• Program leader, Chris Schrage, with children in Suriname

    Capstone in Suriname - Winter Break

  • Group in front of a sign implying the message "I love Suriname"

    Capstone in Suriname - Winter Break

  • Boats on river

    Capstone in Suriname - Winter Break

Introduction

Due to the continued global health emergency and concerns surrounding COVID-19, UNI has canceled study abroad programs scheduled to depart before January 10, 2021. UNI recognizes the importance of in-person study abroad programming opportunities, but the current global pandemic and timing make this a necessary decision since students need time to defer study abroad plans to another semester and register for classes. In the meantime, UNI will continue to monitor the situation and update campus about study abroad programs after January 10, 2021. In addition, UNI's Study Abroad Center is working with partners abroad to organize virtual courses whenever possible and students are encouraged to investigate these options.

This two week program in the little-traveled country of Suriname is designed to expose students to the diversity of cultures of this South American nation. Students will visit businesses as well as participate in service learning projects. Starting and finishing in the capital city of Paramaribo, the program will take students to a lodge located deep in the jungle from where they will visit several rural villages, meet local residents, and participate in a variety of cultural and eco-tourism activities. An additional trip will be made to Maroon communities and along the “Sugar Trail” where student can learn about the history of colonialism and slavery in Suriname. 

Location

Course Leaders

Chris Schrage, Instructor

Department: Marketing
Phone: 319-273-2126
E-mail: christine.schrage@uni.edu
Campus Address: CBB 5

Chris loves to share her passion for international travel with students and has led 15 groups to Nicaragua, 4 to China, 3 to Ghana, and taken over 40 teams to competitions globally. She looks forward to leading students abroad again this coming winter break!  

Academics

CAP 3155: Socio-Economic Reality of Central America (2 credit hours)

This experiential course explores the socio-economic realities of Central/South America, integrating into that exploration the concepts learned and skills gained through the Liberal Arts Core. The course requires that students study the impact of culture on the working environment, gain an understanding of the social and economic condition of a particular country in South America and explore how culture might impact that country’s economic status in the global economy. The experiential component requires that students work closely with citizens of the country, gaining a more personal view of the culture and sensitivity to the social-economic realities of the community.

Participation in this program requires several class meetings throughout the fall semester, although the capstone course is scheduled as a first half of the spring semester course. The Study Abroad Center will direct enroll participants in the capstone course. Please contact the program's course leader for more information on academic requirements.  

Course objectives:

Knowledge:

  1. Gain an understanding of dimensions upon which a culture might be defined.
  2. Gain an understanding of the impact of culture on the work environment.
  3. Gain general knowledge about the economic situation of a Central American country.
  4. Apply knowledge of cultural dimensions to a specific culture to acquire a deeper understanding of that culture and its social norms.
  5. Explore the ethical and social responsibilities of companies operating in less developed countries.

Skills:

  1. Utilize oral and written communication skills acquired through the liberal arts core.
  2. Use critical thinking skills to identify and evaluate the specific cultural dimensions that enhance or hinder the economic development of a specific country.
  3. Gain new language skills or enhance foreign language competency through immersion in a foreign language environment.

NOTES:

  • In order to receive Capstone credit, program participants must have completed 60 credits hours prior to the program's course start date (i.e. be of Junior standing). Students who participate in capstone programs without meeting the credit hour prerequisite will receive elective credit. In this instance, students should consult with their academic advisor(s) regarding how the elective credit fits into their specific plans of study.
  • Students planning to participate in the spring commencement ceremony in May can enroll in this summer term program, however, their degree will not be conferred until the end of the summer term and is contingent on the successful completion of the program and all required coursework.
  • Students attending colleges and universities other than UNI are welcome to participate in this program. If you are not currently a UNI student, but would like to participate in this program, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.
  • Capstone courses cannot be repeated. If you have previously taken this capstone course, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.

Itinerary

Tentative Program Dates: late December - early January 

Due to limited flight options to this location, participants are encouraged to be flexible with travel dates and anticipate flying out of a major airport, such as Minneapolis or Chicago. Additionally, proof of Yellow Fever vaccine will be required for entry into/exit from Suriname if flight itinerary includes a layover in a country with a risk for Yellow Fever.

Sample itinerary is subject to change.

Day 1: Arrive to Paramaribo, Suriname

Day 2: Travel to the small village of Atjoni, where the road ends and further passage up the Suriname River Valley requires a boat. After lunch in Atjoni, continue by boat on the upper Suriname River, passing small Maroon and Indigenous settlements on the way. Upon arrival to the program housing, tour the local community. After dinner, a local guide will share the local Saramacca culture and language, as well as information about the island on which the community is located. Lodging will be in simple bungalows. 

Day 3: Visit to a village in the area known as "Village of the Gran Man," stopping at the local radio station and health center to learn about communication and health care in remote parts of Suriname. Picnic lunch at the beautiful Tapawatra Sula rapids, an amazing swimming hole with small waterfalls. Dinner, followed by a cultural evening with traditional singing, dancing and rhythms. 

Day 4: Visit to a local school to learn about education in remote areas of Suriname in the context of diverse ethnicity. Then, drive to Pineapple Mountain, which the group will explore on a hike. This mountain owes its fame to pineapple cultivation and the magnificent views offered by the hike. Return to the housing for lunch and have the day at leisure to swim and relax. Campfire in evening.

Day 5: Return to Paramaribo. This will be an unforgettable New Year’s Eve in a very unique location. Students will be able to join in the celebrations. 

Day 6:  Free day to explore Paramaribo

Day 7: City tour of Paramaribo by foot and bus. Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn about the history and present of Suriname through some of the most important monuments, buildings and neighborhoods of the city. Students will also have the chance to reflect on the multiculturalism of the capital city and the challenge of nation-building in an ethnically diverse country. After lunch, embark on a 3-hour river dolphin sighting tour with a stop at a former plantation. 

Day 8: The morning will be open for those who wish to attend a local church service. In the afternoon, the group will visit a sloth rescue center operated by the Green Heritage Fund.

Day 9: Visit to Community Hub, a local organization focused on the empowerment of young people in environmental issues. After lunch, we will visit the US Embassy to learn about the relationship between the two countries.

Day 10: Today, we will visit an Indigenous Arawak community to learn about their unique cultural heritage and efforts to maintain it. The Arawak, also called the Lokono, were the most numerous indigenous group in the Americas at the time of the arrival of the Europeans. Related tribes lived throughout the norther part of South America and large parts of the Caribbean. On the way back we will stop for a swim at a river resort.

Day 11: Visit a mangrove ecosystem conservation and restoration project not far from Paramaribo. Students will have a chance to get their hands dirty with some service work planting and care for the mangrove forest. The group will visit a Hindu temple nearby and meet with an interesting bee keeper after lunch.

Day 12: The group will travel to the Newmont Mining camp about 100 km away from Paramaribo for a tour of the facilities and a presentation by management. Lodging will be at the camp. Lunch and dinner will be served at the camp.

Day 13: After breakfast and lunch at the camp, and some more time visiting the mine, we will head back to Paramaribo in the afternoon arriving in time for a special farewell dinner.

Day 14: Departure for the U.S.A.

Housing & Meals

Students will stay in a variety of accommodations (double, triple, or quadruple occupancy) arranged by the Study Abroad Center and paid for before departure.  Most meals are pre-arranged and included in the cost of the program. Students are encouraged to try the local foods.

Program Costs

Dates & Deadlines

APPLY

The Study Abroad Center reserves the right to determine participants' eligibility to Study Abroad. Students must meet all of the following in order to be eligible to Study Abroad:

  • Have a cumulative 2.5 GPA or higher at the time of application and maintain this cumulative GPA prior to departure and throughout the study abroad process
    • If your cumulative GPA is lower than 2.5, submit the following to the Study Abroad Center (103 East Bartlett):
    • Letters of reference from two academic contacts (e.g. academic advisor and former or current professor) supporting your pursuit of study abroad. If you are attending a faculty-led study abroad program, one of the letters must be from a course leader. However, if the program has two course leaders, only one of the letters can be from one of the course leaders.
  • Must be over the age of 18 years old
  • Must meet the course prerequisites (participation in the program is dependent upon meeting these)
  • Must be in good standing with the University
  • UNI's partner institutions may require additional eligibility requirements to be met, these vary from institution to institution. Please consult with the Study Abroad Center staff to discuss these additional requirements if applicable.
  • Applicants traveling to a region of a country or a country with an overall Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel) will not be eligible.
  • All study abroad applicants must pass the Study Abroad Applicant Assessment with a score of 70% or greater.
  • Applicants may be selected for an in-person interview before being accepted. Selection for an interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program. You will be contacted directly by the Study Abroad Center if selected for an interview.