The Caribbean Islands are known for their sandy beaches, aquamarine colored waters, and fun in the sun atmosphere. But many islands also offer educational programs for college students, undergrad and graduate, that allows you to experience the culture and laid back vibe of the islands while earning college credits or simply expanding your knowledge of other cultures and languages. There are also exciting opportunities available in the Caribbean to do volunteer work and take language courses. Whatever your education aspirations may be, the Caribbean islands have a program to fit your choice of adventure. Another perk of studying in the Caribbean for U.S. students is that English is spoken on most of the islands, which makes it easier to become acclimated to the exotic surroundings.
Academic Programs University of the West Indies- Barbados The Cave Hill Campus located in Barbados, offers both undergraduate and graduate curriculums in Education, Law, and the Social Sciences, to name a few. With campuses also in Jamaica and Trinidad, you have your choice of many beautiful scenic locations. The Cave Hill Campus prides itself on promoting study abroad programs and welcomes international students to its campus. The campus has a great view of the Caribbean Sea and is in close proximity to the island’s capital.
One of the unique experiences of studying in the Caribbean, and specifically at Cave Hill, is the combination of indoor-outdoor classroom activities. The school takes full advantage of its tropical surroundings and aims to give students a well-rounded island experience.
Spartan Health Sciences University- St. Lucia Spartan Health Sciences University located on the paradise island of St. Lucia offers a medical graduate program. The program is a 36 month accelerated medical degree curriculum plus 20 months additional clinical science work in various locations in the US. , Canada, and the U.K. The University boasts itself as offering one of the finest medical degree programs for one of the most affordable tuition prices. With Spartan, you get the beauty of St. Lucia combined with a quality education.
Volunteer Programs Global Volunteers- Jamaica Volunteering and helping others is an amazing and rewarding feeling, and to be able to do it in the midst of beautiful Jamaica is even more exciting. Global Volunteers is an organization that offers various volunteer vacations in Jamaica. There are many benefits gained from these programs. Students come away with far more than a vacation experience and it’s much more fulfilling than the usual spring break weekend. Improving classrooms, rebuilding roads, cleaning up and restoring healthcare facilities for the underprivileged, and promoting proper education for young girls, are just some of the ways you can help make things better in this Caribbean community. Volunteering with Global Volunteers is the perfect way to combine learning and giving back to the community in one vacation. (http://www.globalvolunteers.org/jamaica/jamaica_projects.asp)
Earthwatch Institute- Puerto Rico Though Puerto Rico is a part of the United States, it is nestled in the Caribbean Sea and has some of the most clear blue waters and breathtaking scenery of the any of the islands; however, the Earthwatch Institute’s volunteer expeditions will take you into the depths of the rainforests. Volunteers are taught techniques that help to sustain and manage the rainforests, such as measuring trees, counting frogs and lizards, and helping to set up new plots for planting different trees and shrubbery. Don’t worry, time is also set aside for hiking, swimming, relaxing and enjoying the sights and sounds of the forests, while partaking of the delicious Puerto Rican cuisine and culture. Saving the rainforests is a vital part of maintaining the quality and resources of our planet. Joining an Earthwatch expedition will enlighten you to the importance of the rainforest preservation projects. So pitch in and do your part for the planet with Earthwatch Institute as your guide. (http://www.earthwatch.org/exped/)
Language Courses CELA Centro de Linguistica Aplicada- Margarita Island, Venezuela No mistake here, the gloriously beautiful and luxurious Margarita Island in Venezuela is also a part of the Caribbean Sea family of islands. At CELA, you can learn Spanish in the Caribbean. Courses are held for small groups of students year round. The classes are taught in five different levels of difficulty and they even have specialized Spanish lessons for medical professionals, law, and business students. Besides learning the language, this course offers excursions to the exquisite beaches and sites of Margarita Island. This is the epitome of a learning vacation. (http://cela-ve.com/spanishcourses/)
The Language Travel Company- Guadeloupe Learn to speak French on a Guadeloupe vacation filled with Caribbean memories of white sand beaches, turquoise waters, scuba diving, and sailing. The Language Travel Company’s school located in Saint-Anne, Guadeloupe is only 50 yards away from those gorgeous beaches, and places you right in the middle of Guadeloupe culture; which is a blend of French, African, and Native American traditions. The classes only allow five students at once and have the best in comfort and technology to offer, from an internet café to a state-of-the-art library facility and Wi-Fi access. Students are able to accelerate their learning by adding one on one personal lessons to their existing classes. Just note, that if you are a beginner, this French language vacation is not for you. Students enrolled are required to be at an intermediate level. But if you are on a professional path where speaking French is required, this opportunity may be the perfect educational retreat. (http://www.thelanguagetravelcompany.com/sainte-anne.php)
The Caribbean islands have much to offer students seeking non-traditional educational and volunteering opportunities. For most of the university courses, volunteer programs, and language classes, applying online is easy and very similar to applying for programs locally in the United States. Do your own research; speak with online advisors, which on many websites were available through virtual chat, and explore financial aid and other payment options with an advisor. Once you decide which experience suits your needs and your wallet, you can be well on your way to a fun and enlightening Caribbean experience
YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGbf_C12d2M (This vid is silent. It is an array of beautiful pics taken by the Earthwatch Puerto Rico team in 2010. It’s beautiful)