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“Nation to Nation: Building Indigenous Knowledge Across International Borders”

Students from the Maple League universities will come together to have a short-term study abroad experience in Belize through Galen University in the spring 2022 term focusing on sharing their Indigenous experience and learning about other indigenous cultures abroad.  

In May 2022, students will attend Galen University to have an immersive two-week experience that combines in-class teaching, field trips, community engagement, and group and individual reflection. Students will receive academic credit for their experience. The group will travel to multiple locations around Belize to learn about the Yucatec, Mopan, Garinagu and K’eckchi cultures of Belize. Guest speakers and visits to cultural sites will form the basis of this immersive learning journey.

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The topics that will be covered in the course titled “Indigenous Cultures of Belize: Preserving Indigenous Culture and Heritage through Decolonizing the Narrative” are:

  • Language Preservation (Ancient Maya Hieroglyphs, Garifuna, Yucatec, Mopan & K’ekchi)

  • Cultural Heritage & Education

  • Food

  • Indigenous Governance & Land Rights

  • Environment & Health 

  • Indigenous Innovations

Some highlights of the program will be:

  • Meeting the Governor General of Belize, Froyla Tzalam (Mopan Maya)

  • Visiting the Institute of Archaeology and the Institute of Social and Cultural Research to learn about the mandate of safeguarding Belize’s Indigenous cultures 

  • Hearing from guest speakers, Christina Coc, Tim Mesh and Filiberto Penados that will discuss the Maya of southern Belize land rights case that won at the Caribbean Court of Justice again the Government of Belize

  • Workshops with local traditional healers

  • Visits to local farming communities to learn about staple crops, cacao and corn

  • Visit to the fishing community of Hopkins where students will snorkel and learn about fishing rights

22 students from the four universities will be selected to participate in the program.  They will be accompanied by an Indigenous faculty member and an Indigenous Elder.  

The application period will open on December 6th and will close on January 7th.  

Program Details
Location: Belize
# of Students: 22
Program Dates: May 1-14, 2022
Language Requirement: none
Pre-requisite course: none 
Academic Credit: 3-credits in Indigenous Studies

Application and Selection Process
Application Period: December 6-January 7, 2022
Interview Period: January 10-20, 2022
Selection Announcement: January 24, 2022

Pre-Departure Preparations
February-April 2022 (various workshops and information sessions for participants)

Weekend Retreat

A weekend retreat for all participants will occur on March 11-13, 2022 at the Tatamagouche Centre. Participants will travel together from each of the four universities and will come together over the weekend to meet one another and learn more about the program and receive important pre-departure information.   

Program Dates 
Depart from Moncton, Halifax or Montreal on May 1, 2022
Arrive in Belize on May 1, 2022
Course Dates: May 2-May 13, 2022
Depart from Belize on May 15, 2022

Students applying should: 

  • have completed at least one term of studies at their home university 

  • be in good academic standing at the end of the Fall 2021 term 

  • demonstrate curiosity about other cultures and having an international experience  

  • open to sharing their Indigenous culture with fellow participants and partners in Belize through language, knowledge, teachings, and ceremony 

  • Previous international experience is not a requirement, nor will students with previous international experience be disadvantaged.

Other Considerations: 

  • Students will be required to participate in a Pre-Departure Orientation in Tatamagouche the weekend of March 11-13, 2022 

  • There will be some moderate walking and/or hiking in warmer temperatures that requires a moderate level of physical fitness 

  • Accommodations in Belize will be of a different style than in Canada and may require students to double up in their room 

Program Funding:  

Through the generous funding of the federal Government of Canada Global Skills Opportunity program, students are eligible for up to $10,000CAD to cover 

  • tuition for one 3-credit course 

  • return airfare to Belize  

  • accommodation in Belize for 14 days 

  • meals (3 meals per day for 14 days)  

  • travel health insurance  

  • in-country transportation and other program related fees 

  • costs related to the pre-departure orientation weekend retreat on March 11-13 at the Tatamagouche Centre (travel, meals, etc.)  

A supplemental application form will be available for students to apply for additional funding to cover costs such as dependent care, passport applications, vaccinations, other. 

Student Applications: 

1 – Complete and submit electronically the application for the Maple League institution you are registered with. Students can apply between December 6, 2021, and January 7, 2022. Applications are found here:

2 – Submit a letter of support that confirms you are a strong fit for the opportunity from a Community Education Director, Elder, Band Leader, or an appropriate person from your community. These letters can be submitted by email to: 

This program will take place each year for three years so if students are not successful in their first application, please continue to apply. Twenty-two students will travel each year for a total of 66 students from the four institutions over three years.  

Students will be notified of the outcome of their application by the end of January 2022.