There’s no denying that Haiti has seen its share of hardships in recent years. But it is also impossible to ignore the irrepressible spirit of its people and their indefatigable fight to get back in Iwa’s good graces. When you study abroad in Haiti, you’ll get an insider’s look into post-disaster recovery, have the opportunity to work with humanitarian leaders from around the globe, and work to forge a Haiti that is stronger than its past and hopeful for its future.
Best Places to Study in Haiti
Haiti is a mountainous Caribbean country that shares an island with the Dominican Republic. Deye mon, gen mon is a phrase you’ll hear tossed around a lot there — meaning beyond mountains, there are more mountains. It’s symbolic of both the rugged landscape and the almost omnipresent struggles that never seem to let the Haitian people go; but taking their cue from the towering peaks, the people are strong and resilient.
Here are the most popular places to study abroad in Haiti.
Much of the nation lives in poverty, yet their capital Port-Au-Prince still throngs with the country’s livelihood. It’s the largest city in Haiti, and while it may not have the look of other international capitals, it definitely transmits the feeling of this compelling Caribbean nation. You can visit a subterranean museum that illuminates Haiti’s history, including the world’s only successful slave rebellion, take a stroll in the parks of Champs de Mars, or visit some of the new vodou cyberpunk art installations on Grand Rue Artists (where else can you say that?!). There are dozens of cafés with French fare and even some that cater to the Western tastes of embassy and NGO workers.
Nestled within a beautiful 3km-wide bay, Jacmel is a charming old port city and coffee town with late-Victorian era touches. There is even a kilometer-long boardwalk along the beach that hums with activity into the night, and features many of the city’s hand-painted souvenirs and papier-mâché masks. You’ll be needing one to participate in carnival come February!
Leogane is a former French colonial town that is now the center of one of Haiti’s largest agricultural regions. It’s been crippled by two earthquakes and a fire since its inception, but it stands strong as a center for fishing, sugarcane production, and fruit growing.
Popular Subjects to Study in Haiti
Hundreds of students study abroad in Haiti every year, most drawn to either agriculture or peace operations and conflict studies. Haiti’s turn-of-the-19th-century revolution from France and its subsequent takedown of slavery was just the beginning of a tumultuous path whose conclusion is yet to be seen, but it’s one that inspires us all.
Agriculture is probably the country’s most important economic division, and there are ample opportunities to study animal science, sustainable farming, and even pre-med as it pertains to health and farming. You’ll get hands-on experience and be able to talk with actual farmers working the land and producing food. It’s an intimate look at farming combined with a very real place to make a difference; a combination you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
Another huge pull to the area is the chance to see international policy and diplomacy and humanitarian relief up close and personal. You’ll hear stories of international assistance from Haitian people and see NGOs in action. You’ll also witness the undefinable quality of the hurdles they face and realize the complexities involved in solving them, but with any luck have a clearer vision on where you want your humanitarian path to take you.
Costs of Studying in Haiti
While programs can be pricy, Haiti itself is a particularly cheap study abroad destination. Most programs do include airfare and lodging, so you’ll only have to front the money for meals and optional excursions. Participants can get by on $50-$100 per week depending on what they indulge in- but you won’t need to break the bank to enjoy those juicy in-season mangos! Check out our scholarship directory for help funding your trip, and also don’t forget to make a FundMyTravel account to get help from family and friends who want to support you on this journey.
Accommodations in Haiti
Most hotels and guest houses are located in Port-au-Prince, and many of the programs will set you up in one of these decorative locales. Guest houses are great for meeting people with shared interests, locals and international students alike, and also tend to be in the thick of things in terms of networking and being able to see the work others are doing. In more rural settings you may be housed in cottages on self-sufficient farms, where you’ll be expected to work hard but also directly enjoy the literal fruits of your labor.
Student Visas for Haiti
No visa is required for stays under 90 days. To stay longer, you can apply for a student visa with a sponsor letter from your abroad institution, written proof of funds, fingerprints, and your passport. For full requirements and country-specific information, check out the embassy directory.
It’s also important to read up on recent health advisories for Haiti for vaccine information and tips on how to avoid getting sick. You can enjoy a diri ak sos pwa (rice and beans with sauce), but don’t drink the water!
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Between natural disasters and relatively recent political uprisings, Haiti continues to struggle to put food on the table and is one of the countries most supported by international relief groups. That being said, studying abroad in Haiti will be an eye-opening experience grounded in good people, good food, and the good, rich earth. Like crops, aid flourishes from the ground up, not the top down.
So dive in, get your hands dirty, and come home with invaluable insight into global aid efforts and your place as a citizen of the world.