Belize Large Animal Medicine & Marine Conservation - Loop Abroad - Study Abroad

Summer programs
Belize Large Animal Medicine and Marine Conservation

Applications for Summer 2022 are now open! 

SAVE $100! Make your deposit by Sep 30, 2021 and qualify for our Early Enrollment Discount!

Learn Large Animal Veterinary Medicine and Tropical Coral Reef Ecology in Belize

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This two-week Central American adventure gives you the chance to explore all of Belize, from the rainforest to the Caribbean coast. Spend one week studying large animal veterinary medicine on local farms, while using your evenings and weekends to discover Belizean culture and natural wonders like waterfalls and caves. The other week will be spent on the coast, where your snorkel-based course will teach you all about coral reef ecology and the marine life off the coast of Belize.

Who It’s For

This program is designed for university-aged students who are interested in becoming veterinarians or working professionally with animals. Participants must be at least 18 years old. Most are 18 to 25. Individuals of any nationality may apply.

You do not need to currently be in college, have a specific major or degree, or have any veterinary experience for either program.

Each group of up to 13 students will have its own veterinarian for the large animal portion of the course and may learn from local farmers and veterinary staff as well. The marine portion of your course will be taught by a marine instructor. (The large animal and marine weeks of the itinerary may occur in either order during your program.)


  • Work alongside a large animal vet in a farm-based field course
  • Try Belizean and Maya meals at lunches and dinners
  • Visit the Belize Iguana Project
  • Learn all about large animal medicine in the tropics
  • Discover Maya sites and history at Xunantunich temple
  • Explore jungle waterfalls and caves
  • Horseback ride
  • Zipline through the rainforest
  • Swim in the Caribbean Sea and study coral and other marine wildlife

Dates open for applications

Summer 2022

June 11 – June 25, 2022

These program sessions are covered by Loop Abroad’s COVID-19 100% Tuition Refund Policy. If a program is canceled by Loop Abroad due to COVID-19, we will refund 100% of any program tuition you have paid (including the deposit).

 apply now

*Subject to 1 days +/- on the schedule, includes travel days


Tuition is $3,950 $3,850 – SAVE $100 when you deposit by September 30!

Airfare is not included. Belize is a two-hour flight from Miami. You will book your own airfare to arrive on Saturday and depart on Saturday.

Interest-free payment plans are available. Current college students may be able to use federal financial aid toward their tuition. Your space is not held until your $1,000 deposit (credited toward tuition) is paid.

Tuition does not include medical insurance – if you don’t have medical insurance that covers you while abroad, you can purchase travel medical insurance. We can help you find a plan that meets our insurance requirements.

Courses and Hours

This program was designed with pre-vet students in mind. For your application to vet school (VMCAS), this program provides the following hours:

Veterinary Hours: 30 hours

Animal Experience Hours: 25 hours

Your group will have approximately 13 students, and there may be multiple groups in-country at the same time.

Students can calculate their own record of hours for their VMCAS or other applications but will earn at least this many hours.

The AVMA says “If you have the opportunity to work… for veterinarians who work with different species, that’s a bonus that can make you more appealing to a veterinary school admissions committee.” We’re proud to offer you that opportunity!

You will get to know your vet during the program, and they will get to know you! If you participate to the best of your ability, you’ll be well-positioned to ask for a recommendation letter at the end of the program.

This program provides a total of 60 service hours. Loop Abroad is a certifying organization for the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, for which those hours are eligible.

Students can also earn 3 college credits from Iowa Wesleyan University for this program — additional enrollment fee applies.


Belize is a small, Central American country on the Caribbean Sea, just a 2-hour flight from Miami. Over fifty percent of Belize is covered by rainforest. This English-speaking country is home to a mix of cultures and offers fascinating opportunities to explore Maya sites, as well as caves, waterfalls, and beautiful beaches.

This two-week program gives you the chance to discover Belizean culture and nature while exploring two different sides of animal science in the tropics: large animal veterinary medicine and marine ecology.

For one week, you will learn about large animal veterinary medicine in the tropics, working with a veterinarian on local farms to learn about and help to care for animals such as horses, cows, pigs, sheep, and goats. Lectures will supplement field course activities so that you can understand the veterinary science behind each hands-on activity. Your program provides community veterinary funding, as it funds the veterinary visits and the supplies used, and also offers you insight into farming and large animal care practice and issues in tropical developing countries.

During this week and over the weekend, you’ll have a chance to explore aspects of Belizean culture and its beautiful natural environment, including:

  • Trying Belizean and Maya meals at lunches and dinners
  • Visiting the Belize Iguana Project
  • Discovering Maya architecture and history at Xunantunich temple
  • Exploring jungle waterfalls and caves
  • Horseback riding
  • Ziplining through the rainforest

For the other week, you’ll live at the beach on the Caribbean Sea to participate in a snorkel-based marine course. The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300km section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. It’s the second-largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It’s estimated that only ten percent of the species in the reef have been discovered.

The focus of this snorkel-based course is to learn the key biotic and abiotic components of a coral reef system and how they interact. You will spend lots of time in the water each day, so be ready! The course will help students to understand the biological and ecological history of the reef system and try to predict its future under varied management strategies. Lectures will help students to understand possible coral reef conservation strategies globally.

Please note: either of the two weeks may come first in your program itinerary.



There are lots of ways to help fund your online and travel programs with Loop Abroad, and we are here to help.

Scholarships are a terrific way to cover some or all of your tuition for a Loop Abroad program.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship:

The Gilman Scholarship could fund $5000 of your tuition and the next deadline is October 5 at 11:59pm Pacific Time! The Gilman Scholarship was designed to help students of limited financial means have the opportunity to study abroad – online or in-person. Nearly a third of applicants are awarded the scholarship! This is a great opportunity to help cover your tuition.

Students can receive up to $5,000 for travel or virtual programs. The scholarship can be applied to any of our online programs, to our semester programs, or to one of our 2-week programs.

Along with their application, students must submit two essays, the Statement of Purpose Essay, and the Community Impact Essay. Students must also upload their transcripts (unofficial or official). For more information on the application guidelines, please click here.

See the official website and read about Loop Abroad students who have received this scholarship. If you are a US citizen receiving a Pell Grant and currently enrolled in college or university, we encourage you to apply for this scholarship. The round of applications due October 5 will cover in-person programs or internships that start between December 1, 2021 and October 31, 2022. Virtual programs will be eligible through Summer 2022. This cycle encompasses Spring 2022, Summer 2022, Fall 2022, and Academic Year 2022-2023 programs.

Loop Abroad Dr. Erica Ward Scholarship

Loop Abroad is offering one FULL TUITION scholarship to cover one online program of your choice starting January 2022 or later. Applications are due November 30, 2021.

Who can apply: This scholarship is open to all students age 18 and over. You do not have to be a US Citizen. You do not have to be currently in school. You do not need to be enrolled in an online course to apply. You can apply for the scholarship first and make your online course selection after you receive a decision about the scholarship. (Note: if you make any payments toward tuition and later receive the scholarship, your payments will be refunded up to the value of one online program of your choice, not including an online semester.) 

Criteria for selecting the scholarship recipient: 

We will consider financial need, commitment to conservation and/or animal science, academic performance, and ability to be a positive team member as factors in our decision. We are not looking for the applicant with the highest grades or the most animal hours. We are not looking for the applicant with the saddest story. We are looking for a student who embodies Loop Abroad’s values of teamwork, commitment to a cause, and hard work, and for a student who would not be able to otherwise afford Loop Abroad tuition (whether because of household income or recent change in circumstances).

How to apply:
In order to apply, you must complete the following three steps:

  1. Submit the application to the Loop Abroad Dr. Erica Ward Scholarship here. The application requires a copy of your proof of household income (such as last year’s tax return).
  2. Follow @LoopAbroad on instagram ( and make an instagram post about the program you’re hoping to join, tagging @loopabroad and #loopabroad in the post.

Announcement of Award: The scholarship winner will be notified by November 25th.

girl elephant dogWhy is it called the Erica Ward Scholarship? Dr. Erica Ward is our Academic Director. We believe that she embodies the values we are seeking in our scholarship applicants: she is passionate, dedicated, hard-working, and driven to make the world a better place. Dr. Ward consistently strives to find ways that Loop Abroad can support projects in need and help its students and alumni have fulfilling academic opportunities. We have decided to name this scholarship after her in order to honor her continued commitment to her values and purpose. (PS – She isn’t dead. Please don’t write your essay about honoring her legacy. She is very much alive and still working here. If you are a finalist for the scholarship, she will read your essay.)

The scholarship will be credited toward tuition for the winning student toward the Loop Abroad online program of their choice. If the chosen winner has already made payments toward his or her Loop Abroad tuition, those payments will be refunded in full.

Scholarship is non-transferable. If student cannot attend, scholarship will be void – it is not a cash prize and cannot be paid as such. Applicants must be over the age of 18. Citizens and residents of any country may apply.


The Gilman-McCain Scholarship:

The Gilman-McCain Scholarship is a congressionally funded initiative of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and named after the late senator John S. McCain from Arizona.

This 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. Students can receive awards of up to $5,000 for 2+ weeks of international travel or online programs. The scholarship can be applied to any of our online programs,  semester programs or 2-week travel programs.

The next round of applications for the Gilman scholarship open in January 2021. The deadline will be in March. At that time, you can apply for scholarships to use on any program starting between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022.

Freeman-Asia Scholarship:

The Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) provides scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. This scholarship is open to both US citizens and permanent residents who are undergraduate students at a two-year or four-year college or university.

Recipients can receive up to $3,000 in awards for summer programs. This scholarship can be applied to our Thailand programs of 2+ weeks.

In order to apply, students must fill out an online application. Read the scholarship instructions here and the eligibility requirements here.

Applications for the 2020-2021 school year are closed. 

The Fund for Education Abroad:

The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) invests in promising students with financial need who wish to study abroad. Potential applicants who meet our eligibility requirements may participate on any international education program that meets their academic objectives.

This scholarship is open to US citizens or permanent residents currently enrolled as an undergraduate at a college or university in the US. Scholarships range from $1,250 – $10,000 and can be applied for programs that run for at least 28 days.

Along with their application, students must submit a financial aid form (filled out by the financial aid office at their school), one recommendation letter, and a copy of their unofficial transcript.

Applications for Summer 2021 and Fall 2021 will open November 16, 2020 and be due by January 20, 2021. Students may review the scholarship and apply here.

Scholarships of note that you can apply for through the Fund for Education Abroad include: Travel Video Contest:

The 2020 Travel Video Contest gives students the opportunity to win a scholarship by sending in an original video discussing:

  • How COVID-19 has impacted your international education or cultural exchange experience abroad
  • Your ideal international education or cultural exchange after Covid-19

There are several prizes available ranging from $250 to $4,000.

In order to apply, students must create a 4-minute video and submit an online entry form. Tips and tricks for filming a video entry can be found here. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.

Submissions are due by October 13, 2020. Apply here.

The Associate Home Loan Scholarship:

The Associate Home Loans Scholarship was created with today’s future leaders in mind. As college prices are constantly increasing this scholarship was created with the hope that it can help make a small difference in one college student’s life each year.

This scholarship is open to high school seniors who have been accepted into a college or university, and current college and university students who attend at least part-time.

Students can apply for the scholarship by submitting a 500-word essay to the question, “What is your dream career?” The student with the winning essay will be awarded $1,000.

Get more details about this program…

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