Winter: CELA Belize

San Ignacio, Belize

Program Overview

Term Start Date End Date Application Deadline
Winter 2021
Jan 02, 2021
Jan 16, 2021
Oct 01, 2020
Language(s) of Instruction
Class Standing
Good Academic Standing


Program Advisor

The Program

Get your hands dirty! You’ll gain working knowledge of contemporary clinical vet skills, cutting edge conservation research practices, and understand how traditional healing practices intersect with modern public health concepts.

Travel to San Ignacio, Belize to study large animal veterinary practices, wildlife ecology and health, Global Health, Health Belief and Ethnomedicine - or a combination of offerings through CELA's hands-on courses

  • Large Animal Veterinary Practice in the Tropics 
  • Wildlife, Health, Ecology & Conservation 
  • Health, Belief & Ethnomedicine
  • Global Health: Biology, Medicine and Public Health in the Tropics 
  • Food Studies in Belize: Global Trends, Local Traditions
  • Tropical Marine Ecology and Conservation
  • Primate Ecology and Conservation: An Introduction to Field Research


Program Location

Picture of San Ignatio

San Ignacio

San Ignacio is the second largest city in Belize (after Belize City), and is the home of the Center for Engaged Learning Abroad (CELA). The city got its start as a mahogany-producing center under British colonial rule, but has since branched out to other fields, including ecotourism. Students will use San Ignacio as their launching point for learning about local issues related to conservation, animal health, ecology, and more, as well as the impact these issues have on global events. San Ignacio is rich in culture and history, with Mayan Ruins, museums, views from El Castillo Pyramid, canoe trips to Barton Creek, walking trails, natural swimming pools, and beautiful rain forests. 



Rutgers University has partnered with CELA Belize to offer four programs for students interested in traveling abroad to Belize during the winter:

Large Animal Veterinary Practice in the Tropics
This course is designed for the veterinary, pre-veterinary, animal science or zoology students to gain working knowledge of husbandry, and health issues confronting farm animals including horses, sheep, pigs, and cattle in Belize. Students get the opportunity to learn hands-on veterinary examination techniques at working ranches and farms, as well as learn about animal agriculture in Belize, including analyzing laboratory specimens in a laboratory. Lectures focus on the selection, nutrition, reproduction and management of horses, beef cattle, goats, swine and sheep. Other topics taught in this course include animal anatomy and physiology, animal agriculture economy, animal diseases and animal research.  Students participate in a local animal health clinic, practicing their new skills and assisting in spay and neuter procedures. 

For more information, including a course syllabus, please click here.

Wildlife Health, Ecology and Conservation
Students will work alongside zookeepers in the world renowned Belize Zoo.  The focus of the course is on wildlife veterinary practices, conservation and research methods.  Species specific focus will include the research and conservation of the jaguar (Panthera onca)and puma (Puma concolor), tapir (Tapirus bairdii), jabiru stork (Jabiru mycteria), howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra), spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) and the green iguana (Iguana iguana).  Students will gain insight on several field research techniques including specialized leg hold traps, cage traps, GPS and VHF tracking, camera trapping, chemical immobilization and remote drug delivery, avian mist netting, bird banding, and nest searching and monitoring. Students will also get the opportunity to observe and collect data on captive and wild animals.

For more information, including a course syllabus, please click here.

Global Health: Biology, Medicine and Public Health in the Tropics (Section B)
Approved for Public Health Majors as course 10:832:240
Students will learn to situate health in its wider social, economic and political context and acquire a basic understanding of the intimate, bi-directional relationship between health and development processes. Instruction focuses on field-based, hands-on learning. Lectures, readings from primary literature, and discussions are also integral components of the program and provide a conceptual framework for discussion, analysis, and interpreting field observations and findings. 

This course will consider tropical diseases and medicine by certain key categories: geography, vectors and the route of infection (portal of entry) providing students with a broad overview of the major issues and diseases in tropical climates. 

For more information, including a course syllabus, please click here.

Health, Belief and Ethnomedicine: Traditional Healing and Medical Anthropology in Belize (Section A)
Approved for Public Health Majors as course 10:832:414
Through in-class lectures and discussions, readings, guest lectures, visits with traditional healers and other elders, tours of a medicinal plant garden and medicinal plant walks with healers, students will have the opportunity to experience unique health traditions as they have been passed down through generations and begin to understand their form and function in today’s world.

For more information, including a course syllabus, please click here.

Students will register for one three-credit course at CELA. 

Courses listed above have been approved as Rutgers credits, meaning that if you take these courses, the price listed below will appear on your term bill and the credits will transfer back as Rutgers credits. If you wish to apply for a course offered by CELA that does not appear above, you will be responsible for paying CELA directly for the appropriate amount and working through your department to receive transfer credit. Please contact the program manager (listed at the top of this page) if you have any questions.

For information about study abroad credit transfer, registration, and transcripts please visit the Academics section of our website.

Academic Calendar

*All dates are subject to change. Do not book your flight until you have been accepted by the university and the academic dates have been confirmed.


Late December

Mid January

Housing and Meals

Students will be housed at the Midas Resort just outside of the city center of San Ignacio in double-occupancy rooms. Breakfast is provided as part of your program fee each weekday, but all other meals are the responsibility of the student. Airport pickup between 10am - 4pm is included. 


Financial Information

Program Costs

This is the billed amount that will appear on your Rutgers term bill during the term you study abroad.
NJ Resident non-NJ Resident
Program Cost $3,790 $4,160
Program Cost includes:

•    Tuition
•    Housing
•    Some meals
•    Excursions
•    Airport transfer
•    Administrative Fees
•    On Call International Insurance

* The winter session student fee is not included in the program cost above.

Out-of-Pocket Costs

These are estimated expenses that are not part of your term bill. Students will need to pay for these expenses out-of-pocket.
Airfare $1,200
Additional Meals $150
Local Transportation $25
Personal Expenses $300
Total $1,675.00
Out-of-Pocket Cost includes:

The above costs are estimations and represent the known out-of-pocket costs students encounter during their time abroad. 
Some of these expenses will be paid for prior to going abroad, such as an airline ticket and visa costs, while some of these expenses, such as meals and local transportation, will be paid in-country as part of your daily expenses. As you plan, you will need to budget these costs and spend wisely throughout your time abroad.


Available to all Rutgers students participating in a Rutgers Global–Study Abroad program. Applications can be found inside of your study abroad program application. For more information, please visit the Scholarship section of our website.

Available to SEBS students only.  For more information please visit the SEBS Scholarships web page.