Exploring the Agri-Culture of Belize

Type of Travel: 
Program Director(s): 
Ag Education & Studies, Economics
Departure Date: 
Sunday, May 10, 2020 to Thursday, May 21, 2020
Application Deadline: 
Thursday, December 5, 2019

The  objective of this course is to gain insight, understanding, and perspective of the agricultural industry, the food system, and culture of Belize. The rich culture of Belize reflects the diversity of the peoples who call Belize home: Maya, Creole, European, Garifuna, Mestizo, East Indian, Chinese and Mennonite. 

A series of lectures, interspersed with field trips and cultural experiences curated to bring alive the lecture topics. Additionally there will be opportunities to meet Belizeans allowing for a rich and diverse intercultural experience. Topics covered will include the history and culture of Belize and its peoples, and ties to agriculture/food system.

Program Goals and Outcomes
By end of this program you will have 

1. Dynamic global experience

2. Develop a general understanding and perspective of the agricultural industry in Belize:

  •  How has history shaped agriculture in Belize?
  •  How has geography and climate shaped agriculture in Belize?
  •  How has culture shaped food and agriculture?
  •  What is the contemporary food and agriculture system?
  •  What are the contemporary challenges?
  • How is Belize's agriculture system connected to the global system?
  • What questions, lessons can be drawn for questions of sustainability, food security, food sovereignty?

3. Learn about the cultures of Belize (Maya, Garifuna)

Participant Selection Criteria

  • Completed Program application in ISU Abroad. 
  • A diverse group of students, sophomore standing or above preferred.
  • All majors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who are in good academic standing are welcome to apply.
  • Ability to walk several miles.  
  • Ability to withstand hot, humid conditions.
  • Students must demonstrate a sincere willingness and interest in experiential learning and agriculture, resources and food.
  • Students must take both the on campus program and the travel component to complete the course. 

Note: Due to international quarantine restrictions service animals cannot be accommodated on our study abroad programs. For more information,please contact the Iowa State University Student Accessibility Services Office.  

Course Information
You will earn a total of 3 credits for the AGEDS 496 or ECON 496 during Spring Semester

  • AGEDS 496 or ECON 496 - This course has a pre-departure course component and a travel component.

  • For Pre-departure part of the course, class will meet during the spring semester at a location and time TBD. This course will

    • Set the tone for the program

    • Discuss academic portion 

    • Lay out expectations and procedures 

    • Answer your questions and concerns

    • Cover topics about itinerary, accommodation, meals, safety, health, logistics, travel documents, finances and more

  • Travel portion of the course will take place in early May.

 Students must take both the on campus course and complete the travel component. 

Program Fee*
$4,200 (includes roundtrip airfare, lodging, in-country arrangements)

Other ISU Fees*
$105 Study Abroad administrative fee
$16 CISI insurance and travel assist

*will appear on U-bill

ISU tuition and fee for 3 credits of AgEDs of Econ will be applied as needed.

Out-of-Pocket Expenses
$600 Personal expenses (meals, souvenirs, toiletries, cell phone fees, visa-if required, vaccines and preventative medications)
$175 Passport and mailing*

*If you are a first time traveler in CALS and need a passport, click here to find out how you can get the cost of your passport reimbursed (up to $145)

There are study abroad scholarships available through the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences study abroad office in 0018 Curtiss Hall. Scholarship application details are served to CALS students in the learning content section of the study abroad program application. Application deadline for Spring term scholarship applications is November 1, 2019

Other Scholarship resources

Office Of Students Financial Aid

Affording to go

Iowa State University Student Affairs Scholarships

Application Process
To be considered in the selection process, applicants should have completed the program application in its entirety before the application deadline of November 1, 2019.

  • Once the selection process is complete, you will be notified about the decision.
  • If you are accepted to the program you will be required to commit or decline participation.
  • Typically you will be given 7 to 10 days with a specific commitment date to finalize your decision.

Once you commit to the program, you are officially a participant in the program and will be responsible for all the program cost outlined in the budget. If you withdraw your participation after committing to a program, you will be responsible for all non-refundable payments that were made on your behalf and these charges will be charged to your U-bill.

Tentative Program Itinerary

Sunday, May 10
Arrival in Belize
Transfer to San Ignacio
Welcome Dinner

Monday, May 11
Orientation to Belize
Overview of  Belize with a focus on food & ag
Indigenous Peoples of Belize: The Maya & Garifuna
Agriculture in Belize: An overview

Tuesday, May 12
Xunantunich Maya site
Visit to traditional rain-fed farm

Wednesday, May 13
Spanish Lookout
Free time after return from Spanish Lookout

Thursday, May 14
Transport to Dangriga, Placencia
Visit to Gulsi Garifuna Museum
Lunch (traditional Garifuna meal)
Talk by Garifuna fishermen about fishing in Garifuna culture (traditional, commercial, sports fishing)  
Cassava Farm
Transfer to Placencia

Friday, May 15
Placencia Seaweed Farmers 
Bioluminescent snorkeling (optional)

Saturday, May 16
Visit to Banana Farm (bananas are one of Belize's main export products)
Agroforestry talk

Sunday, May 17
Introduction to  Laguna Village (Maya Village in Toledo District)
Contemporary Maya Issues: Land Rights and Maya economy
Qu'echi Healer's Association

Monday, May 18
Early morning hike to farmer's milpa fields & agroecological system
Maya Food - tortilla making
Tour of Punta Gorda
Chocolate making

Tuesday, May 19
Ethnobotany workshop with Maya healer
Inland Blue Hole

Wednesday, May 20
Departure for San Pedro
Water taxi from Belize City to San Pedro
Free Time

Thursday, May 21
All day boat trip to reef, mangroves
Friday, May 22
Departure for US



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