Study Abroad in Belize

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A Guide to Studying Abroad in Belize

You might be surprised how much adventure you can pack into a country the size of New Hampshire, but Belize isn’t your average study abroad destination. With Caribbean coastline on one side and Mayan ruins on the other, this Central American country offers endless opportunities. Whether you’re snorkeling on one of the world’s largest coral reefs, monitoring jaguars and howler monkeys, or exploring ancient architecture, a study abroad program in Belize is sure to enhance your academic goals while offering a whole lot of fun in the process.

Where to Study Abroad in Belize

Its small size and population make it one of the best kept secrets in Central America. As a former British colony, Belize has created a fascinating mix of cultures and languages, meaning you’ll be able to visit Mayan temples, learn about Garifuna settlements, and practice Belize Kriol, spoken by 45 percent of the population. Here are the best places to study abroad in Belize.

Belize City is the country’s largest city with about 57,000 residents, but its daily hustle and bustle make the city feel much larger. Many study abroad programs begin in Belize City before venturing into the country for field studies, so you’ll likely get a taste of urban Belizean life here. 

Many programs take place in the western Cayo district. Belize’s capital city, Belmopan, is found here, along with San Ignacio, the district’s cultural and economic hub. Primarily an agricultural region, Cayo district is also a jumping off point for sightseeing and outdoor adventures. Visit the ruins of an ancient city or go underground to check out archeological sites filled with ceramics, stoneware, and skeletal remains. For those more interested in marine life, hop over to Caye Caulker, a small island off the coast of mainland Belize. The Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO world heritage site that can be visited from the Caye, is home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.

Costs of Studying in Belize

Studying abroad in Belize doesn’t have to break the bank, and many students find that costs are cheaper than in their home country. Though prices will vary widely depending on the area you’re in (the more touristy, the more expensive it’ll be), a thrifty traveler will be able to live well on a budget. Most study abroad program fees include tuition and housing, with some providing meals as well. Airfare is almost always separate and must be purchased individually.

Many study abroad programs in Belize will allow you to use financial aid to cover program costs, especially if you’ll be receiving credit from your home institution. There are also many scholarship and fundraising opportunities that can help you afford to study in Belize, and even provide enough spending money to keep up your daily fry jack habit.

Student Housing in Belize

When you’re done scuba diving and you’ve polished off a plate of garnaches, you’ll need somewhere to recharge for the next day’s adventures. Most students who study in Belize stay in housing arranged by their program provider, which is often a dormitory or a guest house. Many programs move around the country, so you’ll likely stay in a combination of lodging types. Some programs organize homestays, which means you’ll get special insight into Belizean life and hopefully get to try some homemade chimole.

Student Visas for Belize

You may be required to obtain a student visa depending on the length of time you’ll be in the country. For summer programs, a tourist visa is usually sufficient. If you’re planning to study abroad in Belize for longer, verify with your program what kind of visa you’ll need before departure, and make sure you have enough time to apply, as visa processing can take a month or more. Check out the GoAbroad Embassy Directory for more details.

GoAbroad Inside Tips

Studying in Belize is a great way for first-time study abroad students to dip their feet into a new culture with a language that’s familiar. While some parts of Belize have heavily invested in tourist infrastructure, other less-developed regions could cause some culture shock for first-time travelers. 

Most study abroad programs that travel to Belize are short-term programs that run in the summer or winter intersession. There aren’t a lot of options to study for a semester or year without enrolling directly in a local Belizean university. If you find you love it enough, you can always research ways to stay longer.

In Belize, you’re guaranteed to be amazed on a daily basis. From the biodiversity of the rainforests and the reefs to the enduring architecture of ancient civilizations, there’s always something new to learn. Throw in annual lobster festivals and some catchy punta music, and that’s a recipe for never wanting to return home. Take a deep dive into Belize - you won’t regret it!

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A Guide To
Studying Abroad in Belize

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Center for Engaged Learning Abroad (CELA)

Take intensive, two week field courses in our winter or summer sessions where Belize is the classroom. Our offerings include pre-professional, environmental, conservation, business and anthropology classes. All classes provide practical experience in the field with rich cultural contact. Transfer credit back home. Housing and some meals covered in costs.

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Study Programs in Belize

Travel to the Central American country of Belize with Toucan Education Programs (TEP) and get the opportunity to discover its scenic beauty and Maya and Spanish-influenced culture. Students may choose to study Spanish language and culture lessons. They can also participate in excursions around the country and in neighboring Mexico or travel with others to the rainforest to observe birds and oth...

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Academic Credit Programs with Broadreach

The Broadreach program located in Belize, Wilderness First Responder (WFR), prepares Medical Associates for WFR certification. The program also provides participants with three Health Sciences credits and is offered in the summer term. Participants complete over 60 hours of fieldwork and training, teaching them the essential skills for wilderness-based rescue and survival. Additionally, Broadre...

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Frontier

Why not make the most of your time abroad by adding volunteer experience to your resume as well as gaining academic course credit in your field of study. Volunteers can arrange with their academic institution to gain transferrable course credit by participating in our field programmes. Our research team both in our London Headquarters and overseas field staff will liaise with your academic cour...

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Global Learning Belize Program

The Classport Global Learning Belize Program offers study in four fields of anthropology – archaeology, biology, culture, and linguistics. The course begins with an online pre-travel orientation that covers concepts such as ethnocentrism and cultural relativism. Once in Belize, students will be exposed both in theory and in practice to the anthropological concepts of multilingualism, lingui...

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George Mason University

Experience natural beauty and culture of Belize through studying abroad with George Mason University. Students from all over the world can live and study in Belize City for the whole winter semester. This program includes course offerings in Biology, Environmental Sciences, and Environmental Management.

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27th Archaeological Field Season at Blue Creek, Belize

Join the Maya Research Program (MRP), a non-profit organization based in the US, in Belize for our latest field season. Each summer, we sponsor archaeological field research at the historic Maya site in Blue Creek. Take part in our program and broaden your perspective through hands-on fieldwork! The Blue Creek project - certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists - is open to d...

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Central America Gap Year Semester | Pacific Discovery

How do you want to experience our world? Join us for a life-changing, overland journey thought the cultural heart of Central America: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. On our Central America Semester, you'll travel in a fun, safe and supportive group of 14 students with two instructors to facilitate and mentor your experience. You'll get involved in rewarding service lear...

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Project Dragonfly, Miami University

Explore the rich ecological diversity of Belize while helping in efforts to conserve endangered species on a study abroad program with Project Dragonfly, Miami University. The Global Field Program gives students the opportunity to join researchers from the Belize Zoo in protecting wildlife species such as howler monkeys and manatees, as well as plant life.

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Belize: Cross-Cultural Exploration of Teaching and Learning

The University at Albany’s Office of International Education in cooperation with the Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning offers the opportunity to work with teachers and learners in Belize, Central America. Participants will visit and observe rural and urban schools, collaborate with Belize teachers, work in small groups with Belize learners, meet with administration at school and dist...