Health in Belize
Health in Belize Maymester
This program is a collaboration between the Office of Global Engagement and the Pre-Professional Advising Office.
The Health Program in Belize is intended for UGA students who plan to pursue careers in healthcare and work actively toward that goal. In this program, the participants will have the opportunity to learn about the Belizean healthcare system—and how it differs from ours—through guest lectures, tours of public and private healthcare facilities, shadowing opportunities with clinicians, and conversations with volunteer community healthcare workers from rural areas. In addition to these experiences, participants will enroll in two UGA courses for 6-credit hours: BIOL 4910 Topics in Biology and BIOL 4940 Internship in Biology.
Please note that you need to double check with your college that they have approved this activity for Experiential Learning Credit on engage.uga.edu. If you do not see this listed, speak with your academic advisor to confirm whether or not this program will count for EL.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, some aspects of this program may be modified to ensure the health and safety of the participants while in Belize. This may impact shadowing opportunities while in-country.
This program aims to help students gain perspective on international healthcare while increasing their cultural competency. Learning to communicate and work with patients from different backgrounds is invaluable to students who wish to pursue a healthcare profession. The program also offers a unique opportunity to broaden a student’s undergraduate experience through meaningful professional and personal interactions. Further, the clinical exposure will be helpful not only in applying to graduate health professional programs but will also enable our students to become more well-rounded applicants and, in turn, more conscientious healthcare providers. This program hopes to develop mature individuals who leave Belize with significant experience in the world beyond the classroom as it is an ideal vehicle for developing some of the skills and attitudes that are valued in the practice of medicine—flexibility, self-reliance, and sensitivity to other cultures. Lastly, this program offers our students an ethical healthcare-centered shadowing option that meets AAMC ethics guidelines.
Program participants are required to attend pre-departure orientations and academic meetings in the spring semester.
English is the official language of Belize. Knowledge of Spanish is not required for this program.
See our location and itinerary tab for more information.
Program Dates: May 14-June 3, 2024
Estimated Program Fee:Below are the prices for the 2023 program. We are currently confirming the Maymester 2024 prices.$3,715 (includes lodging, breakfast, several lunches and dinners, program-related transportation, and entrance fees for program-related academic and cultural activities) and $300 program deposit. It does not include plane fare, UGA tuition or UGA fees. Click here for more details.
Application Opens: August 16, 2023
Application Deadline: October 15, 2023
Program Contacts: Ms. Amanda Spohn (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr. Hilda Mata (email@example.com)
- Open to all students at the University of Georgia who meet requirements.
- BIOL 1108/L must be successfully COMPLETED prior to submitting application.
- Have university credit for two or more science courses in biological sciences, chemistry, ecology, physics prior to submitting application.
- 3.0 or higher GPA.
- Satisfactory academic and disciplinary records.
- Qualified students enrolled with a pre-health intention who have met with an advisor form the PreProfessional Advising Office.
- Have successfully completed two or more science courses in biological sciences, chemistry, ecology, physics for a grade (A-F) at UGA prior to submitting application.
- Have successfully completed 30 credit hours or more at UGA prior to application prior to submitting application.
- Have a 3.3 or higher GPA.
- Begin an application on the studyaway.uga.edu portal.
- Written application will be review and selected applicants will be invited (via email) for a brief interview with the program directors. Please note that an interview does not guarantee admittance into the program due to the limited number of spaces. Interviews, however, are a mandatory part of the selection process.
- Once all interviews are completed, applicants will be notified via email application portal whether they have been admitted or waitlisted.
- Admitted students will have 10 calendar days from the date of acceptance to commit (or withdraw/decline) and pay a non-refundable $300 deposit. Waitlisted students will be admitted as spaces become available.
Amy Medlock, PhD
AU/UGA Medical Partnership
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Georgia
Amanda Spohn, M.Ed
Pre-Professional Advising Office
Office of the Vice-President for Instruction
University of Georgia
Hilda M. Mata, Ph.D. | Office of Global Engagement | Director, Africa/Latin America Programming Initiatives
Amanda Spohn, M.Ed. | Pre-Professional Advising Office | Coordinator
Belize, Central America
Belize is a relatively small developing nation located on the northeastern coast of Central America. It shares borders with Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean Sea. With a population nearing half a million, it is home to various languages and ethnic groups that include: Mestizo (of Spanish and indigenous descent), Creole (of European and African descent), Maya, Garifuna (of African and Caribbean indigenous descent), and smaller groups of European and Asian heritage. A former colony of the British Empire, Belize gained full independence in September 1981. While other languages are actively spoken in the country, English has remained the official language.
The Belizean two-tiered healthcare system comprises public hospitals and clinics that serve the population at little or no direct cost and private hospitals and clinics that require payment but are generally better equipped. As part of the public health system, Belize has a network of trained volunteer community healthcare workers who assist with basic care in rural areas.
The primarity location of this program is in the western city of San Ignacio, 7 kilometers from the Guatemalan border. The second location (3 days) is Hopkins Village on the Carribean Coast.
(This itinerary is subject to change)
ITINERARY - Below is the 2023 itinerary. We are currently confirming the 2024 itinerary. As soon as it is ready, we will make it public.
May 15 – Arrival in Belize, transfer to San Ignacio, housing orientation, and welcome dinner.
May 16 – On-site orientation, San Ignacio activity, and class time.
May 17 – Visit to shadowing facility, class time, and guest lecture 1: An Overview of Belizean History and Culture.
May 18 – Medicinal plants activity, shadowing rotation, and class.
May 19 – Cultural meeting with Maya women's group, visit farmers' market, and class time.
May 20 – Zipline and cave canoeing activities
May 21 – Visit Xunantunich Maya Archeological Reserve, and class time
May 22 – Class time, guest lecture 2: Overview of Belizean History, Culture, & Kriol Language and shadowing rotation.
May 23 – Class time, and guest lecture 3: Patient Care Experience: Challenges and Opportunities in Developing and Developed Societies, and shadowing rotation.
May 24 – Shadowing rotation, class time, guest lecture 4: Insights into Cultural Norms of Health Care Professional who serve in the Belize Government Administered Hospitals.
May 25 – Shadowing rotation, class time, and guest lecture 5: An Overview of Public Health in Belize
May 26 – Shadowing rotation, service learning activity and class time.
May 27 – Cahal Pech Maya Archeological Reserve and class time.
May 28 – Free day.
May 29 – Shadowing rotation and class time.
May 30 – Shadowing rotation and class time.
May 31 – Shadowing rotation and class time.
June 1 – Travel to coastal Belize, local orientaion, beach visit.
June 2 – optional (pay on your own) snorkeling tour or free time.
June 3 – Garifuna community drummingsLessons and final program debriefing.
June 4 – Travel day, return home