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  • Locations: Ocho Rios, Jamaica
  • Program Terms: J-Term
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description:
JamaicaCourse Description:
This cross-cultural course provides students with an in-depth, immersive experience and examination of Jamaican culture.  The course includes readings, seminars/lectures, guest speakers, homestays, plentiful interaction with the Jamaican people, and visits to major cultural sites at various parts of the island nation including Kingston, Mandeville, Ocho Rios, and Montego Bay.  Among other educational experiences, students will learn about history, government, industry, religion, education, geography, Christian ministries, and the patois language.  As a part of the cross-cultural experience, each student will observe and reflect on an aspect of Jamaican culture that relates to his or her major area of study.  Finally, the course fulfills Messiah College’s ELI requirements, including personal goals and reflection.Jamaica 2
Estimated Course Fee:  $3200

Faculty Biographies:

Dr. Paul Johns serves the college in the Human Development and Family Science Department.  He teaches about interpersonal and family relationship dynamics, incorporating his rich experience as a marriage and family therapist and family life educator.  He co-led the Jamaican cross-cultural in 2012 and is thrilled to bring it back for students. 

Neville Tomlinson was born and raised in Jamaica and will act as primary cultural expert.  He is a professional counselor and family therapist living and working in Allentown, PA.  He is also the vice president of the board of directors for Teams for Medical Missions, which has a campus in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  Neville and Paul led the Jamaica cross-cultural together in May of 2012. 

A few things to consider when applying:
  • Flexibility and adaptability.  While much growth can occur in these areas by spending time in Jamaica, a certain amount of both is required to “go with the flow” and not become too anxious with less structure than one may be used to.  A propensity for high anxiety will not work well in Jamaica.
  • Walking.  This trip will include a fair amount of walking on various types of terrain.
  • Energy.  This course involves a lot of moving from place to place (no more than 4 nights consecutively at any one location).  This will be invigorating and educational, but may be a struggle for those who like to put roots down and stay put.
  • Willingness to be a team player.  Spending three weeks together with 25 other people is an amazing opportunity to make and deepen friendships.  It also requires patience and kindness.
  • Adventuresome spirit.  While Jamaica may not be as different from the US as some countries, there will still be many new and exciting experiences.  Be ready to explore and learn!
  • General lack of autonomy.  Roaming around Jamaica requires sticking together in large or small groups.  The Jamaicans (and we leaders) require that of us.  In other words, this trip will not involve opportunities for solo excursions.
  • Not a vacation.  Yes, Jamaica is a popular tourism destination, but we will not be there as tourists.  Our goal is to expose students to numerous aspects of Jamaican culture as visitors and students, not vacationers and consumers.
  • Modesty.  Many in Jamaica take their Christian faith very seriously and will be watching how we conduct ourselves as Messiah College faculty and students.  Thus, modesty in clothing and swimwear will be required.
  • Enthusiasm!  This trip will be educational, stimulating, and fun.  We’d love to have you add your enthusiasm to the mix! 
If you have questions, feel free to contact Dr. Johns at or (717)766-2511 ext. 2603

2021 Jamaica CC Tentative Itinerary subject to changes.pdf

2021 Jamaica CC syllabus draft.pdf

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.