Frequently Asked Questions

Each program has it's own set of FAQ's below.  The first set of FAQ's are for Belize.   The second set of FAQ's are for New Zealand, so skip to the end of the Belize FAQ's if you're only interested in the New Zealand program.

CCSP Belize Frequently Asked Questions:

How safe is it in Belize? 

Belize as a whole is a relatively safe country.  However, like most countries, there are certain areas that are not as safe as others.  The CCSP Belize staff will brief students on these areas and also give some general safety guidelines to practice while traveling in Belize and Central America. 

What is the climate like?  

Belize has two seasons, the wet season (fall semester) and the dry season (spring semester).  During the wet season, which starts the beginning of June and lasts until the end of January, you can expect rain showers fairly often with high temperatures often in the 90’s and high humidity.  During the dry season, lasting from the beginning of February until the end of May, Belize is very hot and dry, with average temperatures in the 100’s. 

Can I travel outside of Belize?  

During the CCSP Belize semester, you will travel to Guatemala for a CCSP sponsored fieldtrip.  We also encourage students to take advantage of being so close to Mexico and Guatemala, and travel to these countries during their fall or spring break.  It is easy to cross the borders, and there is much to see and do in our neighboring countries!

Will I be interacting with local Belizeans?  

Throughout the semester, you will interact and engage with many local Belizeans, whether that be the CCSP Belizean staff, guest speakers, CCSP friends and neighbors, and locals that you meet in town and in your travels.  The program also does four homestays during your semester in Belize, one being a two week homestay during the internship elective.

What is the language in Belize?  

The official language in Belize is English, but other languages you will hear are Spanish, Kriol, German, Mayan, and even some Mandarin.

How many credit hours are available?  

We offer 17 credit hours.  Of those credits, 15 are the core curriculum, and two are elective.

How many credit hours is the internship?  

The internship is a two credit hour course, and is only offered in the Belize program.  The internships are offered during a two week time period during the semester.

When will my internships be determined?  

The internship will be determined once you have arrived in Belize and have met with the Internship Coordinator.  Internships are usually arranged and assigned several weeks into the semester.  If you have specific requirements needed for an internship for your major or your school, you are encouraged to communicate these to the Internship Coordinator and he/she will accommodate those requirements as best they can.

May I have visitors when I am in the program?  

During the semester program, friends and family are welcome to come down to Belize and visit, but we do not provide housing for any visitors during the semester program.  We recommend that you contact the CCSP Belize program prior to booking any plane tickets for visitors to check the dates of your visitor’s stay to ensure that you will not be away on any field trips, homestays, or in the middle of a busy time in the semester.  If you decide to have visitors visit, the CCSP Belize staff are happy to recommend local and nearby accommodations.

How much does the program cost?  

Students come from different schools, and each school has different policies for the cost of study abroad programs.  It is best, therefore, to contact your home institution to get this information.  A rule of thumb is CCSP will cost approximately the same for tuition and room and board as it does at you’re home institution, however please check with your school to determine a more accurate cost estimate. 

In addition to tuition and room and board, students are responsible for the cost of travel to and from Belize (although we are aware of one school that contributes to the cost of airfare).  We do assist students, however, to buy the low price tickets by referring them to a travel agent specializing in international travel, and often (but not always) can find airline ticket prices that are tough to beat.

How will I get to and from the CCSP program?

Once you have been accepted into the program, you will receive information on arrival times and locations from CCSP.  Although we recommend a travel agent that can help you find and purchase your ticket, you are ultimately responsible for arranging your own air travel.  CCSP staff will organize transportation for you from the Belize airport to our campus.  If you decide to come early or leave at a later date than the program start and end dates, you are responsible for your transport to and from the airport.

When is the application deadline?  

The application deadlines for the CCSP program are:

Fall Semester – APPLY NOW! Spaces Still Available. Deadline Extended!

Spring Semester – October 31

What will I need to pack?  

Once you have been accepted into the program, you will receive a detailed packing list of everything you will need during your semester in Belize.

Do I need a passport/visa?  

Yes, you will need a passport to travel to Belize. Upon initial entry into Belize, you will receive a 30-day tourist visa.  Once students have arrived on campus, the CCSP staff will assist the students in receiving a student visa, which allows them to stay in Belize for the remainder of their time.

What vaccines/medications do I need to prepare for Belize?  

At the time of writing, the US Center for Disease Control (C.D.C.) website (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/belize.htm) recommends that travelers to Belize have the following vaccines:

• Routine: Recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots such as,
measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, etc.
• Hepatitis A
• Hepatitis B
• Typhoid
• Rabies
• Malaria prevention

Please check the C.D.C. website for up to the minute recommendations. See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for immunizations to take effect.

How much additional money will I need during the semester?  

During your time in Belize, you will need additional money to travel for both travel weekend and travel week.  You will also need money for any personal Internet use, personal outings in and out of town, and other personal excursions and tours you might like to do.  $300-500USD should be more than sufficient to meet these needs

Also, keep in mind, your costs for personal travel during the semester are dependent on the style of travel you choose and additional things you would like to do during your time in Belize. Ultimately your budget depends on the choices you make.

What is the exchange rate for Belizean dollars, and do I need to exchange money?

Belize has a fixed rate of 2:1.  So, for every 1USD you will receive 2BZD.  Most places in Belize accept USD, so there is no need to worry about exchanging your US dollars that you bring with you.

What is the best way to access money while in Belize?  

Money can easily be withdrawn from ATMs in Belize with a debit card, and some local businesses accept US credit cards and/or debit cards.  Please note that the ATMS’s do charge a small fee of a few dollars for international use.  Traveler’s checks can also be cashed in town at any bank.  CCSP Belize Staff highly recommend using the ATM’s that are available rather than bringing down large amounts of US dollars.

What kind of transportation is available in Belize?  

One thing you will love about Belize is the public transportation!  Belize has a great public bus system, with buses running every half hour up and down all the major highways.  Taxis and shuttles are also available. 

Who do I contact if I have more questions?  

For program specific questions, you can contact the Belize office at [email protected] or the New Zealand office at [email protected].  For general questions contact our US office at [email protected].

Will I be able to practice my Spanish?  

For those students who want to practice their Spanish, Belize is a good place to do so.  Spanish is the first language of many people that live in Belize, and you will be able to practice your Spanish in town, on campus with our Belizean staff, or during your homestays.  Students have also traveled into Guatemala during their break and spent their breaks in Spanish school.

What clothing will I need for my internship?  

The clothing you need for your internships depends on the kind of work you will be doing.  For those that want to work outside in agriculture, ecosystem restoration, or animal care, you will need long pants and closed toe shoes.  Those that want to work in a clinic or hospital will need medical scrubs.  Those that want to work in a school system or government and policy need to bring down more formal clothes such as skirts or slacks and modest tops. 

What are the semester dates?  

Please refer to the bottom of our home page for semester dates.

Where will I be staying while I am in Belize?  

While in Belize, you will be staying at Macal Commons, which is CCSP Belize's campus located in Santa Elena.  The campus is situated on 17 acres of jungle along the Macal River.  There are student dorm rooms on campus, along with other facilities such as the communal kitchen, dining room, classroom, library and staff housing.  The campus has over a mile of trails, an orchard and organic garden, and beautiful wildlife.  It is within walking distance of San Ignacio where students can access Internet, eat at local restaurants and do personal shopping.

I like to run!  Will I be able to run or exercise during my semester in Belize?  

Yes!  The CCSP Belize campus has a beautiful ¼ mile shaded driveway that students can jog or run at any time of the day.  Additionally, students have run in groups in and out of town. 

Will I be able to travel in Belize?  

In addition to program field trips in which you travel around most of Belize, the semester schedule allows for personal travel on free weekends, during a three-day break at the end of orientation, and over a mid-semester weeklong break. Students in the past have also chosen to arrive in Belize before the semester start date, or to stay after it finished in order to travel more.

 

CCSP New Zealand Frequently Asked Questions:

How safe is it in New Zealand?  

New Zealand is a relatively safe place to travel and live. However, like most places in North America, traveling in New Zealand involves some risk. We strongly recommend that all students exercise caution when traveling. 

What is the climate like?  

New Zealand is known for having “four seasons in one day”, the country has an extremely changeable climate with a high rainfall. Temperatures may fluctuate from 15-25 degrees Celsius (on a beautiful summer day) to below zero degrees Celsius at night in the mountains during our NZ fieldtrips or in the late winter (August/September).

Will I be able to travel in New Zealand?  

In addition to program field trips, the semester schedule allows for personal travel on free weekends, during a three-day break at the end of orientation, and over a mid-semester weeklong break. Students in the past have also chosen to arrive in New Zealand before the semester start date, or to stay after it finished in order to travel more.

Can I travel outside of New Zealand?  

Yes. Past students have traveled to Australia during their term break, and others have included a stopover in other location in the South Pacific on their airline itinerary when come to or returning from New Zealand.

Will I be interacting with local New Zealanders?  

Yes. Some of our program staff are from New Zealand. You will also have the opportunity to meet local families during a home stay weekend early in the semester. Your level of involvement off campus will depend on your interests and willingness to seek out activities in the Kaikoura community.

How many credit hours are available?

At the CCSP New Zealand program we offer 16 credit hours each semester. All students take the same four classes.

May I have visitors when I am in the program?  

Yes! It can be exciting to have family and friends visit you in New Zealand. We cannot guarantee accommodation at our campus for guests but would happily recommend local accommodation. We recommend that you contact the New Zealand program prior to booking any plane tickets for visitors to check the dates of your visitor’s stay to ensure that you will not be away traveling on a field trip. In general the mid-term break week is a good time to travel with friends and family.

How much does the program cost?  

Students come from different schools, and each school has different policies for the cost of study abroad programs.  It is best, therefore, to contact your home institution to get this information.  A rule of thumb is CCSP will cost approximately the same for tuition and room and board as it does at you’re home institution, however, please check with your school to determine a more accurate cost estimate. 

In addition to tuition and room and board, students are responsible for the cost of travel to and from New Zealand (although we are aware of one school that contributes to the cost of airfare).  We do assist students to buy low price tickets, however, by referring them to a travel agent who can help book everyone on a group ticket.  Participating in a group booking, however, is completely optional.

How will I get to and from the CCSP program?  

Once you have been accepted into the program you will receive information on arrival times and locations from CCSP. Although we work with a travel agent to organize a group airline itinerary at a discounted price, you are ultimately responsible for arranging your own air travel. CCSP staff will organize transportation for you from the Christchurch airport to our campus in Kaikoura.

When is the application deadline?  

The application deadlines for the New Zealand Program are:

Fall Semester – APPLY NOW! Spaces Still Available. Deadline Extended!What will I need to pack?  

Spring Semester – October 31

Once you have been accepted into the program we will send you a detailed packing list with everything you’ll need to bring along for your semester in New Zealand.

Do I need a passport/visa?

Yes, you will need a passport that is valid until 6 months after your intended stay in New Zealand.  Once you have been accepted into the program we will send you information about applying for a visa.

What vaccines do I need to prepare for New Zealand?  

At the time of writing, the US Center for Disease Control (C.D.C.) website (http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationNewZealand.aspx) recommends that travelers to New Zealand have the following vaccines:

• Routine: Recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine shots such as,
measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT) vaccine, etc.
• Hepatitis B:

Please check the C.D.C. website for up to the minute recommendations. See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for immunizations to take effect.

How much additional money will I need during the semester?  

Costs to budget for include internet access in town, going out for coffee, movies or ice-cream; restocking supplies of personal hygiene products, laundry, purchasing gifts and souvenirs etc.  With some exceptions, the cost of living is approximately the same or slightly less expensive in New Zealand than the U.S.  $250-450USD should be more than sufficient to meet these needs

Your costs for personal travel during the semester are dependent on the style of travel you choose. In the past, students have spent between $350USD (for cheap back-packing and/or camping travel) and $1,700USD (for more expensive travel including air-flights, and specialized adventure activities). Ultimately your budget depends on the choices you make.

What is the best way to access money while in New Zealand?

Money can easily be withdrawn from ATMs in New Zealand with a debit card, and many businesses accept US credit cards and/or debit cards.  (Do not have family send personal checks as you will not be able to cash them here!) We also recommend that you bring a small amount in US currency in case you are unable to use your bankcards.

What kind of transportation is available in New Zealand?  

There are a number of bus services that pass through Kaikoura, as well as a train service, and several rental car options. The closest airports are in Blenheim and Christchurch. In general public transportation in New Zealand is easy to use and accessible.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?

Please contact the New Zealand program at [email protected], or contact Chris Elisara in the US administration office at (530) 865 9601.

Can I audit a class?  

No, all students are required to take classes for credit.

What is there to do around Kaikoura?  

CCSP maintains a fleet of bicycles to make the area more accessible to our students and staff. There are numerous hike and walks, around the Kaikoura peninsula, and in the Seaward Kaikoura Mountains. Kaikoura is a center for Marine tourism in New Zealand and is an excellent place to kayak, surf, paddleboard, snorkel, or freedive for Paua and Crayfish. On campus opportunities for gardening abound.

What are the semester dates?  

Please refer to the bottom of our home page for semester dates.

Where will I be staying while I am in New Zealand?  

Our campus at the historic Old Convent is located in the rural Kaikoura Flats, an expanse of dairy farmland before the start of the impressive 2600m (8530ft.) rise of the Seaward Kaikoura Mountain Range. Located on the east coast of the South Island, it is two and a half hours north of Christchurch and two hours south of Picton.

Can I stay on campus during breaks?  

Our campus is closed during the student trip weekend at the end of orientation, and during the mid-semester break.