Wow, that flew by. Though looking back on just how many memories I have just of these 18 days makes me feel like I was there for months. What a beautiful country to visit and an amazing group of friends to share it with. I can’t speak for future groups, but I truly felt like I was close with everyone by the end of just a couple weeks. Much of this trip didn’t allow for good cellular reception or WI-FI, which forced everyone to get to know each other and make friends. I truly believe that much of the group will be in touch long after this trip, and that alone makes this experience worth it. Though I am happy to be back home and getting into my normal routine, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t return to South Water Caye with my new friends in a heartbeat.

Being forced away from social media and the daily comforts that we sometimes forget we even have living in the United States really opened my perspective. As is often said “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone,” and I wholeheartedly agree. Being able to experience the homes and daily activities of some locals, as well as hear stories from our guides, was very interesting to compare with the way I live back home. In Belize, conservation of the land and wildlife is a top priority. To begin to connect with nature in the way that the locals have been raised to was a valuable experience that I will bring back with me. I have never been to a place where people are so knowledgeable about and comfortable with the things living around them.

This experience was once-in-a-lifetime, and I am so grateful to have been a part of it. I could not be more happy with the group I was able to share it with, as well as the wonderful guides and employees assisted us in learning about this beautiful country. Not everyone is able to see places like Belize in their lifetimes, and these memories will stay with me forever. I will remember the beautiful reefs and coastline, the vibrant jungle, the kind and knowledgeable locals, and the delicious food that all came together to make this experience. To those interested, know that you will be roughing it a little on this trip. However, it is part of connecting with the environment you are in, and there really aren’t many places in the world with as much to explore as Belize. Finally, a special thanks to the TA’s and Dr. Steinberg for providing this adventure of a class to those who are interested.