Academics. Accompaniment. Adventure. In Belize!
Saint Louis University's Casa Belize delivers an academic experience abroad unlike any other. Take your classroom experience into vibrant and multicultural communities, learn from local leaders and community members, reflect on national and international realities, and explore the uniquely diverse ecosystems of Belize. Casa Belize welcomes students from SLU, our Jesuit college and university partners, and any other interested student to study abroad for a semester in Belize.
Benefits of Studying at Casa Belize
- Transcripted by SLU and facilitated in partnership with St. John’s College in Belize.
- Study abroad close to home and in English.
- Combine rigorous intellectual inquiry and moral reflection rooted in direct contact with marginalized communities.
- Use Belize City as a base to explore Caribbean islands, Central American jungles, vibrant Garifuna communities, and ancient Mayan ruins.
Casa Belize is a unique study abroad experience. Offered in partnership between two Jesuit institutions - Saint Louis University and St. John’s College - Casa Belize educates in the praxis model based in Ignatian spirituality. This model combines rigorous intellectual inquiry and moral reflection rooted in direct contact with the marginalized. Students spend a semester immersed in the diverse cultural, historical and social reality of Belize. Together with accompaniment of the poor, vulnerable, and excluded, students grapple with academic perspectives on this reality, live simply in community with fellow students in an on-campus residence, and are invited to share their spirituality. Optional reflections based on Ignatian spirituality and a community retreat during the semester provide additional opportunities for students to process their experience abroad.
Of course, this unique academic and personal experience is enhanced by exploration of Belize’s richness and beauty through facilitated and self-guided excursions to the cayes, jungles, Mayan communities and ruins, and more!
Complete up to 18 hours of core and major requirements in cultural diversity, social sciences, foreign language, fine arts, natural sciences, philosophy, or theology.
- Casa Belize Praxis Seminar (AS 3500) - Based on academic background, personal interests, and professional goals, students are paired with fellow classmates and assigned a praxis site in a local Belizean marginal community. Students learn from the people in that community two full days a week for the entire semester. This learning environment cultivates an awareness of and sensitivity to the realities of those who are struggling to end social injustices while working to promote human dignity. The Belizeans in the praxis sites are co-professors of this class. Students enter the praxis sites as learners, not as volunteers, and are invited to immerse themselves in the “classroom” of the marginalized of Belize. Students’ praxis sites are intentionally linked to their other academic courses. Students bring their community-based learning into dialogue with classroom-based course work. In addition, this experience serves as a springboard for personal and communal reflection in and out of the classroom. (Potential SLU core and/or degree requirement fulfillment: Global Citizenship, International Studies, Service Learning, Social Science, Jesuit Traditions)
- Caribbean Society and Culture (SOC-1ELE) - This course looks at society and culture as the key concepts use to examine the experience of Caribbean peoples. It also introduces students to the historical evolution of Caribbean society and culture, as well as the factors outside the region that helped to influence the evolution of the society and culture. Finally, this course introduces the students to the concept of development in the Caribbean. Students will explore how the continued development of the Caribbean region reflects the complex relationships among social, cultural, political, environmental, technological, and economic factors. The course will also introduce key individuals and institutions that have played a major role in Caribbean development. (Potential SLU core and/or degree requirement fulfillment: Global Citizenship, International Studies, Social Science)
- Social Justice (fall only, THEO 2515) - This course is designed to engage students in the reality of social injustice in Belize while introducing them to the variety of ways in which the Christian tradition responds to this reality. Students will study selections from scripture, Catholic Social Teaching, Christian theologians, and the lives of Christian saints and martyrs. Students should leave the course with a better understanding of Christian perspectives on social justice that can be applied to their own faith or spirituality, political choices, and way of life. (SLU attributes and core: fulfills theology core requirement, Catholic Studies-Theology, International Studies, Urban Poverty, Women's & Gender Studies)
- Ethics (spring only, PHIL 2050) - This course undertakes a systematic analysis of fundamental problems and issues involved in questioning whether and how moral discourse can be rationally grounded, with an emphasis on Belize; the utilitariandeontological debate; questions concerning different levels of moral discourse; competing notions of justice and the relationship between morality and religion. (SLU attributes and core: fulfills philosophy core requirement, Catholic Studies)
- Drawing I (ART-2000) - This course offers an introductory experience in making art through drawing media. It covers the fundamentals of drawing, which include: Line, shape, shading, perspective, and proportion. Students will be working primarily in pencil, charcoal, and color pastel (dry media). This is a studio-based class that meets twice a week.
- Painting I (ART-2200) - This course offers an introductory experience in making art through painting media. It covers the fundamentals of painting, which include: the colour wheel, colour schemes, colour mixing theory, and the use of both watercolour and acrylic paints. This is a studio-based class that meets twice a week.
- Ecology/Concepts of Biology (BIOL-1360) - This course offers a broad introduction to many of the major aspects of ecology for the non-science major, from the ecosystem and evolution to population and community, thereby providing the student with a greater understanding of the living and non-living elements making up the environment. The student will attain a greater appreciation for the interaction that occurs among living and non-living components of the environment. The course requires 2 mandatory field trips, which involve direct contact and sampling of the environment during field laboratory exercises based on theories, processes, structures and phenomenon lectured in class. (With lab=4 credit hours)
- Fundamental Ecological Principles (BIOL-1REQ) - This is an introductory course for those students majoring in the natural and environmental sciences. This course introduces the student to the field of ecology (the dominant branch of environmental biology), which allows them to interact, on a first-hand basis, with the environment. The course requires 3 mandatory field trips, which involve direct contact and sampling of the environment during field laboratory exercises based on theories, processes, structures and phenomenon lectured in class. (With lab=4 credit hours)
- Ecological Issues and Society (BIOL-1200) - This is an intermediate course building on the Fundamental Ecological Principles course for those students who have had an ecology pre-requisite course. The course requires mandatory field trips, which involve direct contact and sampling of the environment during field laboratory exercises based on theories, processes, structures and phenomenon lectured in class. (With lab=4 credit hours) Intro to Latin
- American Literature (ENGL-2930) – This course studies representative works from Latin American literary figures from pre-Colombian period to the present day in their literary, cultural, and historical contexts to show socio-political influences on and in the underlying philosophies of major literary and stylistic trends, themes, genres, and movements such as neoclassicism, romanticism and modernism.
- Origins of the Modern World to 1500 (HIST-1110) – This course takes a developmental approach to the Western World as a confluence of classical, Islamic and Judeo-Christian traditions. Study of the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean and 2 Other electives available from SJC course catalogue by petition. 3 Near East (Greece, Rome and Byzantium); the Asian, Norman and Islamic invasions of Europe; the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Reformation.
- Belizean History (HIST-1ELE) – This course examines human society in Belize from archaic times to the first contact with Europeans; European exploration and settlement in the 16th and 17th Centuries; economic developments including forestry and sugar; the similar and different treatment and culture of slaves in Belize and the Caribbean; immigration; political changes from early European settlement to independence; the historical roots of contemporary, social, economic and political issues. There is one mandatory field trip for this course.
- Social Philosophy (PHIL-2ELE) - This course is an exploration of the various theories and issues related to the subject of social and political philosophy. A philosophical analysis of such concepts as justice, equality, freedom, and duty is presented as well as an examination of the relation between society and the state, the role of the individual in society, and the impetus underlying social change. In other words, it aims at philosophical reflections on the concepts and reality that affect all human beings: their relations to the social group.
- Introduction to Politics (POLS-1000) – This course is an introductory study of the political process, the state, sovereignty, nationalism, functions of government, ideologies, political systems, forms of government, democratic and totalitarian models, federal and unitary models, constitutionalism, representation, political parties and interest groups. Particular attention is given to political models at work in contemporary Latin America and the Caribbean.
- General Psychology (PSY-1010) - This course provides an introduction to the concepts and theories of psychology and to their application to real life situations. Throughout this study of human behaviour and the mind, students will gain insight into the history of the field of psychology, as well as explore current theories and issues in areas such as sensation, perception, consciousness, learning and memory.
- Introduction to Sociology (SOC-1100) - This course provides understanding of the fundamental concepts in sociology as a discipline and as a science. It introduces concepts and theoretical perspectives related to society, the socialization process, culture and identity, and cultural diversity and change within the Caribbean.
- Intermediate Spanish (SPAN-2010) - This course begins with an intensive review of the fundamentals of Spanish. It involves progressive readings and exercises in composition and conversation stressing the development of self-expression. The objective of this course is to develop all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and to provide an insight into Hispanic life and culture. Students should have a basic background in Spanish.