I am traveling to Belize from May 4 until May 22 for a research project. I am an accounting major with an international business minor, and I chose this study abroad opportunity for the unique experiences it offers. As an accounting major, it is rare for me to have hands-on research opportunities. Several factors influenced my decision, including time, money, and location. I liked the idea of only being away from home for a month, and the cost was very effective for earning six credit hours. Belize is a unique country I might never visit later in life. Before deciding to go abroad, one key consideration was whether the overall experience would be worth the cost. By the end of my trip, I will have my answer.

To prepare for going abroad, I researched Belize and the class I would participate in, GY 450. I also attended study-abroad meetings and discussed my concerns and questions with Dr. Steinberg. Mental preparation was also significant. I worried about my swimming skills and possibly falling behind in classes, but conversations with Dr. Steinberg and insights from past students helped calm my nerves. I traveled with a carry-on and a backpack, considering that Belize might not be accessible to rolling luggage. I packed washable clothes, swimsuits, toiletries, school-related items, snacks, and charging cords. I prepared my luggage before finals week to avoid additional stress. Though packing was exhausting, it was also thrilling, marking the imminent start of my adventure.

Before studying abroad, I had several thoughts: What if I chose the wrong program? What if I get stuck in Belize? Will I miss home and get homesick? Will I be able to keep up with schoolwork and still have free time? While I was very excited about my program, standing in the airport and boarding my flight made me suddenly nervous and anxious about what awaited me. Now, a few days into my trip, all my worries have subsided, and so far, this has been the best experience of my life.

I hope to gain research experience, make long-lasting friends, and create life experiences that will stay with me always. I am excited to learn about the Atlantic Ocean, Belizean culture, and how to snorkel. My primary goal is to enhance my research experience and apply it to my future in business.