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 theater- 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, Biology, Community Development, Dance, Global Studies, History, Environment, Literature, Music, Religion, Social Work, Theater, Women’s & Gender Studies.

Students take three PLU designed courses taught by local professors, local experts, and US professors as the foundational coursework of the program. The wide range of disciplines offered at the University of West Indies allow students take two courses of their choice based on their academic interests or needs.

A rare study away location, PLU invites non-PLU students, such as St. Lawrence University, to participate in this Gateway program.

Required Courses

19-21 Credits possible

J-Term course: topic varies by year, taught by PLU/SLU faculty (4 credits)

HIST 350: Caribbean Culture & Society (SO – 4 credits)

COOP 350: Living & Learning in Trinidad & Tobago (4 credits)

PHED 276 (PE – 1 credit) Carnival Performance


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

J-term Course 2018 
COMA 120: Introduction to Media Studies – AR (4 credits)
Taught by PLU Professor Joanne Lisosky, this course combines the study of visual media theories and analysis with the processes of actual media production.

HIST 350: Caribbean Culture and Society – SO (4 credits)
An introduction to the main thematic foci of the program within Trinidad and Tobago’s historical context. Course topics and research areas include: energy exploration and economic development; biodiversity and environmental sustainability; race, gender and ethnic relations; parliamentary democracy and democratic processes; the significance of Carnival; and continuity and change in Caribbean music and dance. Taught by University of West Indies Professor of History, Brinsley Samaroo, and two teaching assistants, one cultural and one academic.

COOP 350: Living and Learning in Trinidad and Tobago (4 credits)
Case Studies in Community Organizing In Trinidad & Tobago: Place-Based Learning Option with Internship option (details below) Students are placed in a community organization involved in ecotourism, community organizing, public health, women and gender matters, education, the environment or the arts. In addition to this placement, students complete a case study of the institution they are serving and explore the history and mission of both the non-profit and/or public sectors in Trinidad and Tobago. 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) [Optional]
Students who wish to pursue an internship in their academic discipline will take one course at UWI (instead of the usual two UWI courses). Students will need this extra time in order to complete the necessary 100 internship hours, plus seminar meetings. Placement opportunities include the above ecotourism, community organizing, public health, women and gender matters, education, the environment and the arts, plus business and the sciences. Departmental credit may be arranged.

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 4-5 days 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 shaded open lounge area grant welcome relief on particularly warm days. The monthly meal stipend allows you to prepare your own food in the communal kitchen 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 applications are due May 1

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.


NOTE: Each academic year the current application is made available during International Education Week in November.

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)
  • January course taught by PLU/SLU professor
  • Multiple Study Tours
  • Flexible university coursework
  • Internship option
  • Local support from on-site coordinator
  • Homestay weekend
  • No language required (English-speaking nation)