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Columbus student’s Belize trip provides unique veterinary insight and impacts local community

Posted: Saturday, July 22, 2023. 8:28 am CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: Isabel Sanchez, a 21-year-old biology student at Franklin College, recently ventured far beyond her Columbus hometown to delve into a unique cultural and educational experience in Belize. Selected as part of a volunteer team for the study-abroad organization CELA Belize, Sanchez spent an impactful two weeks caring for animals, engaging with the local community, and gaining unparalleled insight into veterinary medicine.

CELA Belize’s large animal veterinary medicine program is designed to bring students face-to-face with the realities and challenges of animal care in a distinctly different environment from the United States. Sanchez’s involvement in this initiative saw her actively volunteering at working ranches and local farms in Belize, caring for horses, sheep, cattle, and pigs.

To equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to support animals in the tropics, CELA Belize facilitated a comprehensive course focusing on the husbandry and health issues facing Belizean farm animals. “The amount of information I learned in two weeks was immense!”, said an enthusiastic Sanchez. “Working directly with Dr. Tesecum and seeing how he interacted with the community was a wonderful learning experience.”

Sanchez’s Belizean journey was not only about gaining veterinary knowledge but also about immersion in the local culture. Despite its geographical proximity to the US, Belize presents a vastly different set of environmental and farming challenges. Over 50% of the nation is covered in rainforests, providing unique conservation and learning opportunities for students like Sanchez.

In addition to working with farm animals, Sanchez and her team conducted a free small pet clinic for local pet owners, providing essential healthcare services to pets in the community. The team also had a chance to explore San Ignacio Town.

CELA Belize runs a range of animal science and veterinary programs for undergraduate and veterinary students, offering unique educational experiences. These two-week programs, available in summer and winter, even offer college credits through Iowa Wesleyan University, making them a valuable part of any student’s academic journey.

Sanchez’s inspiring experience exemplifies the transformational power of study-abroad programs, demonstrating how they can provide invaluable real-world learning experiences, foster cultural exchanges, and have a profound impact on local communities.

For more details on Isabel Sanchez’s Belize experience, visit The Republic’s full article.


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