With a 6 inch wingspan, the Homerus swallowtail is the second largest butterfly in the world - it is also endangered and only found in Jamaica. Why would an island just 4 times the size of Centre County, PA be the only home for such a creature? More importantly, why should you care about the survival of the swallowtail or any other living thing?
The Islands & People experience addresses these questions by using Jamaica as a model for understanding consequences and threats to the distribution of species across the planet (GEOG 314), while providing skills for engaging a cross-section of society around topics of ecological relevance (GEOG 498/ C & I 498). As issues of sustainability, loss of biodiversity and climate change continue to dominate our headlines, it is crucial that you develop your own arguments about the world around you and the opportunities and challenges for sustaining our planet.
After two weeks of working online and gathering some basic knowledge (May 30 to June 15), Islands & People faculty and students will meet at the Sangster's International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica to begin a 16-day immersive experience across the island (June 15 to July 1). The experience will conclude with online group reflection, discussions and submission of final assignments (July 2 to July 8).
GEOG 314 (GN) Biogeography and Global Ecology (3 credits)
Dynamics of plant and animal distributions on global, regional, and local scales; their causes, consequences and threats.
GEOG 498/ C & I 498 Learning across place, time and cultures (3 credits)
This course focuses on theory and implementation strategies for establishing communities of learners based on inquiry and active engagement.
You will receive credit for all academic courses taken at this institution, and all of your grades from abroad will count toward your Penn State cumulative GPA. You may not take any courses overseas on a Pass/Fail basis. Students may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad. These courses will not be credited at Penn State
There are no prerequisites for this program.
Housing and Meals
Students will be provided housing in some hotels, some home stays and will also camp for a couple of nights.
The program fee included all housing and transportation related to the program. Most meals are included in the program fee.
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully. Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Penn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.
The University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please visit theFunding Study Abroadsection of the Global Penn State website.
For More Information
For more information about programs and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with or contact our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. If you are not at University Park, contact your Campus Global Representative.
For more information, please contact Neil Brown, the faculty leader for this program. You may also schedule an appointment with the education abroad adviser for this program.
For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the GeoBlogs of Penn State students currently studying abroad.
How to Apply
If you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking the "Apply Now" button on this page.
You must complete the following materials in your application:
Education Abroad Questionnaire
One academic recommendation
Visit the How to Apply section of our website for more information.
Application deadline: February 1, 2016
Studying Abroad with a Disability
Many students with disabilities successfully study abroad each year. Please note that other cultures may have different attitudes and available accommodations regarding disabilities. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged in consultation with our office, the Student Disability Resources office, and our partners abroad. To prepare for success, students are strongly encouraged to research the country and program location to consider if and how they will manage their disabilities abroad in advance of selecting a program. Students with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds can begin their research on our Diversity Awareness Abroad page.