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Faculty-Led Customized Study in Belize Programs

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

View detailed rating

Real Experience

I felt like this experience put me in the heart of Belize and helped me to learn about Belizean life instead of only being on the outside as a tourist. I got the opportunity to practice physical therapy, see the beauty of the country, open my mind and heart to the people of Belize, and educate and empower people about their physical health.

Academics:
Although sometimes it felt like long days with the heat, I appreciated the extra presentations at San Ignacio. I felt like they helped give more perspective to our trip. I especially liked the presentation on poverty, it really changed how I was thinking about it. The opportunities to get so much hands on experience with home visits, pediatrics, and with the elderly was eye opening and very helpful to my learning and understanding.

Living Situation:
The people at Log Cabin were my favorite! They were so hospitable and welcoming. The people at Hopkins and Black Orchid were excellent too. I appreciate that so many meals were included in our housing arrangements. Everywhere we stayed was very clean and I felt like we were taken good care of.

Cultural Immersion:
I feel like I learned a lot about Belizean culture from the presentations to learn details to the tour guides in the van and on some of the expeditions to seeing what a typical day was like in a home. I was so grateful that we were not staying at the Cayes with all the tourists. I really liked Hopkins because we were right next to the locals. It was helpful to see so many cities and to lodge in both rural and more urban areas. I felt like we received a good taste of life in Belize.

Program Administration:
Rhondine was amazing! Very helpful and kind and easy to talk with. I am very appreciative of how she organized this program. I am very glad I went on this trip.

Social Life:
There was good opportunity to hang out in the evenings to get to know others on the trip and talk with staff too. I was very excited how much I got to know the OT students and staff. It was wonderful to get PT and OT learning and socializing together.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

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Belizirific

The ability to help those in need really made the trip was really memorable.

I was happy about the particular program chosen by staff and very pleased to have choices regarding my leisure time.

The accommodations were nice, but the Hopkins beach house was amazing. All were a short distance from where we "worked", which was so convenient.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    0

  • Social Life

    0

View detailed rating

Belizirific

This was a terrific program in regards to service learning for alumni, staff, and students. It was an appropriate blend of education and leisure that will always be near to my heart.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

View detailed rating

TEP Review

In general, TEP is a well-run, top-notch agency for providing a combination of educational, service and cultural immersion experiences.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

View detailed rating

An Excellent Experience

Toucan Education Programs made my study abroad experience in Belize extremely easy and stress free. They did an excellent job in providing us with wonderful meals, accommodations, and transportation.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

View detailed rating

Great Trip

Everything about this program is very well organized. Every where we went I was able to learn a great deal.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

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UnBelizeable!

My Belize experience was incredible as it involved the perfect balance of work, learning, cultural experiences, and leisure! I give this program my highest recommendation.

Academics:
Tremendous learning experience. I learned a lot about working with older adults with different forms of dementia. Learning about Belize was great as well!

Living Situation:
I felt very fortunate with all of the accommodations!

Cultural Immersion:
We were constantly being immersed in the culture of Belize and had the opportunity to see a variety of locations and cultures.

Program Administration:
Rhondine was phenomenal in her leadership and preparations.

Social Life:
It was a great trip for bonding!

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

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UnBELIZEable!

My experience as an alumni/supervisor on our study abroad to Belize was amazing. The learning opportunities set up by Toucan were culturally enlightening, academically stimulating for students and supervisors and life changing! While flexibility is expected on any learning experience, details pertaining to living arrangements, meals and professional connections were attended to in detail. Our experience here was transformative! I highly recommend it!

Academics:
Our team included faculty, alumni and students. Being an alum and student supervisor, I saw and experienced incredible opportunities for learning the professional and life experiences throughout our time serving!

Living Situation:
We were there for 2 weeks and had opportunity for 3 different room accommodations. Each one was family owned, clean and safe, with the owners and staff showing a personal interest in our group and being wonderfully accommodating! And the food was wonderful! A great variety of authentic dishes!

Cultural Immersion:
My particular service/profession was direct intervention with the people of Belize, their children and in-country professionals...I cannot imagine a better experience! Also, our drivers, resort staff and education program leader were great at openly sharing about the culture as situations occurred.

Program Administration:
Our program was wonderfully coordinated to meet our team's expertise, learning goals and recreation requests. Rhondine was gracious, actively involved in the trip and attentive to our every question/need.

Social Life:
Loved our opportunities to experience the beauty of the country and time to decompress after a time of serving.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

View detailed rating

A true educational experience!

My trip to Belize to practice Physical Therapy was amazing!! As a first year student, I was able to see my mentors work with a variety of patients, ranging from a few months to 100 years old. The variety of settings TEP provided us to work in was invaluable. We were able to go on home visits, work in a skilled nursing facility, and practice in an outpatient setting for pediatric patients. A huge amount of knowledge has come from this trip. Not only did we have the chance to see diagnosis outside of a textbook, but we were able to gain something I truly believe is rare - something that only a service trip abroad could provide students. By working with the people of Belize, we gained a new perspective and appreciation for our profession and the people we help. We may have taught somethings to the Belizean people, but they taught us so much more than we could have ever imagined! This trip is one in a lifetime!

Academics:
The experience we gained was invaluable!! It was great to have a variety of settings (home visits, skilled nursing facilities, and outpatient for pediatrics) as well as a range of ages.

Living Situation:
Overall, pretty great! Log Cab-Inn was my favorite!!

Cultural Immersion:
I really liked that we got to travel to at least 3 different areas of Belize and were able to see where the people of Belize live, rather than just the tourist sites.

Program Administration:
Ms. Rhondine is amazing!!!

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    0

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

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Interdisciplinary Professional Practice

Rhondine Petrof is the glue that delicately and strategically holds the University of Indianapolis graduate OT and PT programs together with the Inspiration Center, NaRCIE, and HelpAge Belize. Mrs. Petrof manages all pre-and post-experience communication with our partnering agencies, as well as first-rate accommodations, meals, and transportation in-country. We could not provide this valuable experience to our students without her expert guidance and support.

Living Situation:
Everything was first-rate! Only a couple of suggestions: 1. more food at Coconut Row if you're going to include all meals--we could easily do lunches on our own. Excellent, friendly, accommodating service, however!
2. If you can't flush toilet paper down the toilet, (as was the case at Black Orchid) make sure that trash can is emptied at least once daily--also put a sign up noting not to flush it down the toilet; also change towels daily unless they put up a sign that says they are eco-friendly (my preference).

Cultural Immersion:
We worked with as many folks from as many different cultural backgrounds in as many locations, life stages and circumstances as possible! (It was awesome!)

Program Administration:
Rhondine Petrof is the best program administrator I could have asked for. She accurately anticipates and accommodates for each student and/or alum, faculty member, and the entire group's needs and desires expertly and efficiently, and works diligently to ensure program success with our various and diverse partnering agencies.

Social Life:
The students and alums were all so friendly and inclusive, and the people we met, worked and stayed with bent over backwards to welcome and accommodate us--just wish we could have seen some drumming and Punta dancers!

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    0

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

View detailed rating

Organized

Very well organized and coordinated

Living Situation:
Black Orchid was not ready to have a large group for meals.

Social Life:
Lots of availability. Would have been better if Saturday had been available for activities.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    0

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

View detailed rating

Trust TEP

TEP and Rhondine were very trustworthy and meticulous in planning and orchestrating our trip. I would definitely partner with them again.

Living Situation:
All the staff at our accommodations were wonderful and very concerned for our welfare. We were very comfortable.

Cultural Immersion:
We spent a considerable amount of time in direct patient care and consultation with Belizeans.

Program Administration:
Rhondine is excellent and took care of any issues immediately.

Social Life:
The excursions were excellent. My comment relates more to University Policy than TEP - I think there should be fewer opportunities for consuming alcohol.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

View detailed rating

Unbelievable Experience!

The Toucan Education Program was amazing! My professor had already been there twice with two other student groups and you can tell that he loved it so much he came back with more students for a third trip. The program provided us with insight on the economy, culture, and the people. There was something exciting planned for each day from exploring Maya ruins to visiting the Embassy, snorkeling in the coral reef and visiting the Smithsonian, to experiencing the local markets and night life. I loved it! The weather was a bit chilly when I was there but is normally warm and perfect. We took a trip to South Water Caye which is this beautiful island off the coast of Belize. It felt like paradise!

The food was provided for us both on and off the island and we event got to make out own tamales with a women's group on one of the trips. The girls lived in a small building with four or five bedrooms and shared bathrooms and then on the island we slept in one large cabin with multiple bunk beds. We were also able to meet other student groups who were in the midst of their program with TEP. Overall, the trip was unbelievably unforgettable and I wouldn't mind going back!

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

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This was the most rewarding trip of my life.

This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. I'm going into Criminal Justice and International Relations, so conducting oral history interviews at the prison of a foreign nation was the best thing for me that could possibly have happened. Thank you so much for this opportunity! I loved my time spent here, and seeing the sights, too, was so unique and wonderful!

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    0

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

View detailed rating

Toucan Education Programs of Belize utilizes the beautiful people and features of Belize to create a life changing experience!

Toucan Education Program of Belize has earned an A+ with the educational program it developed and delivered for the students of Michigan State University during the May 2014 trip. Ms. Petrof is personable and professional. She uses the beautiful people and features of Belize as the classroom for an enriching and life changing experience. The people TEP collaborates with, from the drivers and guides to the lectures and lay people, are handpicked and are each significant to the learning experience. An exchange program developed by TEP will give each participant the opportunity to learn and grow and perhaps even cause one to leave a little piece of their heart in Belize!

Living Situation:
The accommodations were just perfect. I enjoyed being just outside downtown San Ignacio and the evenings were so beautiful with a chorus of insect song. The pool and restaurant were great and the staff were so friendly and accommodating.

Cultural Immersion:
I felt like I learned so much about Belize in just the 10 days I was there. The two formal lectures were so informative. A good balance to all of the wonderful people of Belize that I engaged with during my time there. I left a little piece of my heart in Belize!

Program Administration:
Rhondine Petrof of Toucan Education Programs (TEP) is one of the most professional and personable people I'm had the opportunity to work with, ever! She creates a life changing experience using the beautiful people and features of Belize as her classroom and then gives each person the opportunity to learn and grow.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

View detailed rating

My experience in Belize.

I had a phenomenal time on my study abroad trip in, Belize. This Study abroad trip was so amazing because of the administration and TEP. The professionalism and kind spirits shown to us by TEP provided for a bright and sunny experience. Ms. Rhondine Petrof was extremely competent, professional, dilligent, patient and trustworthy and I commend her for that.

Living Situation:
All of the rooms did not have wifi. Mine did not and if it had, it would have been great. It was still a wonderful experience.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

View detailed rating

loved the whole trip!

I loved my entire trip! I had a great experience and I enjoyed being thrown into the culture. I think that's important when visiting a country.

Academics:
I learned so much about the prison and about the Maya!

Living Situation:
I was honestly really surprised by how nice the first place was. I wasn't expecting to have air conditioning or WiFi at either place. It was also really great that we had a pool. The staff was great about answering to any problems that we had.

Cultural Immersion:
I loved everything we did including the lunches where we tried traditional dishes. The only time I was upset was when our group got a different meal than the other groups at the log cab-inn because one girl was a picky eater. I think that its important for us to try their food the whole time we are there and the whole group should still get that experience. If someone doesn't like the food they can order a different dish.

Program Administration:
Great!

Social Life:
I enjoyed having the free time to walk around and talk to people from the town.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

View detailed rating

TEP: This is an Exceptionally awesome Program

The TEP staff truly cares about the students in the program. They work so hard to ensure that the transition for students from home to Belize is as smooth as possible. TEP provides thorough communication and education before, during, and after the trip. I would definitely recommend anyone interested in studying in Belize to work with the TEP program.

Academics:
I wish we had been able to engage in service all five days, but we understood with the other groups at Octavia Waight and with the holiday, that it was probably the most beneficial to wait until Tuesday to begin with the art projects.

Living Situation:
Being at Martha's in town was great! I loved being so close to everything and the staff there was fantastic. Coconut Row and the Black Orchid were also both wonderful.

Cultural Immersion:
We learned about the different ethnic groups in Belize and about the culture of the country. There is so much information that it is hard to take it all in, but it was communicated well.

Program Administration:
Rhondine communicated well before the trip, while we were there, and so far after we have left. She is an excellent coordinator who truly cares about the students and faculty in the program.

Social Life:
The people we interacted with were so welcoming and friendly.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    0

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

View detailed rating

Excellent Community Service and Cultural Program

The community service and cultural program coordinated through TEP provided an itinerary that allowed students to meet course objectives and learn more about Belizean life. TEP provides excellent services, while safety of students is a priority. We can't wait for our next trip to Belize and TEP will be our program of choice. We highly recommend Toucan Educational Programs.

Living Situation:
Excellent. In some situations students said they had only had cold showers. Food was very good and overall everything was excellent. We would stay at all sites again.

Cultural Immersion:
Ziplining, and the local sites (Iguanas, Xuantunich, swimming, etc.) were a good balance to our service project. Going to the coast was a different cultural experience for students that they enjoyed also. Pen Cayatano's studio was a perfect experience for students in art. If we could have built these experiences into the budget it would have been better, but overall the cost was very reasonable and it made it possible to do a spring break trip.

Program Administration:
Excellent: we know we can always have safety as the top priority. The students and faculty have a relationship with TEP that is friendly and professional. Students feel close to the Director and that they can approach her with any concerns.

Social Life:
Students had time for shopping and planning other activities on their own, in addition to planned activities

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

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Opportunity of a Lifetime.

I had never traveled abroad through my school before. This was hands down the best experience I have gotten in college. Going to another country is challenging enough as it is but TEP made sure our days were filled with service, education, and fun every single day. We explored 3 different cities and were immersed in the culture each one presented. If you want to learn and receive a well rounded experience in Belize, TEP will fulfill that desire.

Academics:
Through TEP we were able to interact with almost all cultures Belize has to offer.

Living Situation:
Every place we stayed was hospitable and safe.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    0

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

View detailed rating

A premier educational program enriching the world citizenship.

This was FDU's Global Scholars Program third winter session trip to Belize with TEP. It will not be its last. Its was tailored to our needs, well organized, and professionally managed. Kudos to Rhondine.

Living Situation:
As faculty, very good.

Cultural Immersion:
Student feedback was positive and appreciative of the multicultural environment.

Program Administration:
Professionally administered in planning and coordination.

Social Life:
A valuable intercultural experience.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

View detailed rating

An amazing, culture-filled trip of a lifetime.

The trip to Belize was nothing short of my expectations. Belize is so rich of culture, and this program helped us experience the Garifuna, Mayan and Mennonite cultures. From lectures by famous faces in Belize, to swimming and climbing through an Anicent Mayan village, to learning traditional Garifuna dances, this trip provided me with so many memories and a much better understand of each culture's values and beliefs. Very informational and fun at the same time. Definitely worth the flight.

Academics:
The academic curriculum was superb. It involved a good mix of hands-on and factual lectures. Getting to meet important faces of Belize added to the great experience.

Living Situation:
The housing situation was way above my expectations. I thought all accomodations were very nice and we were all prepared for when we needed sheets or blankets at IZE.

Cultural Immersion:
I like to think we got very immersed in the culture during our trip. Getting to do the hands-on grinding the corn and being at the actual Mennonite family gave us a lot more information and experience than we could've recieved in a classroom.

Program Administration:
The program administration was all very, very helpful and amazing. Both tour guides, Marco and Ted, Orlando and Rhondine were all for informative and really added to our experience in learning about Belize's culture.

Social Life:
I do wish there was a place, like Hopkins, where we could walk around the village and have more time to interact with locals during a free time of the day.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    0

View detailed rating

Fantastic

This class was wonderful and I actually learned in the process! Rhondine and TEP were fantastic at really showing us what the culture was actually like. I loved the learning because it was intriguing and hands on. Experiential learning is exactly what we did and I loved it!

Academics:
It was very interesting to learn through the experience of interacting with the natives

Living Situation:
All the places were excellent except for the last place, IZE There were too many people in one room and only 2 bathrooms which other people used as well.

Cultural Immersion:
I thought it was interesting, but might be better understood if host family stays were involved

Program Administration:
Rhondine is so ready for action!

Social Life:
we didnt stay long enough to really have social lives except with each other

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    0

View detailed rating

Exhilarating Experience

I loved this experience. The locals were nice and always willing to talk to us and answer our questions. The food was delicious and they accommodated any type of dietary preference. The locations we stayed at were also nice. The hotels were nicer than some from back home and the people running them were extremely nice. They always made sure everyone was taken care of and everything was fine.

Academics:
I liked having the lectures and going to the museums. One of the things that I think would have been great is if we spent more time on other of the cultural groups because we did not hear much about the Mestizo, Chinese or East Indian.

Living Situation:
The hotels were so nice. They were nicer than some of the hotels that I stayed in back home. I did not expect to have rooms and resorts as nice as the one's we got.

Cultural Immersion:
It was so nice being able to talk to the locals and visit some of the sites that tourists do not go to. I loved being able to hear some of their stories and eat the local food. I felt like we were grasping the different cultures and not just skimming over them. The Garifuna dance was amazing and that really helped me with their culture. It gives us a deeper understanding of Belize; however, we still have so much more to learn.

Program Administration:
The people were so nice and amazing. Rhondine really acted like a second mom to us and was constantly worrying. It really had us connect more with her and made leaving hard. Ted and Mario were also really good tour guides. They were completely open on answering any of the questions we had and were willing to join in any of the games that we were playing.

10 Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

View detailed rating

Experience of a lifetime

This trip to Belize through TEP was the second time I have traveled internationally, and it was the second time I have taken an international travel course through Loras College. This trip and overall experience exceeded all of my expectations by leaps and bounds. Our itinerary and schedule was rock solid the entire time - it was very obvious that Rhondine and company put serious thought into making our trip as successful as possible. I would consider myself an anxious traveler, and I never found myself worrying about making it safely to any destination or being on time for scheduled activities. All of the accommodations throughout the trip were fantastic, and all of the staff I interacted with were extremely friendly. Our guides and drivers were extremely professional, friendly, and were more than willing to chat with everyone in our group. The guest lecturers and speakers that were organized for our group were fantastic and did an excellent job of condensing relevant, interesting information for our entire group. As I mentioned in the review title, this trip and overall experience is something that has a profound impact for me. Without a doubt, TEP's hard work made all of that possible. If you are considering organizing a program in Belize through TEP, then by all means go for it. You will not regret it.

Academics:
The lectures and guest speakers we had fit very well with our course. The lectures were extremely informative and the University faculty did a great job of condensing a large amount of material for our class. All of the guest speakers were willing to answer questions and offer different perspectives related to what we were studying.

Living Situation:
All of the accommodations exceeding my expectations, and the food was excellent. The staff at all of the locations were friendly and I felt right at home the entire trip. No complaints whatsoever.

Cultural Immersion:
It seemed that everyone we interacted with, whether it be drivers or guides, was willing to discuss pretty much anything related to Belizean culture. I feel that this was a pivotal part of the entire trip, and many of the conversations that I had with people in Belize are just as memorable as some of the activities we did throughout our trip.

Program Administration:
The program had fantastic leadership. Collaboration between Rhondine and Rick was like a well oiled machine. I consider myself an extremely anxious traveler, and I never felt nervous about reaching our next destination or anything like that. We had several schedule changes, but those changes went off without a hitch. Our group had some anxiety related to a certain incident later in the trip, but Rhondine kept us well informed throughout the entire time. That goes for details about travel and accommodations as well. At this point I would recommend a TEP program to someone interested in Belize without a second thought.

Social Life:
I mentioned this before, but everyone we came into contact with was friendly and more than willing to interact with our group. I feel that this facilitated high quality exchanges within our own group as well. Overall I felt comfortable and welcomed when it came to social situations while in Belize.