Loyola University Chicago

Study Abroad

Belize- J-Term

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Faculty-Led J-Term Program in Belize

This multidisciplinary program is ideal for BIOL, ENVS, and GIST majors/minors

Program Highlights

  • Travel throughout Belize on this 10-day program, January 3–12, 2018 and learn about this Central American country’s natural history and dynamic ecosystems firsthand.
  • Earn three credit hours towards ENVS, BIOL, GIST, or general elective.
  • Led by Loyola Ecology faculty member Fr. Stephen Mitten, S.J.
  • Snorkel and explore Belize’s rare reef ecosystems with local guides.
  • Visit ancient Mayan ruins and learn about traditional healing practices and ethnobotany.
  • Learn about Belize’s wildlife and marine life by hiking through a Community Baboon Sanctuary, paddling down the Sibun River, and camping in the largest jaguar sanctuary in the world.

Program Description

This ten-day program immerses students in the tropical ecosystems of Belize, an English-speaking country in Central America that lies on the Caribbean Sea. Throughout this traveling course, students will study rain forest and coral reef ecology, the natural history of Belize, and Belizean culture and development. Academic excursions into Belizean ecosystems will be coupled with field labs, discussions, and lectures from local experts. The course focuses on experiential learning through exciting activities such as hiking through a Community Baboon Sanctuary, river canoe paddling through the Sibun River while water testing and collecting macroinvertebrate samples, and snorkeling through part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Students will also tour ancient Mayan ruins, the Belize Zoo, the Maya Centre Village and museum, and the Smithsonian Institute’s Western Caribbean Marine Research station.

Click to see the ‌program flyer.

Click here to read student reflections about their time in Belize during this course.


The trips will be led by Fr. Stephen Mitten (smittensj@luc.edu), S.J. Click here to view his short biography.


Click here to see the full syllabus.

Students participating in this program will receive three credit hours for the class they take.

Course Offering:

ENVS 340-E: Natural History of Belize: Tropical Ecosystems & Conservation

Cross-listed with Biology

Pre-requisite: UCSF 137

Students who would like to receive credit for the majors/minor below have slightly different pre-requisites:

  • Biology Majors (with ecology emphasis): BIOL 102, 112, 265
  • Environmental Science Major/Minors: ENVS 137
  • Environmental Studies Major/Minors: ENVS 137

All students on the program will be enrolled in this three credit hour course. This course fulfills the following academic requirements:

  • ENVS Major/Minor Elective
  • Background course for Environmental Action & Leadership Minor
  • BIOL Major/Minor Elective for ecology emphasis
  • GIST Major/Minor Credit
  • Science course elective for Anthropology students
  • Satisfies the University Engaged Learning requirement in the Service-Learning category

Housing & Meals

During this traveling course students will stay in shared accommodations at multiple locations including Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Maya Center Guest House, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, and Tobacco Caye Guest House.

All meals (three per day) will be included.


Click here for the tentative itinerary.

January 3–12, 2018

  • 10/15—Application Deadline
  • TBA—Mandatory Pre-departure Orientation
  • 1/3—Students Arrive in Belize—Program Start
  • 1/12—Students Depart Belize—Program End

Program Costs

Program Fee $1,500


  • Three meals per day
  • CISI international health insurance
  • All accommodations
  • On-site transportation
  • On-site program support from local staff and Loyola faculty
  • All program academic excursions and activities
  • Entrance to museums, animal sanctuaries, archaeological sites, and national parks

Tuition Fee of $2,310 (graduate students must pay the graduate tuition rate)


  • Three credit hours of Loyola January term tuition
  • Lectures from local experts

Total Cost: $3,810

Not Included: $100 OIP non-refundable application fee, airfare, personal spending money, other meals, optional baggage and travel insurance, and incidental expenses.

Application Process

Application Deadline: October 15th, 2017

Space is limited—apply today!

Maximum Enrollment: 18 Students

As part of the online application you must upload a copy of your valid passport or passport application receipt and pay by credit card a $100 non-refundable Office for International Programs (OIP) study abroad fee.

For more information, contact Kelly Heath in the Office for International Programs at kheath2@luc.edu or 773.508.3307; or contact Fr. Stephen Mitten, S.J., Institute of Environmental Sustainability at smittensj@luc.edu.

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