Hamline News

Development Ethics in Jamaica Study Abroad Course

Jamaica Trip

The Development Ethics in Jamaica study abroad course is offered every other year. In January of 2015, twelve Hamline students accompanied Professor Sam Imbo to Kingston, Jamaica. Desmond Campbell, a 2006 MAEd alumnus, organized this connection between the Hamline contingent and the Moneague Colleage in Jamaica, which hosted the Hamline students and professors.

According to Duane L. Cady, emeritus professor of philosophy, “Getting out of the over-developed world into the developing world prods reflections on the relationships between the two as well as a new understanding of home.” Experiential learning takes place during bus rides through the hilly countryside, at meal times, and in late-night discussions.

The course traditionally attracts an interdisciplinary group of students (particularly in philosophy, religion, social justice, art, and business). The course readings focus on development issues in Jamaica, and the site visits allow students to pursue questions relevant to their specific disciplines. Travel in Jamaica confronts students with intense first-hand experiences of navigating the challenges of currency rates, language and history, reggae and Rastafari religious beliefs, and most of all new cultural norms.

Professor Lynette Henderson, who accompanied Professor Imbo and his students on Jamaican experiences, capitalized on the late-night discussions. “Our evening round-table conversations fueled by philosophy, art and science are my favorite memories; each observation by the students and my faculty colleagues brings up highly interesting and concrete questions and connections between what we study and what we experience."

Students keep journals and write a final paper upon return to campus after two weeks in Jamaica. Consistently the final papers reveal the life-changing impact of this study abroad experience. “This experience placed another perspective in my life," says Annika Williamson, who has Jamaican grandparents. "It confirmed the amount of hard work that needed to be done. I was able to appreciate what it means to be Jamaican.”