

You may be undertaking a variety of outdoor activities (hiking, canoeing, swimming, sightseeing, snorkeling) in a subtropical country (Latitude 17º N), so develop your packing list accordingly. The dry season in Belize is December to May. The rainy season begins in June and lasts through November. Prepare for heat and/or rain as most of course activities are outdoors. See this website for more weather details by the month.

Ruben assists students give vitamins to puppy

Clothes

Light-weight pants and long-sleeve shirts are good protection from the insects, and on many of our programs you are asked to wear scrubs on field course days. You will need comfortable, sturdy, closed-toed shoes for most courses, as well as flip-flops or hiking sandals for beach courses. Other items you would want to pack to prepare for activities and weather include a raincoat or poncho, swimwear, a hat, and sunglasses. 

Your goal is to stay cool, comfortable, and healthy. Skip anything too tight, too skimpy, too revealing, or too fancy/expensive. 

heading home (1)

Good To Have​

• Phone, charger, and power pack

• small flashlight or headlamp

• Notebook and pen/pencil

• Refillable water bottle

• Insect repellant and sunscreen

• ATM card 

Skip bringing expensive electronics (outside of your phone), fancy jewelry or sunglasses, delicate or expensive clothing, and large amounts of cash.

colorful vegetable stand at San Ignacio market

Medical​

The CDC generally recommends updating your “routine” vaccinations (flu, MMR, DPT) for travel abroad, but ALWAYS consult with your physician first. Long sleeves and long pants made of light-weight fabric are recommended for avoiding insect bites (even at the beach). Bring medication if you are prone to sea or travel sickness. Water from the tap is considered safe to drink in Belize in the towns, but you should stick to filtered or bottled water, which is available at project sites. Your refillable water bottle can help you stay healthy and hydrated!

Copy of marine students on boat

Safety

You can help to keep yourself safe by following safety guidelines, always going out with a buddy, and avoiding flashy jewelry, clothing, or large amounts of cash (which is good advice at home as well). It is a good idea to keep a copy of your passport both at home and in your email in case of emergency, as well as copies of your credit card information or other important information.

You will have in-country staff available throughout your program to assist you if you need help or support.

SCHOLARSHIP AND FUNDING IDEAS

Want to study abroad but not sure if you can afford it? You are not alone! Whilst studying abroad gives you an appreciation for the world outside of your home country, grows your character and confidence, gives you great opportunities, may still worry about paying off student debt in the future. Thankfully there are a couple of options you can pursue that may make that trip of a lifetime a little bit more affordable.

CELA Belize will sponsor two scholarships for APVMA members each winter and summer season.  Each scholarship has a value of 50% off program tuition. Each scholarship has a value of 50% off the program tuition. Students can choose among any animal science courses offered (Large Animal, Wildlife Health, etc). Additional charges including but not limited to late arrival/early departure, extra transcripts, and a transcript from a U.S. college/university are not included.

CELA Belize will sponsor scholarships for students in the field of health and pharmacology in each winter and summer season. Each scholarship has a value of 50% off program tuition. Students may choose among any courses offered. Additional charges including but not limited to late arrival/early departure, extra transcripts, and a transcript from a U.S. college/university are not included.

CELA Belize will sponsor scholarships for students in the field of anthropology in each winter and summer season.  Each scholarship has a value of 50% off program tuition. Students may choose among any courses offered. Additional charges including but not limited to late arrival/early departure, extra transcripts, and a transcript from a U.S. college/university are not included.

The Gilman Scholarship Program offers awards for undergraduate study abroad and was established by the International Academic Opportunity Act of 2000. This scholarship provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.

Crowdfunding

Many of our alumni have been successful raising money from friends, family, and community through crowdfunding. Tell your story, share your passion, and people may want to be a part of your adventure and growth!

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