Study Abroad in Trinidad & Tobago

Spring Semester Program

Trinidad and Tobago, the southernmost of the chain of glittering Caribbean islands, is a nation under construction, where conversations about race, gender, class, nationhood and the environment are often acted out artistically in song, dance and theatre – both on the streets at Carnival and in every village and town on the two islands throughout the year. Spend a semester exploring how the world looks from a small place and where the arts are often the most powerful medium for social discourse.

For students wanting to think about diversity, equity, social justice, gender or environmental sustainability Trinidad is an astonishingly rich laboratory in which to observe many of the same issues we debate here but from a very different ethnic mix and from a very different position on the planet.


Focus: Anthropology, Art, Community Development, Dance, Global Studies, Environment, Music, Religion, Social Work, Women & Gender Studies.

Electives available in: history, business, economics, psychology, religion, the environment, biology, engineering, sociology, gender studies, music, literature, math, political science, art and more.

Classes are taught by PLU faculty, local experts and at the University of West Indies, St. Augustine (UWI). As Trinidad & Tobago is an English-speaking nation, all courses are taught in English. To provide an introduction to the culture and society, all students are required to take a set of three core classes equaling 12 credits. Students then choose from a variety of elective courses to complete a total of up to 18 semester credit hours.

Required Courses

J-Term course: topic varies, taught by PLU/SLU faculty (4 credits)
HIST 350: Caribbean Culture and Society (4)
COOP 350: Living & Learning in Trinidad & Tobago or COOP 477: International Work Experience (4)


2 UWI courses (3-4 credits each*)

Search for courses in the Faculty booklets

*A 3-credit UWI course can fulfill a 4-credit PLU course, with appropriate approval.

Course Descriptions

Spring 2017: MUSI 120: Music and Culture – AR, C (4 credits)
Taught by PLU Professor, Greg Youtz

HIST 350: Caribbean Culture and Society – SO (4 credits)
This course places emphasis upon the history and background of the meeting of cultures and peoples in the Caribbean, and seeks through traditional academic methods and experiential learning to project the region as the location of a cross-cultural civilization. The interculturation taking place in the region will be seen not in terms of mosaic or melting pot, but as a process that respects and takes advantage of difference in order to produce relative harmony out of fundamental commonalities. A major component of the course focuses on different forms of resistance to exploitation from the time of the Amerindians to present, and these resistances will be studied as essential elements shaping the Caribbean societies. Music, religion, and festivals of the region, most notably traditional Carnival, will be explored as crucial resistance elements which forge the area’s irrepressible identity. The course includes field study experiences.

COOP 350: Living and Learning in Trinidad and Tobago (4 credits)
This course is designed to assist students in acquiring a broader understanding of what it means to live and learn in Trinidad and Tobago, and how community relations can be fostered. It includes the experiences of a short homestay, as well as regular weekly community service at a venue of a student’s choice. This course builds on 5 broad areas of experience each student on the program will have and provides an opportunity to talk about and analyze these experiences, comparing them to similar experiences the student has already had at home or on their home campus. Previous student placements include assisting at elementary schools, orphanages, animal humane shelters, museums, clinics, the school for the deaf, among many others.

COOP 477: International Work Experience (4 credits)
Students may participate in a optional for-credit international internship experience in a non-profit, community, or government organization or a business in Trinidad and Tobago. Placement opportunities in local organizations involved in ecotourism, community organizing, public health, women and gender issues, education, the environment and the arts. Requires a separate application, is supervised by on-site program staff, and requires two-hour a week participation in the Internship Seminar. Students who opt for the internship option will take 1 course at UWI to allow enough time in the schedule for the internship.

PHED 276: Carnival Performance (PE – 1 credit)

PLU Course Equivalency

Use the online Interactive Guide to see how students have used study away credit from the Trinidad & Tobago Gateway Program at PLU. This tool serves as a starting point for academic planning. If a course equivalency is not listed, it may be requested from the appropriate academic department.

Pacific Lutheran University awards all credits earned in this program. Semester-long study away programs fulfill PLU’s Cross Cultural Diversity requirement.

Course and study tour offerings are subject to change.

Study Tours

Integral to the culture and society course, group study tours guide students through the cultural, environmental, religious, and artistic diversity that makes up two islands of Trinidad & Tobago. Course lectures and readings come to life as students participate in Trinidad’s expressions of the Hindu spring festival of Phagwa, the West African Orisha and Shouter Baptist festivals, the Muslim Hosay commemoration, and the world famous Trinidad Carnival. Students spend a week in rustic beach cabins in the traditional fishing village of Charlotteville, Tobago and explore marine biodiversity sustainability. Students also help clean the beach in anticipation of spending an evening watching large sea turtles at close range as they lumber up the beach to lay their eggs.

Caribbean Lodge

The Lodge is an attractive, secure student guesthouse with wireless internet access, and is only a five-minute walk from the beautiful campus of the University of the West Indies. The huge spreading trees and swimming pool on campus grant welcome relief on particularly warm days. The monthly meal stipend allows you to prepare your own food in order to live as the locals do.

Program Fee

The PLU comprehensive fee for Spring semester covers this academic experience (instruction and academic credit, housing and meal stipend, study tours, study abroad insurance, visa fees, and a $750 flight credit). To find the current comprehensive fee for one semester, divide the total full-year cost listed on the Admissions website by two. Please note that the comprehensive fee varies each year, and the cost of this program will be based on the year in which you study away. Financial aid applies.

Out-of-pocket Expenses

Some air travel, books, personal excursions, and other miscellaneous expenses are not included in program cost.

Global Scholar Award

All PLU Gateway & Featured Programs are Global Scholar Award eligible. This need-based award can cover out-of-pocket expenses up to $2,500 on PLU Gateway and Featured semester programs.

For non-PLU students, please check with your home institution or sponsoring study abroad organization on program cost.

External Scholarships

For more outside scholarship opportunities, please visit our Funding webpage.

Contact Us

Greg Youtz
Professor of Music
Director, Trinidad & Tobago Program

Will Taylor
Study Away Advisor & Semester Program Liaison


Sophomore, junior, or senior standing. Students must have a minimum 2.7 or higher G.P.A. (3.0 preferred). Must be a student in good standing. No previous language required; English-speaking nation.

Application Deadline

Spring 2018 applications are due May 1, 2017

A $50 non-refundable fee is due with the application. A $300 non-refundable program payment to confirm participation is required within 10 days of acceptance.

Application Components

  • Online application
  • Short essays
  • 2 recommendation forms (1 faculty, 1 professional)
  • Application fee

Reflections on the Program
Learn about PLU student Aubrey Frimoth’s experience studying in Trinidad & Tobago as an Environmental Studies major.

Mural Project
While studying in Trinidad & Tobago during Spring 2014, PLU student Chris Jordan collaborated with a local boys’ school to paint a fantastic mural.

Photo Gallery
Check out our Flickr Photo Gallery to see pictures from past participants in the Trinidad & Tobago program.

Watch these three videos of the Trinidad program, created by Lauren Leyba (2015), Aubrey Frimoth (2014) and Katie Scaff (2012), to get an idea of what your semester might look like.

Program Highlights

  • Spring Semester program (early January to mid-May)
  • English-speaking Caribbean nation
  • Multiple Study Tours
  • Flexible university coursework
  • On-site support
  • Internship option