Freshman Seminar Abroad: Explore the Mesoamerican Reef while learning about coral reef management, policy and practice, and environmental impact.
|Location||Belize City, Dangriga, and Tobacco Caye, Belize|
|Credit Type||Resident Credit|
|Sponsor||Learning Abroad Center|
|Student Type||UofM Students|
|Language||No Language Prerequisite|
Belize encompasses not just a tropical safe haven for wildlife in the Central American jungles, but also an alluring underwater world. Straddling the coast of Belize is the world’s second-longest barrier reef, home to a large diversity of animals and plants.
This underwater world is undoubtedly one of Belize's main attractions, offering a blend of sailors skimming across the sea, windsurfers breezing through the surfs, and snorkelers gazing at the picturesque Mesoamerican Reefs. With its natural and nautical attraction, seaside city sites like Belize City embody Belize’s translucent seas and cultural vibrancy.
Coral reefs support nearly half the gross domestic product of tropical coast counties. Tourism, fishing, and protection are only some of the reasons millions of people rely on coral reefs for survival. But coral reef health is endangered by many influences, including overfishing, unsustainable tourism, pollution, and climate change.
On this Freshman Seminar Abroad, examine the living laboratories of the Mesoamerican Reef System—specifically the Belize barrier reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.
No previous coral reef management or marine biology experience is required.
You will spend a great deal of time physically engaging with the reef's biodiversity, so an ability to swim is required, and desire to learn is encouraged.
Live in shared accommodations with fellow program participants. All meals are included in the program fee.
While in Belize, the surroundings will become your classroom. Explore and experience the seminar coursework at Monkey Bay and Tobacco Caye research stations and through site visits. Activities and excursions may include canoeing on the Sibun River; whale shark watching at South Water Caye Marine Reserve; snorkeling at Tobacco Caye Marine Station to experience corals, fish, sea grass, invasive lionfish, sea fans, tarpon, barracuda, and more; night snorkeling to see lobsters, squid, lionfish, phosphorescence, millions of tiny neon blue fish, and the resident Moray eels; visiting Bird Island and Glover's Reef Atoll; and working on relevant projects.
This seminar is taught by Professor Jim Perry.
Professor Jim Perry is a professor of the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology within the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences.
Learning Abroad Center programs are:
|Program Level||1900-level course|
One 3-credit course
Combine on-campus class during the spring semester with study abroad during spring break. On-campus Spring Semester 2020 course meets: Thursdays from 1:00–3:00p.m. on St. Paul Campus. Abroad term: Spring Break 2020
This seminar integrates scientific, managerial, and cross-cultural experience into a synthetic whole. The course will focus on management of reef environments through innovative and experiential education and field work, and will examine the importance of reefs, the influences that endanger reef ecosystems, and community action plans that are working to manage reef health. Learn from local experts and stakeholders such as conservationists, experts in reef management, fishers, and tourist industry drivers and learn about research management practices and influences. Explore the reef's biodiversity firsthand to develop a complex understanding of reef environment management. Inquire about and discuss societal goals for coral reef management, ways to translate goals into policy and practice, and methods for restoring damaged reefs.
No previous coral reef management or marine biology experience is required. While in Belize, spend extensive time in the water engaging with the reef's biodiversity.
Receive credit for: FW 1901
Approved for: Environment Liberal Education theme
|Term||Program Dates||Application Deadline|
|Spring Break 2020||Mar 7, 2020 – Mar 15, 2020||Dec 1, 2019|
If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit your materials on the following business day.
Thursdays from 1–3 p.m., Biological Sciences, St. Paul campus
See below for tentative dates and times for your in-person session. You will be notified of the official date and time via email. Participants will receive applicable orientation materials via email approximately 1 week prior to the in-person session.
|Spring Break 2020||TBD||TBD|
Spring Break 2020 Cost of Participation Forthcoming
The program fee includes airfare, housing, program administration, welcome and farewell meals, most additional meals, international health insurance, entrances to course-related excursions and site visits, airport transfers, and in-country transportation for all course related activities. Typically, program fees range between $4,000–$4,500. Students must also budget for passport and passport photos, a few meals, spending money, and miscellaneous living expenses.
Freshman Seminar Abroad participants are eligible to apply for a specific Freshman Seminar Abroad scholarship. Applications are due October, 15, 2019. Apply HERE.
Special scholarship opportunity for College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Science (CFANS) students: CFANS International Learning Grant, Application deadline: TBD
Be aware: All programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.
To complete the online application for this program, you will need to select or provide the following information on the online application:
|Center Name||TC Learning Abroad Ctr|
|Education Abroad Term||Spring Break 2020|
|Program Name||Freshman Seminar Abroad: Coral Reef Management in Belize|
|Track Name||Coral Reef Management in Belize|
Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.
Your participation on this program is secured by applying and confirming through the Learning Abroad Center application process.
You will also need to register for the on-campus course FW 1901.
Note: Registering for the course, but not confirming through the Learning Abroad Center, will not hold your spot in the program.
For further information or questions about this program, send an email toWhitney Westley Fisher or call at 612.625.8827.
Scholarships for Spring Break 2020
Due October 15, 2019. Apply HERE