Home Stay: A Day in the Life


An exciting part of many study abroad programs is a homestay. A homestay allows you to see how Belizeans truly live and immerses you into the culture. While staying at the BFREE station and campsites will show you a lot of Belize, the homestay will allow you to gain a better perspective of the culture while connecting with local families on a personal level.

A typical home in southern Belize, is very simple and minimally furnished. While it may appear very different than what you are used to, you will soon discover that everything you need is there.  There is generally one large room that is the main living area outfitted with hammocks, a table and a few chairs. The kitchen may be part of this main room or it could be a separate thatched structure.  Toilets and bathing areas are private areas outside of the main house. Families often have farm animals such as chickens and pigs.

1909606_507664749016_1073_n_30230706674_oThe family you will be staying with is pre-approved by the BFREE staff and each family is so excited to share their home with you. Families usually have small children who will be eager to meet you and some of the family members will speak English. Meals are eaten with your host family and you should ask to help cook – it is truly an incredible experience and a great way to get to know your family better! A typical meal consists of tortillas, chicken, beans, rice and vegetables.  If you have any dietary restrictions, such as allergies or intolerances, let BFREE know and we will notify your family in advance.

1909606_507664180156_9424_n_30746415022_oBelizeans tend to be fairly shy, especially the women, so don’t be offended if they seem hesitant to get to know you. Come prepared to tell a few stories about what your life is like and to ask a few questions about their life. You can even show pictures of your house and your family. If you would like to take a photo of your host family or a photo with the family, please make sure you ask permission first. Photos are still not very common in their culture so their approval is important. If you look at photos of students with their homestay families you may notice not many people are smiling. Their facial expression doesn’t mean they’re upset, rather they simply approach photos differently than we do.


While not required, you are encouraged to bring a small gift for your homestay family to thank them for opening their homes and lives to you. Some typical gifts that the families love are kitchen items such as hand towels, spatulas and spoons, and gifts for the children such as books, soccer balls or board games. In Belize it is hard to come across these items, and when they do the items are incredibly expensive. Gifts are not only useful to the family, they serve as reminder of your visit and your new friendship.

The homestay family will teach you what it is like to live in Belize and introduce you to a different way of life. The students won’t be the only ones learning though, each homestay family is excited to get to know you and learn about your life in the states. The families are ready for you, get excited for them.


A Day at Lime Caye


Lime Caye is an exciting destination and snorkeling here is probably one of the most adventurous parts of your journey. While every student going to Lime Caye looks forward to the snorkeling, the little island has so much more to offer. Your days at Lime Caye are going to be full of adventure, wild life and so many memories.

seacucumberLime Caye is located within the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve, a nationally protected marine reserve established in 1996. The island  is amongst the southern most group of islands in the Belize Barrier Reef which is the second longest barrier reef in the entire world.

As your day at Lime Caye begins you will eat breakfast, probably fry jacks, creole bread, or Johnny cake,  which are all local favorites. From there you’ll get ready to snorkel and adventure the waters near Lime Caye. Be sure to lather up with some environmentally friendly sunscreen before you hop in to the water to avoid burns and hurting the reef. On your first snorkel the Marine staff will fit you for the gear they have provided and give a tutorial about how to use it. Don’t be worried if you’re not a strong swimmer or have never snorkeled before, the buoyant snorkel vest will keep you floating and the staff is always near by if you have any questions or concerns. While you’re snorkeling you will come across many marine organisms you may not recognize. Feel free to ask the staff what they are and any other questions you have about them. Like the student pictured to the left, you may have just come across a Sea Cucumber! Before touching any wildlife make sure to ask your guide if it is okay, they know which ones you can touch and how you should handle them. Touching some of the animals or coral could hurt you or the wildlife so this is extremely important. Your snorkel trip will last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, then it’s time to head back to shore, dry off, and get ready for some island activities.

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-11-00-08-amLime Caye has plenty of entertainment for during the snorkeling breaks. Whether you are playing volleyball, journaling, preparing your project if you have one, exploring the island, having a hermit crab race or just relaxing on the beach, the time will fly by and soon it will be lunch time! For lunch you can usually expect tortillas, beans, rice and steamed veggies. If your group goes fishing, fresh seafood caught by you will also be served. These foods are all Belizean favorites and are staples to their meals at home. After lunch you’ll have a little bit more of down time and then it’s time to hop back in the Caribbean Sea!

Depending on how long each snorkel trip ifishs, you may go snorkel for a third time or you may head over to Hunting Caye. Hunting Caye is an adjacent Caye where the Belize Fisheries Department and the Belizean Coast Guard will give a presentation. The presentation will be all about how they control illegal fishing, the laws of the marine reserve, and some of the wildlife you may have encountered. If a marine biologist is also at the presentation you’ll likely learn about the lion fish, the coral reef, and any project they are working on at the time. Feel free to ask them questions, they love to talk about Belize and give the students as much information as possible.

Once the presentation is over you’ll head back to Lime Caye to grab some dinner and relax for the night. You can expect food similar to lunch, a stew, or a new recipe if Ms. Sandra is feeling creative. Many students like to take a little nap in a hammock while they watch the sunset from the beach. Once you start to get tired, which will probably be early after such an adventurous day, you can grab a shower and head off to bed. While staying at Lime Caye you will be sleeping in a dorm like building, each room has two bunk beds prepared for you when you arrive. If you dare to be different, some students will stay in a tent or even sleep in a hammock.

Whether you are at Lime Caye for a night or for three nights you are guaranteed to have an adventurous story to tell about the locals, the animals and plants you saw in the sea, or even the hermit crab races. The island is calling you, get ready to answer.