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Getting to know Belize and Suriname through KDIS Students

  • Date 2022-06-15 15:09
  • CategoryNews
  • Hit938

Studying at KDIS will not only mean you will have a lot of conversations about your own country, what it is known for or where it is located on the map, especially if you are from a lesser well-known country.  It will also mean you will spend your time learning about other students’ countries too, and some of these you probably have never heard of, know little about, or have never had the opportunity to get to know someone from them – particularly if they have small populations. Ryan, from Belize, and Simone, from Suriname, are two students from such small, less well-known countries; a lot of KDI students have never heard of their countries, so we will be sharing some insights that only a citizen can share from their country!

Ryan Bood-Usher, Master of Development Policy, Fall 2021

Belize is a Caribbean country located in Central America; Belize borders Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and Guatemala. It has a population of just under 500, 000 people and is home to the 2nd largest barrier reef which has been declared a UNESCO heritage site. Ryan and two other students are currently enrolled at KDIS.

Here are some other interesting facts shared by Ryan about Belize!


What are the common misconceptions about Belize?

There are misconceptions about where it is located on the map, some people have thought it’s in Africa! Because Belize is so culturally and racially diverse, it is confusing to some people about where it is since it is a fusion of both Caribbean and Latin cultures. While English is an official language, there are some parts of Belize that can speak Spanish while others can speak their version of Creole known as Belizean Creole which is the common dialect.


What is the cuisine like?

As a result of our diversity, there is both Latin and Caribbean influences in our food. Belize is known for a hot sauce that is carrot based, and I have shared it with some of my fellow students and they love it, and we have wonderful spices as well! Oxtail is also well loved and pig tail which is even more delicious.

Another fun fact: We have a Belize Rat Dish known as Gibnut, and it is known as the Royal Rat dish as the Queen had enjoyed the meal when she visitedon an official visit some years ago.

What is  Belize known for?

We are exporters of agricultural products like sugar, fruit and vegetables. We also attract tourists who enjoy snorkeling, fishing and swimming and it’s a great place to visit and enjoy road trips. Belize is known for the Mayan Temples, and those are a must see as you are allowed to walk on them which isn’t common for heritage sites. I would love to have some KDIS students visit when we can move more easily in the future.


Simone Knott, Master of Public Management, Fall 2021

Suriname is in Central America and has a population of just under 600,000, the smallest country in South America. Like Belize, Suriname has a diverse and rich culture with Caribbean influence and Dutch heritage. The country is mostly a rain forest and has protected sites. The official languages of the country are Dutch and Sranan Tongo, an English based version of Creole. Simone is currently our only student from Suriname.


What are the common misconceptions about Suriname?

People like to assume I am from Africa but what is even more common is people not knowing about Suriname or where it is located on a map. I meet a lot of people who had never heard about it before. Belize is also extremely racially and religiously diverse and all cultures live together harmoniously. It is one of the few places where you can have a mosque and synagogue on the same street.


What is the cuisine like?

The food in Suriname is a fusion of various influences that are Indian, Chinese and Indonesian. Popular dishes include nasi goreng, satay and roti. Because of our Dutch influence, we have a popular meal called “Ryst bruine bunen met pom e pastei”, a bit of a mouthful to say but it is a rice and beans dish.


What is Suriname known for?

Suriname is the only country in Central America that does not have Spanish as a working language, we use Dutch instead.

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Lesego Barona Otlhabanye

2021 FALL / MDP / Botswana

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