A collaborative program between the Center for Academic Success and Excellence, the Department of Black Studies and the English Department at the University of Missouri, this trip is the first study abroad program geared towards underrepresented and underserved MU Students. CASE staff worked with several university departments and offices, fundraising $10,000 to reduce the cost for this program, which was a barrier for students’ participation.
Many colleges and universities emphasize courses and study abroad programs that help students explore cultures, life experiences, and worldviews different from their own. These studies which may address U.S. diversity, world cultures or both—often explore “difficult differences” such as racial, ethnic and gender inequality, or continuing struggles around the globe for human rights, freedom, and power.
Through this program, students embark on a literary, religious and musical journey through Jamaica following the events of Marlon James 2015 novel, “A Brief History of Seven Killings.” The students visit several cities across the island of Jamaica while exploring the Jamaican political system, musical and religious traditions and examining race relations from a global perspective.
Students are required to write journal entries at the end of each day. The write up is reflections of the day–what was learned and observed. Students’ grades are based on the students’ level of engagement during our various excursions. Additionally, every evening students discuss a specific character from the Marlon James novel and analyze a track or two from the Bob Marley’s Legend album.
The students discuss and analyze Marcus Garvey and Booker T. Washington, the history of Jamaica, the history of the West Indies, popular music culture and Reggae. Additionally, the students visit and examine Rose Hall Great House (former slave plantation) Trench Town Culture Yard, Liberty Hall (Jamaican National Art Gallery), Tuff Gong Bob Marley recording studio, Bob Marley Museum, Bobo Hill Rastafarian Camp, Jamaica’s National Park, and an Ethiopian Church workshop service.
Finally, students are required to turn in a creative photo essay, which included essays and excerpts from journal entries.
The goal of this program is to train future global leaders to be more effective, respectful of other cultures and political and economic systems.