I feel that I have to start by saying that this is inevitably going to be one of the best experiences of my life. I’m over halfway through my trip now and It’s been everything I imagined and so much more. When I first arrived in Belize I was hit by heat, humidity, and pure excitement. Every little worry I had disappeared almost immediately. We basically drove from the northernmost end of Belize to the southernmost end, via bus, on the first day. The first week was spent on a small island, that you can’t even find on a map. No air conditioning, no cell service, and very limited electricity. I thought I would miss these very basic things that we take for granted, but I really didn’t find myself missing any of them. Time goes by differently without all of it. Days drag on, but in the best way possible. I found myself getting up at sunrise, no matter how late I stayed up the night before. I look forward to every snorkel each day. I’ve learned so much more about Caribbean biodiversity than I expected to. This trip has been packed with surprises, from the lack of sunburn to making friends where I never expected to. Funnily enough, I’ve gone from having a healthy fear of the ocean to having an unhealthy lack of fear. I probably should’ve expected that though. There was more diversity, among my small class of 22, than I expected and I was surprised to find many non-science majors. I think that was an eye-opening experience for me. We spent a couple of days on the mainland helping with a reforestation effort and touring a couple of Mayan ruins. It was nice to dive into the cultural immersement aspect of the trip for a few days. We ended up planting 320 trees in an area that had been damaged by past hurricanes. It was one of the most gratifying things we’ve done yet. After heading back out on the boats to a slightly bigger island (South Water Caye), the days started to fly by. I can’t believe there’s only a week left. I know that I could easily spend a full semester here. Our group research comes along day by day and we’ve started drawing some conclusions from our findings. Despite how long the days are here, I can’t help but feel like I’m going to blink and it’ll all be over. I’ve met a lot of awesome people and learned so much since this trip has begun. The past couple of weeks have been nothing short of incredible and I would recommend this trip to absolutely anyone.

Nurse shark