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Caribbean Studies

The Breakdown

From the azure water and the dazzling coral reef formations to the volcanic origins of some of the islands, it’s no surprise that the Caribbean captivates and allures.  Inhabited and influenced by a number of countries, the area has developed a vibrant and colorful culture.  If you’re passionate about everything from ecology to island hopping, then perhaps Caribbean studies is the major for you!    

Caribbean studies students have the good fortune of choosing an interdisciplinary major.  Indeed, you’ll cover the history, economics, languages, literature and even the biodiversity of these islands.  Moreover, you will learn about the confluence that occurs with a multitude of people living in the diaspora.  Generally speaking, most classes will be reading and writing intensive.  Finally, a majority of Caribbean studies majors spend some time studying abroad.  

Should you choose to major in Caribbean studies, you’ll discover it’s important to be open to different cultures and ways of thinking.  You will also find it beneficial to have a good ear for languages and strong communication skills in general.  In addition, you should be great at analyzing and synthesizing information.  Finally, you should own at least one Bob Marley album.  


Nuts and Bolts

As a Caribbean studies major, you’ll have the opportunity to explore a wide range of topics including: Reform and Revolution in Latin American and the Caribbean, Islands Adrift: Race, Politics and Diasporas in the Hispanic Caribbean, Beyond the Sunny Paradise: Literature and Politics in the Caribbean, Music in the Caribbean, Island Economics and Sustainable Development in the Caribbean, Caribbean Environmental History, The Modern Caribbean, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Introduction to the Religions of the Caribbean, and Citizenship and Social Movements in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Decisions, Decisions

Caribbean studies majors are typically curious about other languages, cultures and the way they develop.  Therefore, they would also probably be interested in Spanish, French, international relations, anthropology, East Asian studies, Latin American studies, African studies, American studies, history, political science, economics, Portuguese, international business, archeology, international education and comparative literature.

What's Next

All right – we’ll admit it.  Caribbean studies does not necessarily prepare you for any specific career track.  However, therein lies the beauty.  The skills you’ll both hone and acquire are applicable to a variety of fields and professional pursuits.  Indeed, if you do a little digging, you’ll find fellow majors in numerous industries.  To begin, it’s fairly common for graduates to become translators or interpreters.  Journalism is another popular route with majors often focusing on Caribbean (and even Latin American) stories/beats/bureaus.  Many graduates, in search of adventure, seek positions with non-profits and NGOs, working and volunteering throughout the Caribbean.  International business is also a great path, with a handful of majors focusing on import/export.  Additionally, government jobs are widely held with students becoming everything from immigration and customs officials to foreign service officers, dignitaries and diplomats.  Still others might be found in such diverse fields as hospitality, consulting, social work and education.  Truly you can start with Caribbean studies and (perhaps ironically) end up virtually anywhere!



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Don Munce