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Wildlife Health, Ecology and Conservation

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

C.E.L.A.

This was an amazing experience. The teachers have a huge wealth of knowledge and you gain a lot of information from both their lectures and hand on experiences. The whole trip was well organized and Belize is a lovely and very friendly country. I wouls recommend this trip to anyone.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    9

Review

Overall this experience with CELA is one that I will never forget and definitely recommend to fellow students at school. Belize is an amazing place and was a perfect way to combine study abroad and wildlife.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Wildlife Program

This experience was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was very hard to leave Belize when my stay was over. I met many incredible people and made many new life long friends. The people of Belize are some of the nicest people I have ever met. The wildlife course was incredible and had amazing instructors. This opportunity is a must do! I recommend this trip to anyone. I really hope to make it back to Belize one day.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    10

Winter Wildlife Course

The class was awesome and a great experience. We got the chance to shadow zookeepers, hike through the jungle, and snorkel on a remote island. If you want a little bit of everything you should definitely take this class because it is a little bit of all the other I.S.I.S. classes combined. In this class we learned a lot about the efforts in Belize to conserve wildlife and what impact it has on Belize and the teacher was awesome!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

unforgettable experience

This trip was great and exceeded my expectations for sure, every person involved was an enhancement and deserves a congratulations for the impact they had on so many future wildlife leaders of the world.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    10

Fantastic Experience

This was an incredible trip. The range of wildlife we covered was impressive, working with reptiles, birds, and mammals. Our teacher Dr. Isabelle is a remarkable vet and I know I'm better for having been taught by her. While I am not a vet student but rather interested in conservation and education, this course was still completely worth it. We covered a broad number of subjects, from medical procedures to conservation efforts to biodiversity, and gave a very complete picture of working with wildlife, working in developing countries, and Belize. The atmosphere here is simply beautiful and tranquil, and I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of my stay. So worth the money!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

This was amazing!

I felt this was one of the, if not the greatest experience of my life. I came here with no expectations other than to learn and I got that and so much more.

I learned a great deal about almost every grouping of exotic species (birds, reptiles, mammals) in terms of biology, ecology, medicine, care, conservation, local significance, and felt that these subject areas were synthesized together quite well.

The program is not only great for learning techniques of veterinary medicine in the field of zoo, exotics, and wildlife, but allowed time for unbeliezble experiences with local organizations such as the Belize Zoo, Iguana Project, Community Baboon Sanctuary, and Belize Bird Rescue.

The program offered a unique and enlightening view on conservation and a veterinarians role in conservation, as well as addressing issues of endangered species from a more realistic and practical point... that being the human component. Sometimes the focus can shift so much on saving the animal that it doesn't address the humanitarian concerns that led to the problems in the first place, so it's a good opportunity to learn ways to help solve the root of the problem rather than putting a bandaid on a gaping wound.

The ISIS staff was amazing in terms of help, questions, advice, and really anything we needed in terms of staying in a foreign country all the while doing so with a warm and caring attitude. The accommodations were great and I couldn't have asked for anything better.

Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand is an amazing veterinarian who is so knowledgeable about wildlife and exotic medicine. Not only is she very experienced, but more importantly she is a natural teacher who loves sharing her knowledge and puts you at ease about asking any questions you may have; there was never an environment where I was scared to ask a question, which is not usual for me. She is also very hands on in her approach with the students and provides the opportunity for us to do pretty much everything as a group, but with her supervision and willingness to guide us along the way which I found to be incredible.

Overall this was an amazing 12 days and I couldn't be happier with the experience I had. This place does amazing things and can help to change the world for the better. It was an amazing opportunity to take a peak into what goes on here and gain a greater appreciation for wildlife, zoo and exotics from every facet. This is our last day in Belize, and I'm already looking forward to the next time I'll visit this place and would definitely look into a future internship or externship.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    7

Great program for students interested in wildlife

I am very happy I chose to do this program. I got to do much more than expected - the course is very hands on! The broad spectrum of subjects studied may seem a bit intimidating but it is a lot of fun and very do-able. There was hardly any time to do leisure activities or go around the town but it is very worth it if you're in it for the animal diversity! I learned a lot and would recommend it to anybody who is interested in conservation.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The experience was enlightening, educational, and overall the trip of a lifetime.

The professors, other staff, and experiences of ISIS Belize were phenomenal. I loved the country, the wildlife, the field trips, and the educational aspects. I got to do things I'd never have the opportunity to do elsewhere. The living situation was great, and I learned more than I ever could have hoped. Even better than expected!

Living Situation:
Midas was fabulous! Very pretty and nicely kept. I enjoyed the free breakfasts, too!

Cultural Immersion:
I felt less 'touristy' as i was allowed to meet locals and explore local places. I felt very immersed.

Program Administration:
Great job setting all of this up! The staff were phenomenal.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    N/A

The ISIS Belize Wildlife Course was an incredible experience and I encourage anyone with an interest in animal medicine to come down here and see for yourself!

This experience as a whole was incredible. The course provided us with so many opportunities for hands on experience - I dewormed baby toucans, gave subcutaneous injections to parakeets and rabbits, fed birds and tapirs at the zoo, captured and restrained parrots for examination at Belize Bird Rescue, and so much more! Dr. Isabelle, the professor, was fantastic - she really loves teaching as much as she loves being a wildlife vet, and she encouraged questions and participation in hands on activities. She gave every student a chance to try something new and to practice our technical skills. I highly recommend this course to anyone who has any interest at all in animal medicine or wildlife conservation; I had a great time and I wish I could stay longer!

Academics:
The wildlife course was, in one word, incredible. We went on excursions to the Community Baboon Sanctuary (which is a protected area for Howler monkeys), the Iguana Project at the San Ignacio Hotel, the Belize Zoo, and Belize Bird Rescue. At each of these places, we were given the opportunity to get involved and practice technical skills that we learned about in class, like restraint, clinical examinations, and animal husbandry. When we weren't on a field trip, we were listening to lectures and assisting with patients in Dr. Isabelle's clinic. We also got a lot of hands on experience seeing wildlife patients at the clinic. The whole experience was amazing and I highly recommend it if you're even remotely interested in animal medicine!

Living Situation:
We stayed at Midas Resort in San Ignacio. We each had a roommate and stayed in small cottages. The rooms had all of the necessities: air conditioning, fans, showers, 2 beds. They were a little on the small side and there weren't any drawers or anything, so we had to live out of our suitcases for the full month, but overall it was fine. There was also a decent sized pool, which was great to jump into after a full day of class. The staff provided us with a great breakfast every morning, changed our towels every day, and they were really friendly. We were a 5 minute walk from downtown San Ignacio, which was great for hanging out in town and going out to eat.

Cultural Immersion:
We spent the majority of the day doing classwork with our fellow students, and by the time we got back to the resort at the end of the day, we were all exhausted. The cultural immersion was really what you make of it - if you make the effort to go out into town and talk to the locals, you'll have a better cultural experience than someone who chooses to stay on the resort most of the time.

Program Administration:
The administration was very organized and helpful. They responded to e-mails in a timely manner when I was figuring out the details of the trip, and they provided us with all of the information we needed about life in Belize and our class schedules. They also ran an orientation when we arrived that was very helpful.

Health and Safety:
San Ignacio is very safe - we had no issues at all while on the trip. However, it's always advised that you travel in pairs just to be on the safe side.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

An absolutely amazing experience.

I recommend this course to anyone who is interested in animals, wildlife, or becoming a vet because it is an absolutely amazing experience. You learn so much about the wildlife and culture of Belize and meet wonderful new friends. It is truly a once in a lifetime experience that is definitely worth the trip.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    10

Very good experience

Very good course. The teachers are very nice, and very helpful when you need it. You learn a wide variety of different things. The living conditions are a little rustic, but I didn't mind it at all. You're surrounded by the Belize culture.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

You Better Belize It!

This experience was so much fun! There were so many opportunities that I don't think I'll get anywhere else! The wildlife we got to work with was incredible, and the lecture material directly related to all the field experience we had, so it was easy to learn and completely applicable.

I would highly recommend this experience to anyone interested in wildlife medicine or conservationism!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    5

  • Social Life

    10

A truly unique experience

I am a music major minoring in biology and although this course didn't quite fit my criteria for study, it opened me to a new world in both culture and education. I took away a whole new perspective on dealing with wildlife conservation and at the same time was immersed in a rich culture. The living accommodations took a little effort to get used to but was overall very good. The people were welcoming and more so when you smiled back. The teachers and staff were always available and very helpful. This program has allowed me new friends and great experiences. This course has definitely aroused my interest to deal with conservation in the future. I recommend this course to anyone looking for an opportunity to broaden their horizons and take on new challenges.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    6

  • Social Life

    10

Incredible Opportunity

This is an amazing program in an amazing country and I can easily see myself remaining close friends with everyone I met over the course. Definitely be prepared to go to a developing country and don't be naive about living accommodations or sanitation, you will have to watch out for certain things that most Americans take for granted, but know that you can still relax and enjoy Belize. The teacher is incredible and so realistic and there's so much she can offer to anyone, but especially to a pre-vet student looking for wildlife experience. Even the class lectures were great, but still nothing compared to the experience we got at the Belize Zoo or simply accompanying the Dr. to her routine cases. I would go back in a heart-beat and do it all again!

Academics:
The Veterinary professor is amazing and so knowledgeable, it was an incredible experience learning from and practicing under her.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Once In A Lifetime

The ISIS wildlife course was a once in a lifetime experience with an amazing instructor (Dr. Isabelle) who truly loves what she teaches. She doesn't just talk at you or above you, she truly teaches you the information that is necessary to be a wildlife veterinarian. We had a great mixture of lecture, labs, and hands on experience. I wouldn't trade the course for any other experience! It was a great first contact with exotic animal medicine that has inspired me to learn as much as I can on the topic!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A Month Worth Reliving

The words don't exist to descibe the grandeur of the country and the flight that one takes throughtout the program.

Academics:
Almost everything is hands on. It's hard not to learn as much as I did in this one month when so much was practical work.

Living Situation:
We (the girls in ISIS summer session 1; 2011) all became very close friends as a result of this program and I believe much of it had to do with the fact that we all lived together and created our own family/ home away from home.

Cultural Immersion:
Although we did get some cultural immersion, it wasn't so much since most of our time was spent doing what we were there to do, study animal science.

Program Administration:
The administrators are great people who care about the students who go through their program as much as they care about the well being of animals and seeing as they are all veterinarians, that is saying something.

Health and Safety:
Just be smart about things. We always stayed with a buddy.

Social Life:
Maluchi's is a great place to socialize. In general, everyone in Belize is very relaxed and "go with the flow".

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

Amazing zoo experiences

For anyone interested in wildlife medicine, this course is a great experience. Even as a vet student, I was still able to learn a lot about exotic and wildlife medicine, and gained valuable hands-on experience that I wouldn't have gotten at most north american vet schools. The instructor of this course, Dr. Julio Mercado, was great! He has a lot of valuable knowledge, and is really great at interacting with the students, and tells lots of cool stories from his own experiences. During our course we got to witness a Jaguar dental, which was truly a highlight of the trip. What sort of procedures you get to see depends on the course and what needs to be done, but since the zoo doesn't have a vet it is likely that they will take advantage of having Dr. Mercado there in some way. You also get to help out a lot at the zoo, and gain valuable information from the keepers. This aspect is a little of what you make of it, if you have free time, you can go to the zoo and help out more, and this will let you get a better relationship with the keepers and they will let you help out more. You also get to learn a lot about wildlife research techniques, and what it takes to have a career in this area. If you're looking for a vacation abroad this isn't it. You aren't living in luxury, but I still found the stay enjoyable. Its a once in a lifetime chance to get to live in a jungle, and you just need to be prepared for all the creatures (bugs and animals) that live there. The people at TEC are really nice and helpful, and the food is awesome and varied and you get great juices and dessert every day. Again the course is a lot of what you make it. If you have a bad attitude about early morning birding activities, then you won't enjoy it, but if you go in with a positive attitude you will be able to learn a lot from the local experts that are there. The communication between all the different parties was a bit frustrating at times, but I think a lot of that just has to do with people running on a belizean time schedule. Overall I really enjoyed this course, and really thought it gave me a lot of great experiences, and a greater appreciation for the country as a whole and the problems its wildlife face.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Great experience!

I absolutely loved my CELA experience. Aside from the bugs and lack of air conditioning, there isn't really anything that I would change. Communication was a little lacking. I would definitely recommend this program to a friend.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Experience of a lifetime

The course overall was really interesting, however some days could have been a little more organized. Dr. Julio is very entertaining and provides a lot of knowledge about wildlife veterinary medicine.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Love the course!

Studying in Belize has nothing short of incredible. I came here not knowing what to expect and will be leaving with a greater appreciation of science, conservation, and a new view on life that is so inspiring. I have gained such valuable knowledge here that I will continue to expand and share with my peers. Dr. Julio Mercado was so great and really wanted us to be completely involved in every project and procedure. The zookeepers love the animals and we had the opportunity to work side by side with them interacting with the animals. Not to mention learning the different methods of sedation (we shot a dart gun!). Watching Dr. Mercado perform a root canal on “Sugar Daddy” the jaguar, doing migratory research on birds with Rey who is awesome! Hiking up the hills of runaway creek to the limestone caves where ancient Mayas used to inhabit. The list goes on! The entire trip was an exciting experience but I actually think working with the animals and keepers at the zoo was my favorite part. The zoo is so calm and beautiful, it really drew me in.
I would say absolutely go for it! This experience is unmatched. Not only do you have the chance to be in a beautiful country that is teeming with life, you get the chance to work with people that have so much passion and knowledge that they want to share with you. Take advantage of the opportunities you find, explore the world, get inspired. CELA and the country of Belize are wonderful and I am so glad I took this opportunity.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Studying in the jungle

The wildlife course was great. We learned a lot about conducting field research and got to see some cool dentals on a jaguar and a tapir. However the course was not as veterinary oriented as I was expecting, but Dr. Julio was great at explaining everything he would do and was more than happy to answer any questions we had so I still felt I learned a lot about veterinary medicine.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    7

Wildlife health and conservation experience

Students should know that this course has a heavy focus on conservation and field research rather than wildlife health. If you are interested in conservation, or looking to get your feet wet, Belize is the perfect place to start! The biodiversity and conservation efforts in the country are amazing and CELA brings in some outstanding speakers to give you a well-rounded view.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    8

My wildlife experience

Overall this course was very informative, and though it did not focus on animal health as much as advertised, it was an excellent experience for field research. The staff was incredible! Make sure you pack long pants!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    8

Wildlife course review

I felt that this class was an amazing experience. I feel that working at the zoo and along side the zoo staff was a wonderful experience and they were all so kind and willing to teach us. Additionally Dr. Mercado was an excellent teacher.