Learning Abroad Center
a house on stilts over the ocean, framed by tree leaves

Belize: Wildlife Medicine & Conservation


Discover Belize's diverse ecosystems while studying wildlife management and conservation at the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic.

This program is administered by the College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences' Office of International Programs. Applications are processed by the Learning Abroad Center.

Program Details

San Ignacio and Placencia, Belize
May Session
Languages Taught In
Languages Taught In
College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

Program Eligibility

Student Type
Student Type
UofM Students
Non UofM Students
Student Year
Student Year


Discover the rich diversity of Belize while working in collaboration with the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic. Be introduced to the major ecosystems in Belize, the plant and animal organisms inhabiting these areas, and the strategies employed by biologists and environmental resource managers. Learn from and with the staff through hands-on labs and excursions. During this section of the program, labs will include everything from spay and neuter to a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of the Belize Zoo. Visit an Iguana Project and Baboon Sanctuary. From bird examination, including Scarlet Macaw health checks, to baboon rehabilitation and crocodile capture, you will experience all parts of wildlife medicine and conservation in central Belize.

Travel to coastal Placencia where you will have the opportunity to get your PADI scuba dive certification, so novice divers are welcome! While here, experience the incredible marine life up close, while attending daily lectures on marine animal zoology and physiology.

End your Central American experience with an excursion to neighboring Guatemala, where you will visit the ARCAS Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. 

Check out the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic Facebook page here.

Click here to see captioned photos from previous programs.

COVID-19 Modifications 

The program will comply with local public health recommendations as well as recommended standards of the University of Minnesota. This may include modifications to the program calendar, weekly schedule, classroom environment, course delivery, housing arrangements, transportation policies, and/or in-country travel restrictions.  Please note, proof of COVID-19 vaccination and booster are required in order to participate in the program.

Program Model

Experiential Learning

Application Deadline

February 1, 2023

Program Dates

Depart from Minneapolis-Saint Paul: May 12, 2023
Arrive in Belize: May 12, 2023
Depart from Belize: June 2, 2023

These dates are tentative. 


You will earn 3 credits for CFAN 3510. This course has been approved for the Global Perspectives theme and the Environment theme.

This is an embedded course with on-campus class time during the Spring semester; you will travel abroad during the May term. You must register for this course and complete the study abroad application. Registration costs/financial aid are tied to the Spring semester.

Students interested in animal science, wildlife conservation, and sustainability will benefit from this experience, however, the program is open to learners from all disciplines. 

For complete course information, see a sample course syllabus.

Program Leader

Melissa Palmer is an assistant professor of Animal Physiology in the Department of Animal Science. She teaches Human and Animal Physiology with corresponding laboratory component, Biotechnology, People and the Environment and Orientation to Animal Science.


Participate in a number of excursions including  the Green Iguana Project, a baboon sanctuary, Belize Zoo, Belize Wildlife Refuge Center, and to coastal Placencia.

More Information

Contact Shelly Fisher from the CFANS Office of International Programs at [email protected] with your questions. 

Program Fee

Program Fee Forthcoming

The program fee generally includes tuition, group flight airfare, airport transfers, in-country program-related transportation, housing, some meals, entrances to course-related excursions and site visits, program administration, and international health insurance. 

If you are registered for less than 13-credits or if you are a non-UofM student or a UofM graduate student, you will be charged tuition for this course in addition to the program fee.  Notify the Learning Abroad Center if this applies to you.

Billing & Payments

The application fee, deposit, and program fee are charged to the student's UMN account. 

Financial Aid & Scholarships

The College of Food, Agricultural & Natural Resource Sciences offers grants for study abroad programs; learn more here. Students can learn about financial aid and scholarships through the Learning Abroad Center here.

Cancellation Policy

All applicants are charged a $50 non-refundable application fee by the Learning Abroad Center. Students who confirm their participation in the program will have charged to their student account a $750 non-refundable deposit. Confirmed students who cancel their application before February 15  are responsible for the non-refundable deposit. Confirmed students who cancel their application on February 15 or later are responsible for the non-refundable deposit and any non-recoverable fees. 

In the event that the CFANS Office of International Programs (OIP) is forced to cancel this entire program, meaning both the on-campus portion and abroad portion, accepted and confirmed students will receive a full refund of their application fee and deposit. In the event that students have started the on-campus portion of the program, but international conditions do not allow students to travel, as per University of Minnesota policy, students will be provided with the ability to complete the course and recoverable fees will be returned to students. 

Students have the option to appeal the CFANS OIP cancelation policy when canceling from a program for extenuating circumstances. Please refer to the Learning Abroad Center's refund appeal process for details. 

Please note: In the near future COVID vaccine requirements may be instituted by specific countries and/or airlines without advance notice. Vaccination gives you the best chance for participation in a program and will keep open the most travel options. 

The inability to participate in a program because of local, national, or airline restrictions if you are not vaccinated but are eligible to be vaccinated will not be considered a valid reason for a refund.

May 2022

Belize: Wildlife Medicine & Conservation


May Session 2022 (Spring on campus course)

Program Fee

  • UofM students pay program fee instead of on-campus tuition & fees while abroad
  • Billed through UofM account
Non-refundable deposit $750
Tuition and educational costs $2,463
International health insurance $50
Housing and/or mealsThis includes housing, 14 breakfasts, 15 lunches, and 4 dinners that are provided as part of the program fee. $1,557
Transportation (if required and included in program fee) $0
Total Program Fee $4,820
Program discount for University of Minnesota and Big Ten students, if applicable $0
Total Program Fee with discount, if applicable $4,820

Estimated Additional Expenses

  • Financial aid-eligible but not included in program fee
Costs Typically Incurred Prior to Departure These costs may need to be paid before your financial aid is disbursed for your term abroad.
Transportation to and from program siteStudents will purchse their own round-trip airfare from MSP to BZE. Details will be provided by the CFANS Office of International Programs. $800
Passport/photos $150
Visa/required documents $0
Travel clinic/immunizations*COVID-19 testing while in Belize to return to the US. $200
Housing deposit $0
Total Estimated Cost Incurred Prior to Departure $1,150
Costs Typically Incurred After Arrival in Host Country
Texts/materialsThis fee is for students who will be diving only. Students should come prepared to pay for this additional $200 diving fee to the partners onsite. $200
Housing and/or meals not included in program feeStudents are responsible for purchasing 1 breakfast and 11 dinner out of pocket. $240
Essential daily living expenses100 $160
Total Estimated Cost Incurred After Arrival in Host Country $600

Total Estimated Cost of Participation

  • UofM students—compare this to your estimated on campus cost of attendance
Total Estimated Cost of Participation $6,570
Spending money and personal travel Not included in financial aid calculation $100
Additional Notes & Information
* Immunizations Note: This estimate is based on approximate cost of travel-related vaccinations and medications required for entry or recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your costs may be higher or lower depending on your travel clinic, the specific immunizations and medication prescribed, and your insurance coverage.


Complete pre-application advising.

Due to COVID-19, current US passport processing times are significantly delayed. If you do not have a passport, or your passport expires less than 6 months after your return date from your time abroad, apply for a new passport now, and pay for expedited processing.


The COVID-19 vaccine and booster are required by the host country and/or on-site partners and facilities for most study abroad programs. Complete your COVID-19 vaccine doses immediately.

You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.

Apply Now


When you submit your online application, you will be assigned an application checklist that includes:

  • First Step session
  • University of Minnesota Student Release and Waiver Form

Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist.

Next Steps

  1. You will receive an automated email message indicating your application was received.
  2. Follow the instructions on your application checklist to submit the Student Release and Waiver Form.
  3. Your application is not considered complete until the form has been received and you have completed the First Step module. Your completed application will be forwarded to the program leader in the sponsoring college/department for review.
  4. The program leader will notify the Learning Abroad Center of acceptance decisions. If accepted, you will be notified via email and assigned a confirmation checklist, which includes:
    • Health Information Form
    • Confirmation and Payment Agreement
    • Online Health & Safety Orientation
  5. Login to the online application to review the confirmation checklist and submit the required items.
  6. Once you submit all items, your participation will be confirmed and your student account will be billed for the program deposit.
  7. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the online application and submit a Cancel Request. You must also notify your program leader of your cancellation.