COURSE DESCRIPTION: This interdisciplinary course (3-credits, 6-weeks) is a partnership between IU’s Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies (CLACS), the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT), and the Bowden Pen Farmers’ Association (BPFA) in rural eastern Jamaica. Summer 2015 will mark the 8th offering of the course/program.  In Jamaica students will participate in experiential-learning initiatives associated with: cultural ecology, sustainable agriculture, eco-heritage tourism, park management, and permaculture design. Permaculture is a creative systems-thinking approach to designing productive and resilient ways of living for humans, while working with and sustaining natural environments. Summer intensive class sessions at IU (Bloomington) provide students with a foundational understanding of: 1) Jamaican history and expressive culture; 2) ecotourism and ecological issues in the Caribbean;  and 3) agricultural practices and constraints facing small-scale farmers in Jamaica; and 4) contemporary approaches to creating and maintaining sustainable and resilient communities. Seminars and workshops in Jamaica with farmers, park rangers, community leaders, herbalists, spiritualists, poets, and musicians, place further emphasis on the ROOTS, FRUITS, and RESILIENCEY of indigenous agricultural, environmental, and cultural practices. Highlights of the overseas component also include: service-learning projects, farm site visits, a trip to the Maroon community of Moore Town, hiking on historic trails and other outdoor activities. Students will enjoy traditional Jamaican food and hospitality at the Holywell Recreational Area above Kingston and at the Ambassabeth Cabins Ecolodge in the Rio Grande Valley.


FIELD SITES: Holywell Recreational Area (Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park), Ambassabeth Cabins Ecolodge,  and communities in the upper Rio Grande Valley region of eastern Jamaica (Portland Parish).


COURSE DATES: Summer 2015, May 13-June 19 (6-weeks). The course begins with 3 weeks of classes on the IUB campus (starting May 13), continues with 2 weeks in Jamaica (May 30-June 13), and ends with 1 final week of class after returning to campus.


PRIORITY APPLICATION DEADLINE: February 2, 2015. Interested students should contact Dr. Galuska,, for an application and additional course details. NOTE: Program enrollment will be limited to a maximum of 15 students. 


IU CREDIT: Latin American and Caribbean Studies: L426 for undergraduates & L803 (or by individual arrangement) for graduate students.


C0-INSTRUCTORS: Dr. John Galuska, SPEA Adjunct Faculty  (cultural anthropologist, ethnomusicologist, urban farmer, and permaculture designer) & Natalie Christian (Biologist)


TOTAL 2015 COURSE COSTS (EXCLUCING Round-Trip Airfare): $2,700 (Indiana residents) and $2,900 (non-residents). This includes: 3 IU-credit hours, 41 meals, 14 nights lodging, ground transportation, speakers and performer fees, service fees, and (required) student travel insurance. The course costs do NOT include round-trip airfare. Each student will be responsible for purchasing a round-trip airline ticket to Jamaica from Indianapolis International to Kingston (Norman Manley International). NOTE: In summer 2014 the airline ticket cost was approximately $500.


COURSE DEPOSIT: A non-refundable $500 course deposit (credited toward the overall course costs) is due AFTER being formally accepted to the program. The 2015 deposit deadline is March 9th.


FINANCIAL AID & GRANTS: Students receiving financial aid packages may be able to receive additional need-based funds to help pay for the summer program costs. Please speak with an IU Financial Aid representative. Additional funding opportunities through IU are also available. These include:

  • Merit-based funding from DEMA for minority students:


  • Merit-based funding from the Hutton International Enhancement Program:


  • New merit-based funding from the School of Global & International Studies through the Anderson Student Overseas Study Scholarship:


  • Merit-based travel awards through the Service Learning Program:


ADDITIONAL PROGRAM INFORMATION: Dr. John Galuska,, 855-6215 (office number with voicemail)





John D. Galuska, Ph.D.

Adjunct Faculty, SPEA

Director, Foster International LLC

Indiana University