PROGRAM TYPES

CONNECT WITH US

Wildlife Health, Ecology and Conservation
Center for Engaged Learning Abroad (CELA Belize) Header Image Center for Engaged Learning Abroad (CELA Belize) Header Image

Wildlife Health, Ecology and Conservation

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.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    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

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

The program has room for improvement

While I don't necessarily regret taking this course, I wish it had been far more organized and that the rooms would of been more comfortable. I did a lot of amazing things here, such as watching surgical procedures on jaguars and tapirs, as well as field work, following Howler monkeys in the wild, and much more. It was just unfortunate that at the end of the day we came back to rooms that were so uncomfortable in that the heat was overwhelming and the bugs were a nuisance. Also, it doesn't help that the living area was so secluded, because our free time was hardly used for anything really exciting.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    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

4/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    2

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    1

  • Health & Safety

    3

  • Community

    4

Wildlife conservation

Dr. Julio was an amazing instructor and I loved learning about dentistry and animal well being. However; there was a lack of structure and constantly missing information/paperwork. I never received my grades transcript paperwork and I had to learn of this through another student. I'm glad I caught it when I did and am able to get the paperwork in on time in order to receive my grades.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    10

  • Community

    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.