Study Global Health Care in English-speaking Belize, “Mother Nature’s best-kept secret”

Join the Center for Engaged Learning Abroad's Global Perspectives in Health program and earn 3 credits from our university partner on your study abroad Belize experience. You may be able to use federal financial aid toward your tuition!

This program is suitable for anyone interested in learning about global health issues, including those majoring in nursing, public health, and One Health.

June 25 – July 8, 2023

This two-week program will introduce you to global health care through the lens of the Belizean healthcare system. You will explore a range of contemporary global health topics and learn to situate health in its broader social and economic context. Days will include a combination of field visits, lectures, observational clinical experiences…and some travel fun too! 

Belize is a multicultural, biodiverse Central American country that borders the Caribbean Sea. Because English is the country’s official language, Belize is an ideal place for you to interact with and learn from health care workers and community members.

You will have plenty of opportunities during the program to immerse yourself in the culture and natural beauty of your surroundings. There will be an organized excursion to the Xunantunich Maya site that will introduce you to the rich history of Belize, and scheduled free time for you to explore the town market, hit the beach, and have some fun!

Featured topics explored in the field:

  • Social determinants of health
  • Infectious disease
  • Maternal health
  • Nutrition and global health
  • Public health policy
  • Environmental health
  • Non-communicable diseases and injuries


  • Observational clinical experiences at a community clinic and local hospital
  • Field visit with community health workers
  • Visit to the Belize Agricultural Health Authority lab
  • Meetings with national and international health care organizations
  • Lectures by experts in indigenous health
  • Visit to a medicinal garden with a local healer
  • Tour of San Ignacio and its town market
  • A guided tour of the Xunantunich Maya site
  • Free time to independently explore Belize

Your study abroad experience will expand your horizons and prepare you for your career!


The Center for Engaged Learning Abroad’s Global Perspectives in Health program is a two-week program for students from any college or university. You will be placed in a group with students from different schools. Through a combination of lecture and field-based instruction, your teaching instructor will introduce you to key issues in the field of global health.

You can earn three college credits for your participation in the program from CELA’s school of record, Iowa Wesleyan. (Additional fee applies.) A sample syllabus for the program can be found here. You will be supervised by licensed U.S. faculty in conjunction with Belizean medical personnel and supported by CELA staff in Belize and the United States. You will be comfortably housed in a guest house in shared rooms with other CELA students of the same gender. WiFi is available. Transportation to program sites and breakfast are included in the program tuition.

During your program, you will get to know the people and culture of Belize, an English-speaking Central American nation that borders the Caribbean Sea. Referred to as “the Jewel ” by those who visit it, culturally diverse Belize is known for its beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and ancient ruins.

You do not need a visa to travel to Belize and, in most cases, can use U.S. dollars. English is the country’s official language, so language is not a barrier.

Want to spend a month in Belize? Nursing students can spend an additional two weeks shadowing Belizean nurses in CELA’s Community Health Clinical Internship and see the concepts that they learned in their global health course in practice. See the program page for the four-week program for more details. Students interested in One Health can add the two-week Large Animal Veterinary Practice in the Tropics program. See the One Health program page for more details.

Exact program itinerary is subject to change.

Belize was voted as a top 10 country to travel to in 2022!

Each year, the travel experts at Lonely Planet name the best destinations for travel. In naming Belize as one of its top ten places to travel to in 2022, Lonely Planet writes, “Belize is where chilled out vibes and adventure combine…With one foot in the Central American jungles and the other in the Caribbean Sea, pint-sized Belize is packed with islands, adventure and culture.”

Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2022:

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June 25 – July 8, 2023

Map of Belize



Tuition is $3,180, not including airfare, medical insurance (required), and some lunches and dinners. All program activities are included in your tuition. You may be able to use federal financial aid to cover your tuition.

The first $500 of your tuition (your program deposit) holds your space in the course. The deposit is non-refundable. All prices are in U.S. dollars.

Interest-free payment plans are available.

If you are a Pell Grant recipient, we encourage you to apply for the Gilman Scholarship, which can cover your full tuition.  The application deadline for the Gilman Scholarship for Summer 2023 programs is October 6, 2022.

Included in program tuition:

  • Airport transfers in Belize
  • Orientation and welcome dinners
  • Lodging
  • Breakfast each day
  • All lectures, guest speakers, and learning activities
  • All in-country transportation
  • All fees for included tourist activities
  • Final program dinner
  • Program tee shirt
  • 24/7 staff support
Not included in program tuition:
  • $30 application fee
  • Airfare
  • Medical insurance (required)
  • $499 for course credit through Iowa Wesleyan, if desired (not required)
  • Personal budget for meals (lunch and dinner), laundry, free day and evening activities, food, souvenirs, etc.



For over a decade, the Center for Engaged Learning Abroad (CELA) has provided academically challenging and transformative pre-health study abroad experiences. With a full Belizean staff in our Belize office, you have the benefit of local expertise on every CELA program, with a U.S. contact for ease of communication pre-travel.

CELA is excited to also offer the Global Perspectives in Health study abroad program and the Community Health Nursing Clinical Internship to students from schools all over the country. These programs provide students a unique chance to see healthcare from a variety of perspectives while giving them the opportunity to explore Belize, meet new people, and have some fun!



CELA prides itself on its valued partnerships with the local community. In addition to its relationships with local experts and community health workers, CELA has a memorandum of understanding with the Belizean Ministry of Health, which is the largest provider of public health services in Belize and is responsible for the oversight of the entire Belizean health sector.

CELA is committed to social responsibility and ensuring that our business activities benefit the culture and biodiversity of Belize. We actively pursue and value cooperative relationships with organizations across the country in pursuit of this goal.


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CELA is committed to student health and safety. We support students in managing their safety by providing them with up-to-date health and safety information and guidance. Our staff in Belize seeks to be available 24/7 should students need emergency assistance. CELA follows strict safety protocols in clinical settings based on CDC guidelines, local healthcare facility directives, and other pertinent sources.

All participants must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (including boosters, if eligible) and must adhere to CELA’s COVID policies, which will be released closer to the program time and based on the most up-to-date CDC guidance.

CELA encourages students to enroll in the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to learn more about the best practices for safe travel.


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CELA is an American-owned organization with Belizean and American staff in Belize and support staff in the United States. Programs are taught by U.S. licensed faculty in conjunction with Belizean health professionals.


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CELA is a recognized center of excellence for study abroad, engaged scholarship, and experiential learning. Academic credit for the Global Perspectives in Health program is available through CELA’s U.S. school of record, Iowa Wesleyan University, a four-year, non-profit university in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. CELA also offers the option for credit from Sacred Heart University, a junior college in Belize.



Want to study abroad but not sure if you can afford it? You are not alone! While studying abroad gives you an appreciation for the world outside of your home country, grows your character and confidence, and gives you great opportunities, many still worry about paying off student debt in the future. Thankfully, you can pursue a couple of options that may make that trip of a lifetime a little bit more affordable.

The Gilman Scholarship offers awards of $5000 for undergraduate study abroad for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university. Talk to us about applying!


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Many of our alumni have been successful raising money from friends, family, and community through crowdfunding. Tell your story, share your passion, and people may want to be a part of your adventure and growth!
The Gilman-McCain Scholarship is open to US citizen undergraduate students who are child dependents of active duty service members and receiving any type of Title IV federal financial aid to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.