The Caribbean’s tropical islands and rich culture call to travelers from across the globe, making it one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The tiny island of Barbados is one of the most unique islands, blending West African and British cultures, and radiating sunshine and positive vibes. Imagine taking classes, earning a degree, and broadening your horizons while calling this dream vacation spot “home.” Palm trees, powdery white sands, and turquoise waters will create the perfect view from your classroom window. Who ever said you couldn’t study abroad in paradise?
Where to Study Abroad in Barbados
Located in the West Indies in the North Atlantic Ocean, this small island is one of the most densely populated in the world, despite only being 21 miles from end to end at its widest point. The country dates back to the fifteenth century when European settlers and African slaves inhabited the island. Today, its history is reflected in the architecture, food, language, and landmarks. Whether you’re a history buff or a beach bum, you’re sure to quench your wanderlust while studying abroad in Barbados. Here are the best places to study abroad in Barbados.
Most students study abroad in Bridgetown, and for good reason: it’s the only “city” on the whole island. Bridgetown is home to half of Barbados’ residents, with plenty for students to explore. Step back in time as you wander the streets among old colonial buildings, explore the Barbados Museum, and settle into this UNESCO World Heritage site. Take it easy after classes and head to the pedestrian-only Swan Street for good shopping, boutiques, and delicious street food, featuring classic Bajan cuisine (think sweet potatoes, pastas, fish, and cou-cou).
When you’re in need of a break from city life, check out the many coastal areas with picturesque land and seascapes. Rockley Beach and Paynes Bay Beach are known for their nautical vibes, and you can spend your afternoons surfing, snorkeling, or submarining to explore dark sea caves, colorful corals, and shipwrecks. End your beach days with a Fish Fry at Oistins or candied sweet potatoes.
The joy of studying on a tiny island is that no matter where you are in Barbados, you’ll be able to explore the entire island throughout your stay.
Popular Subjects to Study in Barbados
There’s no doubt that most students who study abroad in Barbados come for the history. With roots in the Atlantic Slave Trade and a mix of contrasting languages, cultures, and religions, history majors will be in heaven. Balance the cultural learning with a laidback island atmosphere for the perfect study abroad experience.
Barbados is home to some of the longest running study abroad programs in the Caribbean. The Department of History and African American Studies, developed over 15 years ago, runs unique summer study abroad programs that combine lectures and excursions to explore Caribbean societies. Normally, these programs run during the famous Crop Over Festival, where you can celebrate the end of the sugarcane harvest with locals with folk concerts, colorful costumes, and carnival parades.
For those looking to study in a university setting, consider a semester abroad at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill. Here, you can consider studying Law, Pure and Applied Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, or take courses in the Atlantic Slave Trade and Caribbean Perspectives on the African Diaspora.
Costs of Studying in Barbados
Most island study abroad experiences tend to be expensive, but studying abroad in Barbados doesn’t have to break the bank. While many items are imported to this tiny island, Barbados tends to be much cheaper than most big cities in the United States. If you plan ahead, save and budget money, and consider applying for a scholarship to help the costs of studying abroad, you’ll have more than enough to study abroad in the land of history and sunshine.
The Barbadian dollar is similar to American currency in the fact that it breaks down to 100 cents with the same denominations as U.S. dollars, but $1 magically doubles in Bajan paradise. Save nice restaurants for special occasions, as a meal can cost between $15-20. Instead, stick to shopping for fresh fruit, veggies, eggs, and meat at the local markets.
Student Housing in Barbados
Imagine waking up every morning to blue skies, clear waters, and rays of sunshine peeking through palm leaves. As you study abroad in Barbados, this can be your life. Studying abroad in Barbados offers a variety of accommodation options to suit every type of student. Rent a house or apartment with other students to split the costs of rent, or choose university dormitories that overlook the Caribbean Sea. Both options will allow you independence, opportunities to make friends, and beaches at your doorstep.
Other students may choose to stay with a host family for a full immersion experience. Settle in with your family of Bajans who will take you around town to explore museums, Bajan wildlife, and local art galleries. You’ll feel like a local as your family teaches you Barbados English slang (similar to British English), and gives you a taste of the Bajan dialect that will make you sound like a true islander.
Student Visas for Barbados
Typically, Barbados does not require a visa for short-term stay, depending on your country of origin. If you plan for a summer study abroad, you may not have to worry about a visa at all! For students planning to study for a semester or longer, you may need to apply for a student visa. Student visas cost ~$150 and often take up to six weeks to process. It’s best to check the Barbados Embassy Directory for up-to-date info on visas.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
One of the biggest challenges students face while studying abroad in Barbados is island fever. With only one big city, lots of traffic, and ocean in every direction, some students may feel waves of homesickness and claustrophobia. But if you embrace the island lifestyle, you’ll realize the size of Barbados makes it magical: you’ll truly be able to explore every inch of the island and it will feel like home!
The island has a unique way of life that study abroad students will not find anywhere else in the world — taste the blend of African and British culture. Students will truly feel as if they’ve traveled back in time.
Studying abroad in paradise never looked so good! The good-natured locals, unique culture, beautiful landscapes, and delicious Bajan cuisine will soon become part of your personal history.