When you picture yourself studying abroad, do you imagine living near a sunny tropical beach, immersed in the history and culture of the Caribbean? If this sounds like your idea of paradise, consider studying abroad in Barbados. This West Indies island country has a rich history in Caribbean society that provides a glimpse into the 15th century.
Geography & Demographics
This small island is actually one of the world’s most densely populated countries.
Food & Culture
Food in Barbados is characteristic of its unique influences from Africa, India, and Britain. The result is a lively blend of the old and new. Your average Bajan cuisine includes sweet potato, yam, pasta, cassava, rice, cou-cou, and fish. Popular traditional dishes are fried fish cakes, black pudding, and tamarind balls. Street food is also popular, cheap, and often quite delicious. Because sugarcane is grown on the islands, sweet treats abound — don’t miss the Bajan candied sweet potatoes (a recommendation for dinner: the famous Friday Night Fish Fry at Oistins).
Barbados has one of the most dense road networks. Only 21 miles at its widest point, the island can still have long drive times due to traffic and congestion. Taxis, minibuses, and buses are available in most locations. Do yourself a cultural favor and ride in a ZR. These taxi vans are oftentimes are very crowded, and tend to take the more scenic routes to destinations.
The currency of Barbados is very similar to the U.S. and is called the Barbadian dollar. It too is divided into 100 cents and coins and notes are available in the same denominations as the US dollar.
Things to Do
Perhaps the best aspect of studying in Barbados is the obvious: its location. As one of the region’s leading tourist destinations, and one of the most developed islands in the Caribbean, this is a dream vacation spot for people from around the world. Barbados offers pristine beaches, rolling hills, and a myriad of sightseeing and recreational activities. You might explore historical landmarks by touring the Sunbury Plantation House, taking a boat trip and shipwreck snorkel adventure, or visiting the Tyrol Cot Heritage Village. A day at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve will leave you in awe of the variety of native animals and species. And any day you can take your pick of the some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Studying in Barbados
Study abroad programs in Barbados focus on history, and explore topics including the Atlantic Slave Trade, languages, migration of the people, religions, architecture, and much more.
One of the longest running study abroad programs anywhere is in Barbados. Established over 15 years ago, the Department of History and African American Studies has been running a unique summer program in Barbados. This program combines field visits and lectures exploring Caribbean societies. This program is coordinated during and includes the Crop Over Festival.
Many students attend the University of the West Indies Cave Hill campus in St. Michael, Barbados. Popular courses there are Caribbean History and Culture, The Atlantic Slave Trade, and Caribbean Perspectives on the African Diaspora. Field visits and lectures allow students to explore the ethnic and cultural diversity of the Caribbean through learning about plantation slavery, music, cuisine, festivals, archaeology, and education.
The University of the West Indies has several campuses throughout the West Indies. Alumni from all over the world have been recognized for several awards and accolades, and count many prime ministers from Jamaica, Belize, and St. Lucia in their ranks.
If history, adventure, and a tropical environment are calling your name, study abroad in Barbados! Its mark in Caribbean history will let you expand your knowledge in ways that will stay with you for life. The good-natured people, diverse culture, gorgeous land and seascapes, and delectable cuisine will become part of your personal history as well.