CELA Belize Participant Reviews
CELA SUMMER 2018
Submitted by Taylor - Delaware Valley University | June 17, 2018
I enjoyed the different aspects of this course. As a student I was able to get a feel for what wildlife studies include whether they are research related or veterinarian related. I loved being at the zoo!
Best First Study Abroad Experience
Submitted by tess-franchini - University of Massachusetts Amherst | June 15, 2018
I've never really left the United States, so hearing about this program was a really exciting prospect. Though both my family and I had our worries and reservations about it, I'm very glad I went through with it. Even on just the first day, the large animal course is super hands on; I helped spay a dog that afternoon. Dr. T and Ruben are very down to earth and eager to help everyone learn to the best of their abilities. CELA allowed me to meet people from across my own country, and I know I have friends for life now. Overall, I cannot recommend this program enough, and the best way to believe me is to try it for yourself.
Need Something New? Belize in Yourself and Go Study with CELA!
Submitted by Josee Westrich - Rutgers University New Brunswick | June 13, 2018
I could not have asked for a more transformative and life-changing experience than with participating in CELA's Large Animal in the Tropics course! The types of hands-on experiences this program offers is nothing like you can find in the States and it was wonderful knowing that I could give back to the different communities in Belize at the same time while learning more about animal care. One of the lesser known parts about this program is that almost all of the tuition fees go to pay for all of the veterinary care that you perform as a student while visiting a number of different farms. Every injection, castration, or assisted spay/neuter surgery that you get to do is in actuality a veterinary service that you helped to pay for through your participation. It was pretty cool knowing that I could make a difference so early on in my career even still being three years away from applying to veterinary school. Most of the hands-on experiences you are given through this program you do not get the opportunity to do until possibly your third year of vet school so it provided me with a lot of foresight. This is possibly what made the free spay/neuter clinic that we ran my favorite part as you truly get immersed into what a day in the life of being a veterinarian both looks and feels like while running physical examinations and giving routine dewormer/vitamin injections to cats and dogs and get to connect with the owners at the same time. Never once did I ever feel unsupported or unsafe while working with the animals in Belize no matter how small or large they were (You get the opportunity to work with small animals such as cats/dogs as well as livestock including horses, beef/dairy cattle, goats, sheep, and swine). The staff (Dr. T and his brother the vet tech Ruben) were amazing in answering any questions we had and it literally felt like in my group that I had a second family abroad even though it was only for two weeks.
Belize was also a wonderful place to get to be immersed into a new culture as their primary language is English so it made it much easier to learn more about the country. The region is diverse with it taking only 2-3 hours to traverse and depending on where you want to go for the day you could be exploring the jungle, mountains, or one of the world's largest barrier reefs. Often outside of classes, we had time to go on excursions to explore the country a bit more and climbing Mayan ruins and snorkeling were definitely highlights of my experience while studying abroad. What I say is don't doubt yourself in choosing this program because it truly has given me memories and friendships that will last for a lifetime! Go Belize in yourself and choose CELA!
Wildlife course review
Submitted by Deetimes20 - Rutgers University | June 12, 2018
After reading through the syllabus, I was really looking forward to taking the Wildlife course. I encourage anyone who is interested in this course to look over the course material to see if what is done day to day is something that would interest them. There were a lot of components that were a lot more research based than I was expecting, such as the radio collar demo or the necropsy lab. That being said, the necropsy lab may have been one of the coolest things that we did. It was really awesome having such an up close and personal interaction with the staff at the Belize Zoo. The one downside was there was a lot of times where we were waiting around, as we were waiting for zookeeper to become free so we could do our activity. This is understandable as their obligation to the animals takes priority, it just made time pass slower when you weren’t doing anything. If you have a huge problem with bugs, you may want to take into consideration that this course does take place in the tropics. You are either in the Belize jungle or savanna. Some of the hikes we went on would have us with 20 mosquitos on our jacket trying to get through. You also have to take into consideration that where you are housed for this course, at the Tropical Education Center, does not have any air conditioning. They do provide you with plenty of fans, however it does get very hot and you will sweat a lot. We slept with mosquito nets around the beds and bugspray to bed and still got bit. That’s just part of living in the jungle though and the experiences you get at the zoo justify the bug bites. The other good part about this course is that both breakfast and dinner is provided through the Tropical Education Center. The TEC was GREAT at accomodating any food allergies or dietary restrictions. However if you are a picky eater, you just have to understand that they are giving you a plate of food every night for dinner, it is not like you are ordering off of a menu. Dr. Kneeland was an amazing instructor and really makes you feel safe. I felt as though I could go to her with any issues that I had, and she was also a great source of knowledge. Jane was also a great instructor and her knowledge on primates was immense. All of the staff of the zoo and TEC that we met were all very generous and did everything in their power to make sure we not only learned the most, but that we got the most out of the lessons.
Submitted by cat - Rutgers University | June 11, 2018
I really enjoyed my study abroad experience in Belize, the country and culture are very beautiful. This program was so fun and had many hands-on experiences, we got to see a lot of animals and have opportunities that I never thought I would have. The people we worked with were extremely kind and knowledge and I am grateful for what they have taught me.
Some flaws included: the focus wasn't so much focused on wildlife ecology and conservation as I had hoped, but was still interesting. As someone not interested in veterinary medicine, that was large portion that I wish there was less of, and would have preferred more population ecology and conservation. The lectures were also a bit dry and there was a lot of time wasted waiting around at the zoo. The living situation made it very easy to get close to your classmates, as we had to suffer together through the bug bites, lack of AC and WiFi, and separate facilities for the bathroom, sinks and showers. The homemade breakfast and dinner were delicious. Despite some inconveniences, as long as you embrace your time in Belize and have a positive outlook, you will enjoy it. Overall, the two week experience was worth it and I would recommend it.
Large animal veterinary medicine in the tropics
Submitted by Ccoynex3 - SUNY cobleskill | June 11, 2018
I absolutely loved this program and sit patiently waiting to put my TA application in!!! I can’t wait to be back already. I got very close with all of the other students but more so the staff! Thank you to everyone involved with this entire process and I’ll see you soon!
Go abroad with CELA!
Submitted by tschmeizer - University of Massachusetts at Amherst | June 09, 2018
Studying abroad with CELA was more than I could have ever asked for. I learned so much and the entire course had so much hands on experience! I never thought I would learn as much as I did, nor did I think I would make so many new lifelong friends. My group of 13 got along extremely well and we all plan to keep in touch. I was also able to connect with the people that live in Belize through the free spay and neuter clinic that was held. The vet, Dr. T, and his brother Ruben (the vet tech), were honestly the best. Not only did they teach us so much, but they took us to so many cool places that makes Belize so special.
Submitted by Christina - College of William and Mary | June 09, 2018
Not only did I get a lot of hands on experience with large animal medicine, which I've never had before, but I also got to see a lot of Belize. This program is a great mix of learning both veterinary medicine and exploring Belize!
So much experience and fun
Submitted by Alex - SUNY ESF | June 08, 2018
CELA was an amazing experience that provides cultural immersion as well as lots of actual field experience. I learned a lot about veterinary medicine through this program really enjoyed the full 2 weeks that the course ran. I wish I had the time to do the wildlife course and stay in Belize for another 2 weeks.
Study with CELA!!
Submitted by lphillip - John Carroll University | June 08, 2018
I was nervous going into this trip because I didn't find CELA through my school, but this has been incredible. Dr. T and Ruben are wonderful, the administrative workers are very helpful, and I made lifelong friends. Two weeks might not seem like a long time, but it will feel like you've been here for months (in a good way). The experiences you'll have on this trip are incomparable - snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea and horseback riding through a Belizean rainforest to name a few. The veterinary work is completely hands-on as well, as they allow students to give injections to animals, perform physical exams, and even suture after surgery. If you have the ability to take this class, do it. It will change your life.