Belize, often referred to as “Mother Nature’s best kept secret,” is a tropical paradise located on the northeastern coast of Central America. In fact, due to its history of British colonization, it is the only country in the area where English is the official language.
This makes the country one of the top choices to visit for study abroad students, giving them a chance to immerse themselves fully in another culture while still being able to easily navigate from place to place. Belize charms travelers with its proximity to the ocean, and offers the sense of a “true Caribbean gateway” with pristine rain forests and barrier reefs.
For those interested in exploring a busy industrial landscape, Belize City is the way to go. As the largest city in Belize, this bustling hub offers plenty of museums and zoos for the eager traveler. From Belize City, it is easy to explore the Cayes (little islands surrounding Belize) with water taxis, boats, and even small airplanes.
For the study abroad students who want to shy away from populated cities and industrial, urban landscapes, Corozal is the place to visit! With incredibly friendly inhabitants, Corozal is a small town with stunning views of the ocean. There are very few tourists who venture here, and so it's also a much cheaper place to live for those visiting Belize.
Dangriga (coming from a Garifuna word meaning ‘sweet water’) is the largest town in Southern Belize and known as the “spiritual capital” of the country’s Garifuna people. It’s an exciting and festive town, reflecting the heritage of the Garifuna, who are descendants of the Carib, Arawak, and West African people. Study abroad students will experience the deep resonations of a cultural bond here. The music in this funky city is unique, as Dangriga is the birthplace of “punta rock” and home to a number of notable artists and festivals.
How to Choose a Program
When choosing a program to study abroad at in Belize, it’s important to know what academic goals you have set for yourself. Are you interested in the environmental sciences? Is medicine more your focus? What about anthropology? Although most of the universities in Belize offer a variety of courses, they each specialize and are known for only one or two specific career paths. Read on and find out what program is best for you!
- Galen University in San Ignacio:Galen University offers a wide range of programs in an area of the Mayan lowlands – anthropology and archaeology students will particularly find this interesting, for the surroundings are a “living laboratory.” Visits are made to nearby sites to add context to classroom and lectures. This university also has a great environmental science curriculum, because Belize boasts of the best and largest barrier reefs in the world. The beaches, rivers, and rainforests are areas of great interest and importance in the environmental sphere. Students live in a locally-owned resort, and breakfast is provided. Lunch is available at the University for cheap, and they find dinner on their own.
- Central American Health Sciences University in Belize City: Belize Medical College has been training physicians for over 10 years, and many of their graduates are licensed physicians in the United States. Offers fall, summer, and winter semesters, as well as degrees in Health Management, Biological Sciences, and Medical Doctorate degrees all in less than five and a half years. Applicants are not evaluated solely on academic merit, but they must also demonstrate high commitment to the medical field (as well as originality and motivation of the student).
- Sacred Heart Junior College in San Ignacio: SHC is an environmentally conscious school that offers programs mainly in Environmental Science and Tourism Management for the eco-tourism industry. It is the only school in Belize with established processes for quality assurance. Study Abroad students from the US will be able to transfer credits to their colleges with ease. The curriculum is geared toward industrial employment needs, and prepares students for further studies abroad as well. Tons of tours are very available in area.
Packing for Your Trip
It's very easy to overpack, or pack the wrong things for a trip to Central America. Our guide on what to pack for study abroad in Central America will help.
Social Life and Student Culture
With butterfly farms and the Cerros Mayan Ruins only minutes away, a curious adventurer won’t run out of things to do in Corozal! To get across the bay, take a hand cranked ferry, free of charge. Corozal serves as a great rest stop for travelers trying to see all of Belize. With its relaxing and slow paced atmosphere, most people will find that they quickly adapt to life here. On a typical Sunday, most businesses and restaurants will be closed, although a general store or two will remain open.
Notable sights and landmarks in Dangriga include the Gulisi Garifuna Museum, fine food restaurants and market stands, a tortilla factory, and much more. Right off the barrier reef of Dangria is Tobacco Caye, an island where a traveler can enjoy snorkeling, diving, fishing, or just simply relaxing. There is never a boring moment in Dangriga, with its surplus in island expeditions, kayaking trips, and nightclubs bursting with cultural music!
Don't let the cost of studying abroad deter you- many scholarships are available to help you make your dream of studying abroad into a reality. Be sure to check with your university for other funding opportunities!
- ProWorld Scholarships are given based on a combination of merit and need. After receiving the scholarship, students are required to give a presentation to their community. They also provide fundraising tools to help fundraise for your trip.
- Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to student to study in underrepresented areas (including Belize!). Applicants should identify how their program (as well as future career goals) will contribute to a broad definition of US national security.
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships
Contributed by Sunny Chen
Study Abroad Programs in Belize
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