The Jamaica Field Service Project Course Syllabus


The Jamaica Field Service Project is a service learning course on the diverse people, society, culture, and music of the Caribbean and West Indies. The course begins with an introduction to the elements of Jamaican society, with instructional materials presented before and during travel – in text, web-based, and on-site setting. Coursework in Jamaica consists of daily training sessions and service work in the local schools and care-centers. Students take part in a program of supervised tutoring, music education, music therapy, healthcare, arts education, and literacy.


Students participate in over 44 hours of contact time in Jamaica, with course-work taking place in the schools and care centers, as well as in a series of daily lectures, clinics, and training sessions.


Students take part in an ongoing service learning program in the schools and care centers across the island. This includes the tutoring, music education, music therapy, and health services provided by the JAFSP in Jamaica. Students may also be required to carry donations and other items to Jamaica, for donation to these needy populations. Students will meet with site supervisors and JAFSP staff in Jamaica, to further prepare for this service learning component.


Students participating for academic credit, field work, or observation hours are required to keep a written daily journal of their work in Jamaica. This journal and daily reflection of their activities will be cited in the Student Trip Report and Final Reflection Paper, submitted no later than 3 weeks after the student’s return to the US.


The texts (below) can be found at www.amazon.com. All participating students should select, purchase, and read at least one of the following, in order to gain some insight into Jamaica’s diverse people and culture before the trip:

    Going Home to Teach,  (328 p.) by Anthony C. Winkler

    Catch a Fire,  (576 p.) by Timothy White       

    Tell My Horse,  (336 p.) by Zora Neale Hurston


In addition to the chosen text, coursework and orientation materials are made available to students via the online course materials. Additional materials and travel reminders will also be presented to the student via email and the trip’s Facebook page. Students must study all pre-departure materials, as well as participating in the trip’s Facebook group, and replying to all pre trip communication and assignments in a timely manner. These required materials and pre-departure communication are intended to prepare students to live and work in Jamaica.

Note: A student may be removed from Facebook group discussion if at any time their demeanor and the nature of their posts is deemed inappropriate by JAFSP program staff.


The listening listening lists for the course are required of all participating students. These include examples of patois (Creole language of Jamaica) as well as traditional folk musics, vital to Jamaican culture. All JAFSP students must setup a (free) Spotify account (required) which is accessed via a student’s Facebook account (also required).


1. Learn about diverse cultures of people through immersion in a structured, guided service learning experience

2. Develop appreciation and tolerance for human diversity in its many forms, through immersion and service

3. Participate in and experience the commitment of service to and with others, in particular, the young, vulnerable, poor, sick, and marginalized of Jamaican society                                                                                                              

4. Work as a community of scholars and volunteers toward common aims

5. Acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for successful service


1. Demonstrate an understanding of varied aspects of Jamaican culture, e.g., educational system, health care, terrain, transportation, business and industry, food, arts, family life, religious life, leisure, politics., etc.            

2. Work cooperatively and efficiently with other students, faculty, program and worksite personnel

3. Employ acquired skills in planning and implementing service learning work with needly populations

4. Demonstrate maturity and professionalism, in accordance with standards within their respective disciplines

5. Identify personal strengths; actively employ and cultivate these through guided service work

6. Identify personal weaknesses and actively address these through guided service work

Identify personal and societal benefits of service to and with others


1. Prior to departure, each student will conduct a review of materials related to Jamaican culture, some of which will be presented online at the JAFSP website, Facebook, Spotify, and email.  

2. Each student will schedule and keep a pre-departure telephone meeting, to review course materials, travel, and immigration information with the instructor, during a time designated by the instructor (approximately 4 weeks prior to departure).

3. Once the students arrive in Jamaica, further training will be provided on-site in conjunction with the JAFSP

4. Supervisors and clinicians will present information about the project to students on-site, during daily Professional Development Sessions.

5. Each student will present her or his findings in a systematized fashion, including the Student Trip Report and Final Reflection Paper.


University students may receive up to 3 academic credits, or observation or practicum hours toward required field experience, for the 44+ hours of service and daily training sessions and clinics. Credit will be granted by the student’s own university, or by a participating university through which the student will enroll.  A student’s grade will be based on their pre-departure preparation, familiarity with all required course materials, service learning work in Jamaica, cultural sensitivity, and ability to work within a group, as well as on the student’s trip report, final reflection papers, and all other assignments and materials. As a international study abroad course, the student’s understanding of, and willingness to abide by all aspects of the “Student Conduct Agreement” (signed by each student before departure) will also be used in determining the student’s final grade for this service learning course.


7:00am      Breakfast

7:30am      Bus departs for public schools and care centers

8:00am      Volunteer work at primary school/care centers

12:00pm    Lunch break

1:00pm      Volunteer work at primary school/care centers

3:00pm      Bus back to guesthouse

3:30pm      Free-time until dinner. beach, market, etc.

6:00pm      Dinner

7:00pm      Full group session, training and preparation for next day’s work

9:00pm      Free time


Students stay in authentic accommodations - a combination of thatched Caribbean bungalows, cottages, or bamboo tree-houses. At all JAFSP trip sites there is running (drinkable) water, indoor plumbing, and cold water showers at all sites. There are (115v) electrical outlets and working cellphones available for student use.


Students are supervised in Jamaica by the instructor/program director, as well as the program staff, NYS certified public school educators, professors, and board-certified music therapists, who are onsite and available for planning and preparation.