Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official language.
The benefits of Belize being English speaking are many. Mostly though, being able to communicate with the people, build relationships, and quickly be immersed into Belizean culture is an incredible advantage to effective missions. English is the only language taught in schools and all the kids, youth and many adults are fluent in English.
Spanish, however, is prevalent and is being more widely used every year. It is not uncommon for groups to be placed in predominately Spanish speaking communities or churches. At the very least everyone on a trip to Belize will come across many people whose primary language is Spanish. A Spanish intro or refresher course would be a welcome addition to the planning process when visiting Belize.
Thirst Missions will have Spanish translators on every team in case translation is necessary.
Belize has Spanish speaking neighbors in Mexico to the north and northwest and Guatemala to the west and southwest. All schools teach class in English, but many people, especially those who live near the borders of Mexico and Guatemala, speak Spanish as their native language. Many Belizean adults are bilingual and as a result, many church services can often have a mix of English and Spanish incorporated into the service.
Kriol is widely spoken throughout Belize as well. About 75% of Belizeans speak this unwritten form of English in which words are chopped and shortened, and a meaning all of its own is derived. We encourage you to try to pick up a few Kriol phrases while you are in Belize.
The diversity of Belize’s languages and dialects, with English being the predominant language make Belize an amazing culture to experience.
For the past three years this trip has changed my perspective on the Great Commission and made me more confident to continue to serve God at home.Mackenzie, First Baptist Church, Statesville