Belize: Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions (Updated 9-7-14)
Question: Will not being a student at Texas Tech hurt my chances of being accepted to the program?
Answer: Not at all! Last summer we had students from many different universities participate on the program. However, preference will be given to students who plan to enroll for credit at Texas Tech.
Question: What is the difference between the two sessions besides cost?
Answer: Session 1 is three nights longer than Session 2. It will likely include an overnight trip to see the site of Caracol. During Session 1 students will work on the processional architecture project and at Kaxil Uinic, the historic Maya village about 1 mile from Chan Chich. In Session 2, students will work on the processional architecture project and the British logging camp of Qualm Hill, which is about a 20 minute drive from Chan Chich. Additionally, Dr. Houk will be away from the group for approximately 3 or 4 nights during Session 2 to attend the Belize Archaeology and Anthropology Symposium. While he is gone, the associate project director, Dr. Gregory Zaro of the University of Maine, will supervise the field school.
Question: How many hours is the field school worth?
Answer: The field school is worth 6-hours of credit (ANTH 4642) for those students who enroll at Texas Tech University.
Question: Why is the program fee so high?
Answer: Actually, the program fee is comparable to other field schools in Belize. However, we realize this is a lot of money. The costs of living at Chan Chich are much higher than living in a tent, and the costs of transportation to Chan Chich are higher than many programs located closer to the airport. A share of the program fees also goes to cover the project staff's costs (one supervisor is required by the government for every four students) and the fee charged by the Belizean government to operate a field school in the country. The program fee covers your room and board for 25 or 28 nights at the lodge, along with all your in-country transportation costs, laundry, and the cost of a day trip to visit nearby sites.
When comparing program costs, be aware that some programs do not include food (and sometimes lodging) on weekends or off days. The Chan Chich program does include those costs.
If you were a regular tourist staying at Chan Chich for the same length of time, it would cost you approximately $8,300.
Question: Can the lodge accomodate vegeterian and/or Celiac diets?
Answer: Yes, although the fare may be simplier than the regular menu. It will likely include lots of rice, beans, corn, etc.
Question: Do I need a travel visa to go to Belize?
Answer: No. Students from the US and Canada only need a valid passport. When you arrive in Belize, tell the immigration agent that you will be staying for 30 days (if you plan on traveling before or after the field school), and he or she will stamp your passport with a 30-day visa.
Question: The electronic materials on the online application
Answer: No. Study Abroad will make arrangements for you to view the orientation on DVD or online.
Question: In order to make flight reservations... what time will the group be assembling on the first day of the program at the Goldson International Airport? What about departure time?
Answer: Make the best arrangements for your needs in terms of flights and arrival times with one exception (see below). I will arrive at the airport in time to meet the first students' flights. We will leave as a group in a chartered van about 3:30 or 4:00, after the last mid-afternoon flights have arrived. The best time to arrive is mid afternoon. If you arrive in the morning you may have to sit around the airport all day. The one exception is late afternoon flights. If you plan on arriving after 4:00 p.m., you should come in the day before. We cannot wait at the airport for flights coming in after about 4:00 because we will be driving through the jungle. It is not safe to do so after dark. If you come in the day before you will be responsible for your own lodging and transportation to and from the airport to meet the group on the first day.
As for departure times, book an afternoon flight. Because Chan Chich is remote, we cannot get you to the airport in time for a morning departure. If you book a morning flight, you may be responsible for getting yourself to the airport.
Question: When should I buy my plane ticket?
Answer: Do not purchase a ticket until you have been advised by Dr. Houk to do so. After that, many travel sites recommend purchasing an international ticket approximately 6 weeks before departure.
Question: What happens if I miss my flight to Belize and arrive a day late?
Answer: If you miss your flight, you will be responsible for getting to Chan Chich Lodge on your own. This can be an expensive task if there is not a scheduled airport run by either the project or the lodge. We will do everything we can to assist you, but the project cannot spare a vehicle or staff member to drive to the airport for late arrivers.
Question: What sort of immunizations are required/advisable?
Answer: Because I am not a medical doctor, I can't advise you on that. You should check with your physician. However, no specific immunizations are required by the program for you to participate.
Question: When are the full program, insurance, and study abroad fees due? Can they be paid in the same manner as the deposit? Is a personal check acceptable?
Answer: For Texas Tech students, all program costs, including insurance, will be billed to your student business account. For students from other universities, your full payment will be due 1 week before departure. You may pay with personal check. International students may pay with a credit card over the phone. More details will be made available when the deposit is due.
Question: Are there any scholarships available? Answer: Students enrolled at Texas Tech can apply for the Study Abroad Competitive Scholarship and may qualify for other scholarships. Please see this link for more information.
Question: In regards to the "Texas Tech University Release and Hold Harmless Agreement"... this requires the signature of a notary from the state of Texas... what do I do if I am not from Texas?
Answer: We will send you a different form to sign if you do not live in Texas.
Question: If I am not a student at Texas Tech, do I have to pay the fee for tuition?
Answer: You only pay the tuition fee IF you enroll for credit at Texas Tech. All Texas residents must enroll for credit at Texas Tech and sign up for ANTH 4642, but students from out of state are not required to enroll for credit at Texas Tech.
Question: If I am a non-Texas Tech student and I want to enroll at Texas Tech for course credit, what's the first step?
Answer: The first step is get admitted to Texas Tech for the summer. To do that, please email Elizabeth McDaniel in the Study Abroad office and let her know that you are participating in the Field School for Maya Archaeology and wish to be admitted to Texas Tech for the summer. She will need the following information from you: Full Name, Date of Birth, Street Address, City, State, ZIP Code, Telephone, Email, and Home institution.