How to study abroad

Hi! Jina here; thank you for reading. I’m currently enjoying a six month vacation on a small Caribbean island you’ve probably never heard of. I am a college graduate from New Hampshire, and have a B.A. in Psychology and A.S. in Addictions. I have a strong passion for writing, seeing the world, existential conversations, crossword puzzles, big words, puns, motivational speeches, and my cat. I detest fighting over the internet, traffic, war, people who are intolerant of other people’s culture, and the Dutch. I have been exploring a professional career in writing over the past two years and couldn’t be happier.

Before I am prepared to answer that question, I feel I would be doing you an injustice if I didn’t give you some personal background; don’t worry, it’ll be short and sweet. I’m 26 years old, soon to be 27. I have been dating a man for almost two years, and we are both indigenous to New Hampshire. Over the past two years, we felt that this would be the right time to spread our proverbial wings and take a huge leap of faith. And leap we did.

Me: “Do you know how cheap it is to live in Central America?”
Boyfriend: “Let’s do it.”

That was basically all it took, along with the help of Google, of course. If you type into Google, “Cheapest places to live”, most countries you will find will take you into Central or South America. From there, it’s really down to personal preference. Do you want to go to a place that speaks predominately Spanish or English? Do you want to live by water, or perhaps near/in a lovely resort? Are you partial to a small village, or near ancient ruins? I don’t know about you, but living on an island sounded more than appealing. We immediately were drawn to Belize; not only because it’s extraordinarily cheap, but it’s beautiful as well.
Though every fantasy has its drawbacks. Belize City is extremely dangerous. I’m talking numerous murders every day, corrupt law enforcement, hubs of drug trafficking, men beating their wives and children, corrupt government, and if you screw up and land yourself in jail, the only thing to do is sit in a corner and suck your thumb. Not to mention being a tourist? Gringos? Yeah, they could do without us. So, being pragmatic, we decided to look at Ambergris Caye, and Caulker Caye. Yes, still part of Belize, though slightly removed—well, a lot removed.
Without visiting the island(s) ahead of time, we decided (after reading copious blog posts comments, forums, you name it) Caulker Caye was it. Allow me to tell you why: Caulker Caye’s (as you know by now) logo is “Go Slow”. I think I took this more literally than the natives, but it’s true, things are molasses down there. Ambergris, from what I’ve read is busy busy busy. I’ve read it to be littered, more dangerous, more touristy, and about twice as expensive. We decided that we didn’t care about nightlife, the pristine beaches, convenience, or resorts. We weren’t there to party, we just wanted to relax and unwind. Ambergris is busy on a few streets, any longterm housing would require us to be further away, ergo making it more expensive (traveling by taxi/golf cart), or more dangerous if we rode on bikes (tourist crimes).
Caulker Caye’s main language is English; that was a huge plus. We also found that there was a large population of expats, which would ease the acclimation. We found long-term housing far more affordable, the groceries, restaurants, and living expenses all seemed within our budget. We liked the idea that we could go fishing and catch our own dinner at night. We liked that the outlets are the same as the US, and that our apartment came fully furnished, that the population fluctuates between 800-1,400 people. Did I mention the water is typically always be around 80-88 degrees? Honestly, after doing months of research, we realized that this pipe dream could metastasize into what would lead us to our own little reality. Thus the planning commenced.

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