College Scholarships for Jamaica
Immerse Yourself in Reggae and Rasta Culture
Have you ever pictured yourself settling down to the beats of Bob Marley under the shade of a palm tree on a tropical beach to do your college homework? If you choose to complete part of your university studies in Jamaica, this could become your reality. Any student with a serious desire to study abroad or undergo a special program in Jamaica has the option to choose between several scholarships that will fund their travels.
But the benefits of moving your study spot to Jamaica go so far beyond Reggae and Rasta. Students interested in engaging their academics on the island may have the opportunity to study biology and its unique environmental context or examine Jamaica closely in light of its colorful history and political environment. Jamaica has always been one of the most desirable Caribbean destinations. But as a student studying abroad you will go beyond the tourist attraction and understand, for example by studying its history, the social situations which have been largely responsible for creating the climate in which Reggae and the Rastafarian spirit were born.
The following scholarship opportunities originate both from public and private college funds and from private organizations. There is a fairly mixed bag including possibilities for shorter study abroad programs and longer summer courses. Take a look at these awards to begin putting together a potential financial aid package to pay for your Jamaican journey.
Florida International University
Florida International University’s study abroad office conducts a summer Honors Program in Jamaica. Students must be honors level in their department. They may study the culture, climate and socio-political underpinnings of the tropical region through research and hands-on work. Top students may vie for honors scholarships specifically offered for this trip. These awards are $450 and, while they do not come close to covering the cost for travel, the funds may cover other necessary expenses.
The Office of International Studies at FIU also offers students the Study Abroad Scholarship, a need-based award. For this, students must also prove academic merit and write an essay that concisely explains their goals for the abroad program and how it benefits their major. Be very specific in your plans and intentions in Jamaica in this essay. The more clear you are about exactly why you want to go, the better and more memorable your application.
Indiana University – South Bend
Ever considered an alternative Spring Break? Take time out from the usual week with your friends this year and consider flying to Jamaica. Biology students at Indiana University-South Bend may participate in a Tropical Marine Biology Spring Break on the island. There is no better environment for studying marine life and the biology of a tropical environment than this perennially favorite destination. Scholarships available to students include:
- IU Office of Overseas Study Scholarships are awarded to students based on academic merit in combination with financial need. Funding varies based on an array of factors and students must be able to support their choice of abroad studies in the light of their major course of study.
- Joseph L. and Julia B. Peyser Study Abroad Undergraduate Scholarships are designed for students at least in their sophomore year who require financial assistance with international studies programs. The better fitted an abroad program is to the student’s major, the better positioned the applicant is for funding. The ideal student would be studying marine biology or environmental studies for this trip and scholarship.
University of Minnesota
Students at the University of Minnesota are encouraged to pursue studies abroad as part of any well-rounded liberal arts education. While the university doesn’t target any specifically to Jamaica, it does have quite a few study abroad scholarships which will be useful for the student who desires to create their own program and have it funded. Many destinations, especially ones far from Minnesota like the Jamaica program, offer open-ended options for students to design their own goals and courses of study depending on their major. The U of M offers generous scholarships through the Learning Abroad Center:
- Judee Kleffman Memorial Scholarships award $500 scholarships to students pursuing any length of abroad study.
- Billman International Scholarship Fund awards $500 to Minnesota residents.
- Faculty/Staff Study Abroad Scholarships are awarded to outstanding academic students. Awards $500 and are competitive.
School for International Training
The School for International Training (SIT) is a leading study abroad organization that offers unique international studies programs for students in a range of disciplines. The Jamaica program in Gender and Development offers students a specialized curriculum of study that examines the role of gender, both male and female, in light of Jamaica’s storied political and social contexts. Students live with Jamaican families and experience a full dose of Jamaican culture. This is for the student very committed to immersing themselves in their studies of Jamaica.
SIT offers many scholarships to participants most of whom qualify for some form of assistance. Typical awards are from $500 to $5,000. Criteria is based on both academic merit and financial need with preference given to those students who have been underrepresented in abroad studies:
- Diversity Fund Scholarships are specifically awarded to those students who have been underrepresented in international studies.
- HBCU Scholarships go to students attending Historically Black Colleges.
Graduate and doctoral students pursuing studies in Jamaica may qualify for the prestigious Fulbright Scholarships. These awards are hugely competitive but equally rewarding. Preference is given to students whose area of study is in drug trafficking, AIDS studies, economics and political science, among others, as these are the most pressing social needs in terms of research and development in Jamaica. Applicants are expected to have a well-defined course of study at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.
More Opportunities in Jamaica
Be sure to check with the study abroad or financial aid offices in your college to see if there are any other scholarship opportunities for study in Jamaica that you may not be aware of. Some study abroad offices will even allow you to create a unique program to Jamaica to suit exactly your needs if one does not already exist.
The dedicated student will want to stay well organized with foreign study program deadlines and applications, as they are often very competitive and you do not want to lose your chance for a funded exploration to Jamaica on the basis of a late essay. Make sure to apply early and completely, and you may find yourself pursuing your dreams on the island in the very near future.