Baking Field School in Belize


Program Overview

Program dates: May 2 - 14, 2017

Learn more about the schedule of activities and accommodations in the detailed itinerary.

In addition to learning about the diverse culture of Belize including a visit to a Mayan archeological site, participants in this field school will also have the opportunity to learn first-hand about the process of making chocolate (from raw bean to finished product), as well as how vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, cardamom and all our popular spices are grown, harvested, dried and processed. Participants will learn about the coffee roasting and grading, and attend a seminar from a master distiller about how sugar cane is transformed into rum.  

 Organic Cacao of BelizeBanana VineKen Harper Coffee

Eligibility and How to Apply


Applicants must have good academic standing. 

Application Process

  1.  Expression of Interest statement is to be completed and emailed to by the deadline of October 17. The Expression of Interest received after this date will still be accepted, but space on the trip may not be guaranteed. (Please copy/download/save the 'Expression of Interest' to your computer, fill it out and save it again before emailing to Ken Harper.)                                                                                                            
  2. Current VIU Baking students have 1st refusal. Then, the remaining seats will be offered to the non-VIU students to apply.
  3. Accepted VIU students will receive an email requesting the non-refundable deposit of $500 to be paid through your Student Record and due by November 15, 2016. VIU does not accept credit card payments for field schools.
  4. Non-VIU students must apply to VIU as a non-credit community student by filling out the VIU application and send it to VIU application form (apply as a community member and check the visiting student box):  VIU Application for Admission
    Or online at: VIU Apply
    Receive your nine-digit VIU student number
    Set up your student record (for making payments) at:  VIU Student Record
    Or online at: VIU Apply

Accepted non-VIU students will receive an email requesting the non-refundable deposit of $500 to be paid through your Student Record with the deadline. VIU does not accept credit card payments for field schools.

All participants will be required to submit the following to Education Abroad prior to departure. Education Abroad online form (In the drop down box indicate the Baking-Belize 2017 field school).

  • Acknowledgement of Responsibility waiver and Cancellation forms.(Waiver and Cancellation forms) 
  • Passport (Passport must be valid until 6 months after your return date. If your passport is "in process" please indicate that with your application.)
  • Flight itinerary 
  • Travel medical insurance document

Payment Schedule and Funding

Field School Costs

The cost of the Baking Field School in Belize will include:

  • All travel expenses within Belize
  • Shared rooms, in a variety of different lodgings: starting in seaside cabins, then a modest hotel in Punta Gorda; to humble riverside lodges with beautiful screened-in verandas; then rustic cabins in the rainforest; finally finishing in a luxury inland hilltop agri-tourism resort, situated on an organic farm, in the middle of the jungle
  • All tours and educational activities in Belize
  • Most meals in Belize  (see below for exceptions)
  • Program operational costs
  • Flight from Vancouver to Belize City and return

Other costs to participants:

  • Emergency out-of-country medical insurance (mandatory and proof of purchase is required)
  • Passport
  • A few meals while in Belize: 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 3 dinners.
  • Immunizations (check with the travel health clinic in your city to see what is required)
  • Personal or free time expenses
  • Tuition fees - This would not apply for Baking or Culinary students. If academic students wish to take this field school for university credits, arrangements can be made. 

 Financial Assistance

  • International Education Stipend - The International Education Department at VIU encourages Education Abroad by providing eligible VIU Students with an International Education Award of $350. Conditions apply.
  • StudentAid BC - Students on the BC student assistance Program (BCSAP) may be able to continue their funding to include Education Abroad. Those not currently receiving BCSAP funding, may be able to apply. Contact Financial Aid in Building 200 for more information.
  • One World International Scholarship Program - The overall purpose of this scholarship is to increase the participation by undergraduate students from public post-secondary institutions in BC in academic, experiential and work-related study abroad programs outside Canada to develop a more globally literate citizenry and workforce in the province. Scholarships will range from $1000 to $3500. Read the eligibility criteria carefully before applying. Application deadlines: March 27, 2016 and November 20, 2016


Field school deposits and payments are made online through student record after the charge has been applied to the student record. Credit card payments are not accepted by VIU for field schools.

Payment Schedule

The total cost per participant is $3450

Payment TypeAmountDeadline
Non-refundable deposit$500  November 15
Payment 1$1475February 15 
Payment 2 Final$1475March 27

Travel Information and Conditions

Program Conditions

Canadian standards of safety and comfort are an ideal that may not be possible elsewhere and you may endure some discomfort (for example: heat, insects, shared rooms). Medical services are limited in Belize and you should take extra care to remain safe and healthy. You may also experience some “culture shock" and travel stress; these are a natural outcome for any field school in any foreign environment.  

Belize is a tropical country with high humidity and intense sun so the temperature range from 25 and 30 degrees Celsius feels much hotter. The month of May is near the rainy season, resulting in intense humidity. Sea breezes often do not reach inland areas. You must be prepared to endure these climate conditions. Immunization shots may be required. A willingness to learn and to share knowledge is essential. 

Travel Information

  • Belize is a popular spot for travellers to visit. Check out the Foreign Affairs Canada travel report for Belize
  • Immunizations? Check for recommended immunizations. Make an appointment with the Travel Clinic (Nanaimo: 250.740.6940).
  • Passport? You must have a valid passport good for six months after your return date. Apply for a Canadian passport or pick up an application at any Canada Post office. Don't delay in applying for or renewing your passport once this field school has been confirmed. The Passport office is very busy and the process is not as simple and fast as in the past. If you will not be travelling on a Canadian passport, please talk with Jennifer Sills in the Education Abroad office.
  • Nearest hospital in Belize
  • Outgoing Canadian Travel Registry

Contact Us

Ken Harper

Instructor Professional Baking and Pastry Arts Program
Building: 185, Room: 234
Phone: 250.740.6442
VIU Culinary  or VIU Baking

Jennifer Sills

Education Abroad Manager
Building 255, Room 264
Web: VIU Education Abroad