Study abroad with Penn State—in Jamaica
According to the Global Digital Yearbook, pre-pandemic the Caribbean had 51% internet penetration and 46% social media penetration with 76% mobile subscription. The report also posits that in Jamaica specifically, they have 112% mobile subscriptions, i.e., more phones than people, but less than half the population is connected to the internet (41%) and even less connected to social media (38%). This would seem impressive, except that this data only explains partial access to technology (i.e., internet penetration quantifies available infrastructure not financial or other social boundaries to access) but not willingness/ability to participate effectively in the digital economy. This participation could be especially exclusive to the vulnerable populations such as those with disabilities or individuals with diverse socioeconomic statuses [that are attached to socially constructed identities].
With this, said, although the country is small (<3mil people living inside the country), there are just as many if not more living outside of the country. According to Gross (2019) in an article published in the Virgin Islands Consortium in November 2019, the former US Ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia stated there are more than 1million Jamaicans living in PA, NY and NJ alone. This is plausible given that Jamaica is the only English-speaking Caribbean country named in DHS immigration yearbook accounting for almost 20% of total Caribbean immigration activity. Therefore, the local Caribbean diaspora should not be overlooked in social media marketing.
The country is also infamous for its global cultural impact, stemming from music, food, athletics, and dialect, i.e., patois. Many social media activities involve in one form or another topics related to culture and is often expressed using the local dialect that currently has no formal translation.
For these reasons, the students in this module will be introduced to social and digital media related topics that hinge on understanding socio-cultural experiences outside of the United States. The topics may include but are not limited to exploring the genesis of existing campaigns such “I live where you vacation” and “we eat what we grow”. Visiting local attractions and experiencing native and indigenous peoples and places.
Jamaica is the birthplace of much of the English-speaking Caribbean culture, so it is a natural starting point.
Travel Itinerary (subject to change)
- Day 1 Arrive at Donald Sangster International (Montego Bay)
- Day 2 Rose Hall, Iron Shore and Trelawny
- Tour Rose Hall and Appleton Estate
- Day 3 Trelawny and Runaway Bay
- Tour Maroon Town and Green Grotto Caves
- Day 4 Runaway Bay
- Visit Dunn’s River Falls
- Drive into Kingston
- Day 5 Kingston
- Visit University of Technology, Jamaica School of Computing and Information Technology
- Bob Marley Museum Tour
- Devon House Tour and Dinner
- Day 6 Kingston and Port Royal
- Visit primary/secondary school
- Visit Fort Charles
- Pantomime and Local Play
- Day 7 Port Royal
- Relax and Shop
- Day 8 Depart for Philadelphia
International program costs, estimated at $2,800–$3,600 (subject to change), will be applied to your bursar account upon enrollment in the course, and are charged in addition to tuition paid. Grants and scholarship monies may be retroactively available through Penn State. Underwriting for each program is provided by Penn State Abington to maximize opportunities for our students to study abroad. Program costs include round-trip airfare, local ground transportation, all lodging, and some meals.
Non-U.S. citizens may require a visa in addition to their passport. Non-U.S. citizens should consult their embassy for information and may ask the Office of Global Programs for guidance.
About Embedded Courses
Traditionally, “study abroad” meant that students spent a semester in another country and attended classes at an accredited university. Short-term, faculty-led courses with an international travel component are viable alternatives as they offer solid academic international experiences at a reasonable cost with a reduced time commitment.