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*UMD Short-term: Belize: Culture & Conservation
Punta Gorda, Belize (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: May Session
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
May Session 2017 02/01/2017 02/01/2017 05/08/2017 06/02/2017
Fact Sheet:
GPA: 2.25 Language of Instruction: English
Class Standing:
3-Junior, 4-Senior Internships Available: No
Housing: Homestay, Hotel/Hostel Type of Program: Faculty Led
Short-term Program: Yes
Program Description:

Belize Header

Program Highlights
  • Learn mapping techniques to study the of southern Belize landscape
  • Experience the eclectic cultural and multilingual landscapes of Mopan Maya, Kekchi Maya, Hispanic, Garifuna, Creole, Lebanese, East Indian and Chinese peoples
  • Stay in 2 Maya villages where you can partake in everyday life and be involved in a service learning project
  • Learn about conservation efforts that are integral to sustainable development in Belize; “Ridge-to-Reef” - what happens on the land affects the sea. Hike in the jungle and snorkel at the reef
  • Observe how conservation scientists support local communities who live sustainable lifestyles and rely on the forest for many of their needs
  • Learn about the effects of deforestation, urbanization, agricultural practices, and other aspects of development that affect the ecology and biodiversity in Belize
  • Exploring ruins of the Maya past and enjoy free-time activities such as snorkeling, scuba, hiking and the like
  • Check out Punta Gorda Town and the Chocolate Festival!

Program Overview
Cities visited: Punta Gorda, Hopkins, Laguna Village, and Aguacate Village
Dates: May 8 – June 2, 2017

This short term study abroad course takes place in Stann Creek and Toledo, the two southernmost districts of Belize. Students of all mapping skill levels will enjoy learning how these technologies can be used to learn about the beautiful and pristine landscapes of southern Belize. This small Central American country is known for its protected tracts of land, vast forests, and marine reserves; we will visit and learn how some of these protected areas are managed through conservation practice by examining the effects of deforestation, urbanization, agricultural practices, and other factors of ecology. We will explore the cultural significance of the forests and the bounty they bring to families that live there, sustainably growing their food and harvesting their own building and household materials.

Enjoy a unique cultural experience where community-based needs are paramount. Stay in Mayan villages to discover that the Maya are much more than an end of the world prediction. Meet with the Julian Cho Foundation and the Maya Leaders Alliance (2015 recipients of the Equatorial Prize) to learn how they support and manifest Mayan heritage by preserving their culture and ancestral lands. You’ll also have the chance to explore significant Mayan ruins throughout the region.

Lastly, you’ll have some free time to explore things such as snorkeling, scuba, fishing, birding, spelunking and or hiking!

Belize Body

Earn 3 credits in GEOG 3205: Belize: Culture & Conservation

Course topics include:
  • Understand how maps enable us to monitor, observe, and learn more about our dynamic and changing world
  • Expand upon your geographic knowledge
  • Learn how to gather geographic data, produce meaningful maps, graphs, images, and descriptions that support conservation
  • Develop an online interactive map that pulls multimedia elements into one presentation
  • Explore the least traveled region of Belize where a large population of Maya descendants and others have come to settle
  • Gain an appreciation for the diversity of this world and build upon your cultural competency as a global citizen
Program Leaders
Kate Carlson is an instructor in the Department of Geography at University of Minnesota Duluth. Her areas of focus are world regional geography, physical geography, cartography and GIS. Check out Kate's website with additional information.

Amanda Evans is a Learning Technology consultant within UMD Information, Technology, Systems and Services. She assists the campus community with integrating technology in the teaching and learning environment.

Estimated Program Costs
May Session 2017
Program Fee: $4,130
Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses: $810

Estimated Total Cost: $4,940

What’s included in the program fee?
  • Personalized advising
  • Pre-departure orientation
  • Tuition
  • Round-trip airfare
  • Housing (shared bunkhouse, cabanas, and hotel rooms)
  • Most meals
  • Local transportation
  • Field trips & entry fees
  • CISI international travel, health and security coverage
  • Faculty leader support
  • Re-entry support
These estimated costs do not include the application fee. Financial aid only applies to students who take at least 6 credits total during May and Summer session combined. Credits taken on study abroad programs cannot be used in tuition banding. Apply for scholarships.

Travel Documents
A passport valid for 6 months beyond the end of the program is required.

Know the following program information to provide on the online application

Country: Belize
Program Name: Belize: Culture & Conservation

Apply early as space is limited and the program will fill first-come, first-served. An essay and an unofficial transcript is required. A $50 non-refundable application fee will be billed to your One Stop account upon submission of an online application.

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Email | (218) 726 8764 or (877) 755-4200

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UMD faculty & staff photo contributions by: Kate Carlson, Amanda Evans and Arianna Austin