• 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


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. 


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!  


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

Participation in this program requires several class meetings throughout the fall semester, although the capstone course is scheduled as a winter break 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.  


  • 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.


Tentative Program Dates: Sunday, December 27, 2020 (depart US) to Wednesday, January 8, 2021 (return to US)

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:  Explore Paramaribo on a city tour 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 7: Engage in a service learning project in or near Paramaribo. The details of the project will be determined with a local nonprofit organization. 

Day 8: Today, our focus will be on the Maroon culture in Suriname. We will travel by bus to the town of Moengo, where we will have lunch and visit the Museum of Modern Art of the Aucan tribe. Learn about the importance of art to the young people of this town and the connection between Maroon art and contemporary art from other places. We’ll also see a special traditional dance presentation by local students. In the afternoon, visit a small Maroon village about 30 minutes by boat from Moengo to learn about Maroon culture and see the local artisan work. The people in the Maroon villages on the Cottica River are very hospitable and take pride in preserving their culture. The women bake cassava bread and make handy crafts in the same way they did over 150 years ago. 

Day 9: Dive deeper in the history of Suriname along the Sugar Trail in the Commewijne region. After taking a boat to the upper Commewijne River, we will visit Concordia, a former sugar plantation, where students will see the remains of an old watermill and a steam engine which were part of the refinery in 1830s. The plantation visit will shed light on the period during which slavery was the primary economic driver in Suriname. After the boat trip, stop for lunch in the village of Tamanredjo, famous for its Javanese cuisine. In the afternoon, visit the former factory of the Mariënburg Plantation. A former employee of the facility will share with the group fascinating insight into the history of the factory and the life of its workers, in the historical context of slavery and more recent globalization. We will then travel by boat on the Suriname River to Paramaribo.

Days 10, 11 & 12: Service project and company visits in or near Paramaribo. The details of the project will be determined by local community partners and will take into account the preferences and the skills of the group. There are many interesting businesses in Paramaribo, including small enterprises and large corporations including the port and businesses involved in oil extraction, which may redefine the Surinamese economy in the near future.

Day 13: Departure for the U.S.A.

Housing & Meals

Students will stay in a variety of accommodations 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


App Deadline: 
Friday, May 8, 2020
Program Dates: 
Sunday, December 27, 2020 to Friday, January 8, 2021

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.