Why Study in Belize?
Belize draws a number of international students. It is considered the opportunity to study in a natural living laboratory, with the diverse ecosystems, it gives people studying biology and other natural studies the chance to study in a hands-on way. The beaches and beautiful climate makes it even more appealing to international students. Add to this the rich history, diverse culture and English studies, and the country provides students with excellent opportunities. It's also strategically located, not far from the United States, Central America or South America.
About Belize Universities
Belize is home to about five university or colleges that offer associates, bachelors and other undergraduate degrees. The academic calendar is split into two semesters, one that runs from August through December and one that runs from January through May. Students may be offered a summer term as well, depending on the university's setup.
Cost of Study
International students are welcomed and actually encouraged to attend universities in Belize. However, the cost of an education is higher for students from out of the country than for those who reside in Belize. Belizean universities and colleges typically charge tuition based on a credit hour. Students from Belize pay significantly less, as do those who have the status of permanent residency. Registration fees, room and board, exam fees and lab fees are all added to this as well.
Opportunities for Graduates
Because these are internationally recognized universities, students who graduate with a degree from a school in Belize will be able to enjoy many career possibilities throughout the world. They will be particularly adept at understanding the culture and people of Central America and the Caribbean.
Belize sits on the eastern coast of Central America and boasts a diverse number of ecosystems in a relatively small country. As the only country in Central America with the official language of English, Belize attracts tourists and students alike. Its location between Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea make ideally placed, especially for tourism.
Belize is a diverse nation where English, Spanish and Belizean Creole are all spoken. The diversity seen in its natural side is also seen in its society, with many different cultures calling the area home. The country has one of the highest population growth rates in the region.
Throughout its history, Belize has been known for many different things. Its culture is strongly tied to the culture of the Caribbean, with a definite Latin American twist. The country is the birthplace of chewing gum as well as punta music, and it is known for its September Celebrations, a combination of the National Day and Independence Day, two holidays held only 11 days apart. During this holiday time, parades, festivals, pageants and numerous additional festivities are enjoyed by people throughout the country.
Practical Information for Studying in Belize
The People and Culture
Belize is an ethnically diverse country where over half of the people speak both English and Spanish. The main religion is Roman Catholic, followed by Protestantism. The population is growing both due to the growth of the local population and the increase in immigration as people discover the rich beauty of this seaside community.
The climate is Belize is one of the factors that draws many to the country to study. It is a tropical climate with definite wet and dry seasons. Temperatures stay warm almost all year long, and sun is common even in the rainy season. Hurricanes are the may weather risk in Belize.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Belize is fairly low, although it's not the lowest in the area. Average rent for a house in Belize, for example, is $400 USD, which is less than many other areas. Students can live on-campus to save money on housing and utilities as well.
The cost for healthcare is also fairly reasonable in Belize, although not quite the same as other neighboring countries for serious medical ailments. Most illnesses and injuries can be treated well and for a low cost. Students should consult with their insurance provider before traveling to Belize, but even without insurance coverage, many will be able to afford the medical care they need.
Traveling to Belize is not difficult for students with a valid passport. A visa is required for those who are not from America, Canada, Singapore, Jamaica, Australia, Malaysia, Mexico or the EU. Once in the country, students can apply for a student's visa with a letter of admission from an accredited institution in Belize.
One concern for international students studying in Belize is the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the country. Belize has one of the highest rates of this disease in Central America, so students will need to make wise decisions. Also, crime rates are fairly high and the country's involvement in the local drug trade is growing, so students will need to know how to stay safe.