Study Abroad in Trinidad & Tobago

Spring Semester Program

Nestled at the end of the southern Caribbean’s glittering chain, are the two lush tropical islands (one nation) of Trinidad and Tobago. Immerse yourself in the rhythms, festivals, and traditions of this complex Caribbean society. The people and customs of Trinidad and Tobago emerge from a rich tapestry of race, religion, class, and culture; from various blends of the indigenous Amerindians, of Africans, East Indians, Spanish, French, British, Chinese, Syrian, among others.

Vibrant and colorful, Trinidad and Tobago’s celebratory culture will reveal the strong humanity that seeks to bind its different peoples to a shared future where – as their anthem declares – “every creed and race find an equal place.”


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 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 under Faculty booklets

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

Course Descriptions

Spring 2016: ENGL 216: Caribbean Literature – LT (4 credits)
Taught by St. Lawrence University Professor, Eve Stoddard

HIST 350: Caribbean Culture and Society – SO (4 credits)
This course integrates all facets of the program through your experience in the culture and it surveys contemporary Trinidad and Tobago society, exploring the rich diversity that stems from its colonial legacy. This course begins upon arrival and is coordinated by a UWI professor of history who is assisted by an academic and a cultural assistant. Course topics include the significance of Carnival and other festivals, gender and ethnic relations, parliamentary democracy and politics, environmental challenges, religious syncretism, and Caribbean music and dance. The course includes field study experiences.

COOP 350: Living and Learning in Trinidad and Tobago (4 credits)
A Community-based education experience complemented with a series of discussions, readings, and activities which provide context for the living and learning experience. The students’ community service grants intimate access into the local community and provides a reciprocal opportunity for both students and the community to learn from one another. 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)
Instead of COOP 350, students may participate in a 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.

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 Fall 2015 covers this academic experience (instruction and academic credit, housing and meal stipend, study tours, study abroad insurance, and visa fees). Financial aid applies.

Out-of-pocket Expenses

Roundtrip 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

Barbara Temple-Thurston
Professor of English
Director, Trinidad & Tobago Program

Tanya Ulsted
Study Away Coordinator & Gateway Program Manager


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

Completed application materials are due to the Wang Center by March 13, 2015 for Spring 2016 program. A $50 non-refundable deposit is due with the application. A $250 non-refundable program payment to confirm participation is required within 10 days of acceptance.

Application Components

  • Typed and signed application form
  • Short essays
  • 2 recommendation forms (1 faculty, 1 professional)
  • Copy of passport ID page
  • 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