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IAP expects you to be an active participant in preparing yourself for your study abroad experience. As a participant on an IAP program, you will receive a pre-departure orientation, either in-person or online. The type and format of this orientation will vary by program and will be provided to you upon acceptance to the program.
You will receive an orientation and introduction to the country of Belize, as well as site-specific expectations, upon arrival.
A visa is not required for U.S. citizens for this program. U.S. citizens must have a U.S. passport valid for at least six months beyond the end of the program. If you are not a U.S. citizen, contact your study abroad advisor for guidance.
Getting to Your Program
You are responsible for arranging round-trip transportation to Belize City based on the dates and arrival information Ceiba provides. Travel in-country to the South Water Caye Field Station will be coordinated by Ceiba, and includes transfers upon arrival and departure.
You will be enrolled in the UW System required health insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) and the cost of the insurance coverage is included in program fees.
Snorkel the second largest barrier reef in the world, off the coast of Belize, on this 10-day field expedition. Study the ecology and conservation of fish, corals, sponges, and reef ecosystems, putting your knowledge into practice on a remote Caribbean island - Southwater Caye - in the middle of a marine reserve.
The Ceiba Marine Biology of Coral Reefs program provides an introduction to oceanography, marine biology, and marine conservation in a blended format. The course overall totals four weeks, beginning with two weeks of online instruction followed by a 10-day marine science expedition to Belize, and then a couple more days online to wrap up the course.
The Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation is a non-profit organization offering field courses taught by highly experienced and knowledgeable staff. Their field courses provide quality education while taking you to some of the most remote and pristine ecosystems left on earth.
Not sure where Belize is? See it on a map here.
Southwater Caye is a fairly remote island, situated 14 miles east from mainland Belize. The island is protected by the barrier reef and thus is surrounded by warm, calm, and shallow water. The weather is warm and sunny most of the time. The IZE marine field station is a private 12-acres on the island, surrounded by uninhabited mangrove islands, seagrass flats, and pristine coral reefs.
Belize is located on the eastern coast of Central America, bordered on the north by Mexico, and south and west by Guatemala. To the east in the Caribbean Sea. Belize’s wealth of terrestrial and marine species, as well as the diverse ecosystems, makes it the perfect location for a field research class.
Besides its diverse ecosystem, the country is also diverse in culture and language that reflects its rich history. While English is the official language, over half the population is multilingual.
HousingOn Southwater Caye Island you will reside in dormitory accommodations at the IZE facility. The IZE facility was built for student groups. You will be placed in rooms with shared bathrooms that are divided by gender. There are hot showers. All meals at the field station are provided in an open-air dining hall, and feature Belizean food prepared by IZE staff. The station has classrooms, study area, laboratory, dock and boats for the daily excursions.
Excursions and Activities
You must be able to swim. A review of snorkeling techniques and safety procedures will be given to you by a certified diving instructor, and you will be required to take a swim test upon arrival in Belize before you will be allowed to carry out research projects in the water.
Instruction and logistics will be coordinated by the Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation. Ceiba has experienced staff that will take care of all in-country coordination and logistics, including orientation, domestic travel and housing related to the program, and student services.
Dr. Catherine Woodward, instructor of the Fall Rainforests and Coral Reefs FIG, and Mark Ladd, Marine Biologist and Ceiba Instructor, will travel with the program and teach the program course.
Returned Student Network
to contact a returned student.
How to Apply
First, make sure you have reviewed the information for Prospective Students on the IAP web.
There is also specific Academic Planning information that you should review.
Next login to the IAP Online Application. UW Affiliate programs may require you to apply directly to the affiliate either simultaneously during the IAP application process OR after you have received a preliminary acceptance decision from IAP. Be sure to read the instructions carefully for information on when to apply to the affiliate.
The following supplemental application materials are also required as part of the application to this program and will become available to you through the on-line application:
Forms are subject to change. Complete the forms according to the checklist provided to you in the online application portal.
After the Deadline
IAP will review your application and make a preliminary acceptance decision. You will be notified about IAP's decision by email. The affiliate university or organization will make the final decision on your acceptance to the program.
For this four-week program, you will receive four credits for Zoology 400: Topics in Zoology.
The online content will be presented via video lectures, discussion forums, and collaboration tools (wikis) in an asynchronous format, providing maximum flexibility for students who are off campus or working during the summer. Fundamentals of oceanography and an overview of the ecology of mangroves, coral reefs, sea grasses and other marine ecosystems will be presented during the online component. You will read peer-reviewed marine science literature and collaborate online to develop a research proposal prior to traveling to Belize.
The field component in Belize will take place at the International Zoological Expeditions (IZE) marine research station on Southwater Caye, with whom Ceiba has partnered for this program. The focus will be hands-on instruction of common marine field and laboratory research methods, including transect and plot based surveys of fish, algae, and benthic invertebrates, plankton tows, and measurement of physical characteristics of seawater.
During the first 3-4 days, you will visit the nearby seagrass, mangrove, and coral reef ecosystems and gain experience in marine field research through structured field activities. You will also practice and refine your proposed research methods. Over the second week, you will carry out your proposed research projects, obtaining guidance and feedback from the course instructors, and participating in nightly group reflections.
During the final 3-4 days, you will analyze your data, write up your results, and prepare an oral presentation that will be presented to the group in a final symposium. Daily field work will be complemented by group discussions and presentations on marine conservation.
You will also participate on an excursion to the Blue River Rainforest reserve where you will be exposed to a different side of Belizean culture, and get a chance to experience another aspect of the rich terrestrial environment of Belize.
Ceiba Foundation for Tropical Conservation
Program Web Page(s)
IZE Belize - Program Site
Use the links below to see a list of courses that past students have taken on this program and the UW equivalents. Note: This list only includes pre-approved courses for your program and may not be an exhaustive list of courses, departments or equivalents. Courses may not be available the semester you are abroad. You will receive instructions on the course equivalent process after acceptance.
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