Where in the World is Miami Wednesday: Belize

A pyramid is visible in the background. Grace stands close to camera and wears a face covering

In this week's Where in the World is Miami Wednesday, we meet Grace Berry, a junior Zoology major and Spanish minor who studied abroad in Belize during the summer of 2021.

What did you study in your program?

I studied veterinary medicine. The program was focused on large animal medicine and marine conservation. I spent one week learning about veterinary medicine with cattle, horses, pigs, and sheep. I spent another week snorkeling in the Caribbean and learning about factors affecting coral reefs and different marine ecology.

Dressed in medical scrubs, Grace tends to a horse

Why did you choose your study abroad program?

I had not had any experience with large animal medicine prior to my program's trip, and I wanted to work with those animals to gather clarity about the type of animals I work with in the future. The program also focused on marine conservation, which isn't something I would get a chance to study up close in Ohio. I care a lot about conservation (I even participated in a book club about climate change), and I've always been drawn to the ocean. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn about something important to me in a place so unfamiliar.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your experience?

This was a two week program so it wasn't a long trip, but it was action-packed and filled with hands-on experience. Because of the pandemic, I traveled with a smaller group of students, which meant that we got more hands on experience than I would've gotten otherwise.

Cattle in a pen
Grace performs surgery on a patient
A hand with a syringe is seen at the side of a scene of cattle in a pen

What are the coolest places you have visited on your program?

I visited the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins, which were breathtaking and unlike anything I'd seen before. I also spent a week in San Pedro, Belize, which was an island unlike anything I'd visited before. It was a golf cart island with so many local artisan shops. It definitely isn't something found in the U.S. The sun also hits differently there! I've never experienced more intense sunlight. I would love to go back.

Nurse Sharks
(very harmless!)

What was your favorite part of your program?

My favorite part of the program was snorkeling in the Caribbean coral reefs off the coast of San Pedro. That experience was something nobody can get in the U.S. I snorkeled in Shark Ray Alley, Coral Gardens, and Hol Chan, which were all beautiful and filled with marine life I never expected to see in my lifetime.

How has the study abroad experience changed you?

My trip helped me get more comfortable putting myself out there. I didn't want to miss any opportunity while in Belize, so I made sure to try every single experience. This trip helped me become more adventurous and brave because I did things so outside of my comfort zone. And I would do them all again!

Where in the World is Miami Wednesday is a news article series that features Miami students studying abroad/away and international students. Catch us next week as we continue to travel around the world to feature the amazing opportunities that Miami students are taking and the experiences our alumni have had since graduating!

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