Barbados, otherwise known as “Little Britain” because of its long association as a British colony, is an island in the Caribbean just northeast of Venezuela. The name Barbados is derived from Los Barbados (The Bearded Ones) after the appearance of the island’s fig trees, whose long hanging aerial roots look like beards. The coastline of Barbados host many luxurious resorts, making Barbados a popular vacation destination-- as well as a beautiful study abroad location. The interior highlands are brimming with historical sites and picturesque views!

Photo credit: Ben124.

A good education is at the top of everyone's list when searching for a university. When considering studying abroad, students can be most curious about academic life, language and housing.

  1. Academic Life: Barbados attracts students with its white sand beaches and appealing climate. Students who study in Barbados will also have the chance to explore its historic sites, steep cliffs, and dark sea caves. The study abroad programs are also all designed to give students an authentic, stimulating, and memorable Caribbean experience. Students will have a chance to swim with turtles in their natural habitat in the Caribbean sea, view fantastic coral formations, exotic aquatic life, and undersea wreckage. This appeals to road-minded individuals and are open to both ethnic and cultural diversities. Participants will gain a further appreciation of the history and culture of the Caribbean, and the significance and uniqueness of Barbados specifically.
  2. Housing: Students are housed in dormitories that overlook the Caribbean Sea. They also have the option to find housing on their own and usually groups of students from the same university will find a house together to split the rent with. On a special “Family Day,” students will be hosted for a day by Bajans and other gracious Caribbean hosts, who will take them around the town to museums, wildlife reserves, and local potteries and art galleries.
  3. Language: The official language of Barbados is English (British English, given their long British heritage). However, study abroad students living in Barbados will hear their local dialect as well, called “Bajan” – a combination of British English and various West African languages.
    Social Life and Student Culture

    Students will have the opportunity to visit the beautiful Botanical Gardens of Barbados, watch Cricket games, and explore Harrison’s Cave – an underground cave with stalactites, stalagmites, small waterfalls, and pools. Barbados offers many activities for study abroad students, including watersports and surfing along the beach. One of the most unusual things you can do in the Caribbean is to dive in a submarine to get close to marine life, tropical fish, corals, and sunken ships.

    The night life is exciting in Barbados, and beach bars such as the Harbor Lights and the Boat Yard is very popular amongst foreign students.


    True or False: there are people willing to give you money to help you travel. True! There are tons of scholarships out there, such as the Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant. This grant is open to ALL undergraduate students with a chapter on-campus, including NONMEMBERS, to study in any location! However, it is always smart to check if your home university offers study abroad scholarships.

    Barbados' capital, Bridgetown is the only city in the country; in fact, over half the island’s residents live there. This is reason enough to make Bridgetown the most practical city for study abroad students to live. It’s relatively straightforward and easy to navigate around Bridgetown; it's the hub for the island’s cheap and convenient buses.

    In fact, most of the historic and beautiful sights that Bridgetown offers are within an easy walking distance from the center of the city. Students have the opportunity to visit the Barbados Museum to familiarize themselves with the history and culture of the island. The Careenage offers restaurants, bars, and boutiques – with a beautiful view of the ocean! Adventurous students will be thrilled to learn that packages for snorkeling and diving are available, and encouraged!

    Contributed by Sunny Chen

    Study Abroad Programs in Barbados

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