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Wildlife Health, Ecology and Conservation
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Wildlife Health, Ecology and Conservation

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Community

    N/A

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Academics

    9

Great study abroad!

Although the wildlife course was not what I initially expected, I still loved it and do not regret taking it. Prior to taking this course I thought it would focus more on the veterinary side of wildlife, but it was actually a mix between the vet side of things and wildlife conservation. We got to work with the Tapir's at the zoo and whichever animal we picked for our enrichment project. You also get to learn things that aren't necessarily in the schedule because you never know what could happen at the zoo or what animal could be brought in. You also get to set up camera's at Runaway Creek! Our cameras spotted coatimundis, some birds, and even a jaguar! Both Jane and Dr. Kneeland were great teachers and I definitely learned a lot from both of them. If you're like me and tend to be a mosquito magnet, definitely bring bug spray with a high DEET percentage. Mine didn't have that much so I got eaten alive, but my experience was not ruined by the bugs. If you don't like bugs, it can be a little scary at first, but you quickly get used to them. Just wear pants and bug spray all of the time. I highly recommend taking this course!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Community

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Academics

    9

Wildlife health and ecology

This trip is not for the faint of heart. Students stay in rustic cabins with outside bathroom and shower facilities. Days are long and packed with intense activities. There are mosquitoes galore and other bugs/creatures. But, if you want to go into the vet field this is exactly the kind of experience one needs to have. The class takes a sampling from all aspects of being a wildlife vet and also talks extensively about the importance of ecology and conservation while showing real life examples in the field. Students definitely get experience and advice about their careers while they're at it. This program is definitely worth the money I spent and I will always treasure my time here and how it furthered both my career and education.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Community

    6

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Academics

    7

I really enjoyed the course

I really enjoyed the course. At times I wish the instructor was more engaging with the students but overall it was a very good learning experience. At times I felt like the instructor was less of a teacher and more of a babysitter.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Community

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Academics

    9

CELA summer 2018

I enjoyed the different aspects of this course. As a student I was able to get a feel for what wildlife studies include whether they are research related or veterinarian related. I loved being at the zoo!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Community

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Academics

    8

Wildlife course review

After reading through the syllabus, I was really looking forward to taking the Wildlife course. I encourage anyone who is interested in this course to look over the course material to see if what is done day to day is something that would interest them. There were a lot of components that were a lot more research based than I was expecting, such as the radio collar demo or the necropsy lab. That being said, the necropsy lab may have been one of the coolest things that we did. It was really awesome having such an up close and personal interaction with the staff at the Belize Zoo. The one downside was there was a lot of times where we were waiting around, as we were waiting for zookeeper to become free so we could do our activity. This is understandable as their obligation to the animals takes priority, it just made time pass slower when you weren’t doing anything. If you have a huge problem with bugs, you may want to take into consideration that this course does take place in the tropics. You are either in the Belize jungle or savanna. Some of the hikes we went on would have us with 20 mosquitos on our jacket trying to get through. You also have to take into consideration that where you are housed for this course, at the Tropical Education Center, does not have any air conditioning. They do provide you with plenty of fans, however it does get very hot and you will sweat a lot. We slept with mosquito nets around the beds and bugspray to bed and still got bit. That’s just part of living in the jungle though and the experiences you get at the zoo justify the bug bites. The other good part about this course is that both breakfast and dinner is provided through the Tropical Education Center. The TEC was GREAT at accomodating any food allergies or dietary restrictions. However if you are a picky eater, you just have to understand that they are giving you a plate of food every night for dinner, it is not like you are ordering off of a menu. Dr. Kneeland was an amazing instructor and really makes you feel safe. I felt as though I could go to her with any issues that I had, and she was also a great source of knowledge. Jane was also a great instructor and her knowledge on primates was immense. All of the staff of the zoo and TEC that we met were all very generous and did everything in their power to make sure we not only learned the most, but that we got the most out of the lessons.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Community

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Academics

    9

Unforgettable experience!

I really enjoyed my study abroad experience in Belize, the country and culture are very beautiful. This program was so fun and had many hands-on experiences, we got to see a lot of animals and have opportunities that I never thought I would have. The people we worked with were extremely kind and knowledge and I am grateful for what they have taught me.
Some flaws included: the focus wasn't so much focused on wildlife ecology and conservation as I had hoped, but was still interesting. As someone not interested in veterinary medicine, that was large portion that I wish there was less of, and would have preferred more population ecology and conservation. The lectures were also a bit dry and there was a lot of time wasted waiting around at the zoo. The living situation made it very easy to get close to your classmates, as we had to suffer together through the bug bites, lack of AC and WiFi, and separate facilities for the bathroom, sinks and showers. The homemade breakfast and dinner were delicious. Despite some inconveniences, as long as you embrace your time in Belize and have a positive outlook, you will enjoy it. Overall, the two week experience was worth it and I would recommend it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

CELA Belize primate ecology & conservation and wildlife courses

I really enjoyed my time in Belize. The course content was interesting and the out-of-classroom experiences were especially enjoyable. I learned a lot about wildlife in Belize through both discussions and observations in the field.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Wildlife

I absolutely loved this wildlife course! Having the numerous hands on experiences made it so much easier to learn. Everyone involved was very nice and helpful and all of the activities we did were fun. I would highly recommend to anyone who was interested in learning more about wildlife. It was an amazing experience!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Fun and great for prevet students

I took the Wildlife course and the instructors (Michelle and Jane) were not only knowledgeable but fun to be around. Also, the guides were extremely helpful and skilled. Don’t expect to be staying in a resort, but the TEC has everything you need including hot showers and wifi at the dining hall. Also, the food was actually pretty good. I had a ton of fun and had an experience that I know I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else. I would definitely recommend if you’re prevet or just want to try something new!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    9

My experience

It was an amazing experience. Overall, it was an amazing, I was able to get out of my comfort zone. I learned so much in two weeks and I am so happy I did this program. No matter your major this will help you grow in your future.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    10

My experience

This program was amazing. It challenged me to overcome most of my fears. I have a fear for cabins and insects such as spiders, and the amount of time I encountered these animas were none. But I was not afraid to walk to different locations alone anymore. Also, I had a fear for big cat but learned plenty of things about their behaviors that helped me understand them.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    9

CELA review from a pre-vet student

I have very much enjoyed my time here in Belize, this course gave me access to wildlife that I would never be able to get close to in the United States. I most enjoyed the veterinary aspects of the trip, but there were plenty of opportunities to learn about conservation and the forest around us. Our instructors were very accommodating to those that were unfamiliar with subjects we were talking about and did everything they could to help us thrive individually. I would totally recommend CELA to other pre-veterinary students!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    4

  • Health & Safety

    5

  • Community

    6

Incredible experience

This program was an absolutely incredible experience. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in wildlife veterinary medicine or wildlife conservation. The course teaches you so much about the wildlife of Belize and gives you the opportunity to meet with some very inspiring people. I have never been able to interact with animals in such a close proximity before and probably never will again, so this course was one I will never forget. The course works closely with the Belize Zoo which is an amazing facility and gives you an inside view into all of their conservation and education efforts as well.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    10

CELA wildlife health, ecology, and conservation

This course provides the opportunity to meet some truly incredible people. Working in and around the Belize Zoo exposes you to some of the most driven and passionate people working towards conservation of Belizean wildlife. Huge focus on empowerment through education and community outreach. This course puts you in the field, practicing tasks that a wildlife research or veterinarian would perform on a day-to-day basis.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    8

You'd better BELIZE it!

Coming into this program, I had no idea what to expect. I had never studied abroad before, let alone traveled out of the country on my own! However, meeting some of the students ahead of the course in the airport, I instantly knew I would be in good hands. I was greeted with such a kind and friendly group of like-minded individuals who wanted to learn and experience all of the same things that I did. Getting to work with the Belize Zoo, TEC, and other corporations doing various research and conservation exercises was more beneficial than I can express. I made lasting friendships, and being as involved as I was, now have several abroad internships lined up!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

CELA wildlife health, conservation, & ecology Course

I had an amazing time on this trip! I made some awesome new friends and it certainly feels like I learned more about wildlife conservation in those two weeks than I have throughout my whole college career.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Incredible experience

I had such a blast learning and experiencing on this trip, I wish it had never ended. Everyone I met was friendly and enthusiastic, and it made me even more dedicated to what I am learning at school. I learned so much invaluable information that I believe will help my in my future endeavours.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

A strong recommendation to anyone in the biological and veterinary fields

I gained an insurmountable amount of experience from CELA and their fantastic instructors Dr. Julio Mercado and Jane Champion. The course provided me information and the politics of Belize in respect to the environment, conservation and behavioral study techniques and real zoo veterinary medicine practices. I gained not only experience but I also made a special bond with many members of my group, making the trip not only more enjoyable but also left such an impression that when I hear the word 'Belize', I will always smile.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

CELA Belize-winter wildlife ecology & conservation course

The course was excellent, and the instructors especially were fun and informative. Even though I'm not pre-vet, I thoroughly enjoyed learning from the wildlife vet who helped co-teach the course. He was so much fun, and had many great points to make about conservation efforts by zoos! Was able to do many novel things I'd never have been able to do anywhere else. Would highly recommend!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

CELA wildlife study abroad

This course and experience was remarkable. I learned so much about Belize in regards to its culture and wild life. My instructors Julio and Jane gave us the best experience possible, as did Cynthia! Thanks again. :)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

CELA winter study abroad: wildlife ecology & conservation

I had an amazing time in this course. My classmates were wonderful, the course was interactive and fun. It was the best science class I have ever taken. I have never felt so immersed in a subject before.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    9

My CELA Belize review

It was great! Would definitely recommend to others! The people were fantastic and really made the trip very memorable. The instructors were also very passionate in their subject areas. That, along with the very hands on curriculum, made the learning fun.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    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

7/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    5

Review

This course taught me a lot about wildlife but not as much about the culture. I think that the location had to do with a lot of the isolation. Dr. Mercado is an excellent instructor and knows a lot about wildlife health.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    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.