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  • Locations: Kingston, Jamaica; Mandeville, Jamaica; St. Ann, Jamaica
  • Program Terms: Early Fall
  • Budget Sheets: Early Fall
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Affiliated Department: Law, Societies and Justice Foreign Language Required: None
Primary Language(s) of Instruction: English UW Credits: 5
Estimated Program Fee: 4700 UW Program Director: Megan McCloskey, Stephen Meyers
UW Study Abroad Program Manager: Katherine R Kroeger UW Program Staff Email:,
Program Information:

Location Kingston, Jamaica
Academic Term Early Fall
08/28/2019 - 09/21/2019
*These dates have changed since the program was first advertised. If you have questions contact the Program Director.
Estimated Program Fee $5,150
Credits 5
Prerequisites None
Program Directors Stephen Meyers |
Megan McCloskey
Program Manager Katherine Kroeger |
Priority Application Deadline February 15, 2019
Information Sessions January 11, 10:30 a.m. & January 23, 2:30 p.m. in Smith M261
General This program explores the lived experiences of persons with disabilities and older persons in Jamaica. Together, we will journey across the island, learning what it means to be a member of these two dynamic groups that are often the "left behind" in the context of developing countries.

Program Description

This program explores the lived experiences of persons with disabilities and older persons in Jamaica. Together, we will journey across the island, learning what it means to be a member of these two dynamic groups that are often members of the "left behind" in the context of a developing countries. In fact, just 1% of foreign aid is estimated to directly benefit older persons and disabled persons, despite them often being members of the "poorest of the poor." Nor do the majority of international development or human rights courses consider their needs, rights, and the ways in which these two groups can become engines of social change. Through this program, however, we will directly learn from our hosts-the Combined Disabilities Association and Intergenerational Caribbean-what persons with disabilities and older persons themselves are doing by coming together, advocating for their rights, and addressing the problems that they face. Jamaica is the ideal context to study these issues. It is a developing country experiencing radical demographic change. Development success has resulted in entirely new development challenges. Investments in basic health, the move from countryside to city, and new opportunities at home and abroad have meant that people live longer, have fewer kids, and experience new barriers to their meeting their needs. In just one generation, Jamaica's life expectancy has increased from 64 to 76 years and their fertility rate has fallen from 5.6 to just 2.0. That means people are living longer, but they can no longer count on their children to care for them in their old age. At the same time, urbanization and economic change has resulted in a "double-burden of development," where new chronic diseases (i.e. diabetes) emerge, but the knowledge and resources to address it lag behind. Today, over 13% of Jamaica's population are over the age of 60 and more than 15% are living with a disability. As the government struggles to respond, both groups have begun to take matters into their own hands. Together, we will: See what local grassroots associations are doing to promote the human rights and development of persons with disabilities and older persons in Jamaica. Discuss Jamaica's disability law and policy with Senator Floyd Morris, Jamaica's first blind member of Parliament. Volunteer with adolescents with psychosocial disabilities at the Kingston YMCA and children with intellectual disabilities at the Early Intervention Center Compare accessibility, inclusion, and rehabilitation in urban and rural communities. Understand what the National Council of Senior Citizens and Jamaican Council for Disabled Persons do to protect some of Jamaica's most marginalized population. Roast coffee with Deaf Can, a group of young entrepreneurs with hearing impairments. Live for a week at the Jamaica Deaf Village, where the primary language is sign language. Visit the farms of disabled farmers and learn how they work together to make ends meet. Assess if the island's tourism industry benefits Jamaica's seniors and disabled persons. Find out what it means to be part of the Windrush Generation, Jamaicans who immigrated to the UK to rebuild the country after WWII and are now being "returned home" after decades living abroad. Tour Treasure Beach, a coastal village that is preparing for the next hurricane by developing plans to make sure that older persons and persons with disabilities can evacuate to accessible shelters. Learn what UN Agencies, USAID, and others are doing to include older persons and persons with disabilities in their projects and programs. Talk to retired veterans at the Caribbean's only Old Soldiers Home. Cook healthy, traditional foods with seniors at Jamaica's only rural diabetes clinic. Learn what the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the planned UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons means on the ground. Through focus groups, panel discussions, site visits, and days spent volunteering, we will hear from older persons and persons with disabilities themselves and work side by side with them as they take action. We will begin our journey in Kingston, where we will stay for the first ten days at the University of the West Indies. From there we will learn and work with diverse organizations, from academic centers and international organizations, through to grassroots groups. We will be talking to and working with the WHO/PAHO, USAID, National Council for Senior Citizens, Jamaican Council for Disabled Persons, Centre for Disability Studies, Mona Centre for Ageing and Wellness, Jamaican Association of the Deaf, Jamaica Autism Support Association, National Association of the Blind, Abilities Foundation, Caribbean Community of Retired Persons, Action Ageing Jamaica, and so forth. to first focus on law, policy, and major issues from international agencies and government agencies. Then, we will head north, to spend a week on the northern coast, where we will stay at the Discovery Bay Marine Research Lab, and join the St. Ann and Cornwall Disabilities Associations, two local groups supporting persons with disabilities across the areas of farming, tourism, and commerce. Finally, we will head to the middle of the country, to stay in a "deaf village" outside of Mandeville. There, we will join several dozen deaf families and individuals who have come together to educate themselves, operate businesses, and build community-all in sign language. We will also join Intergenerational Caribbean, a grassroots group of older persons, and the staff of HelpAge, an international NGO, who are doing everything from teaching one another how to manage diabetes through to working with cities and towns to develop evacuation plans to ensure access to safety when the next natural disaster hits. By the end of the course, students will not only understand the relationship between age, disability, and development, but the role that human rights law, national legislation, and, most importantly, grassroots civic action play in promoting a world where no one is "left behind," and older persons and persons with disabilities are full and equal participants in building the future.




Kingston, Jamaica


138 Student Living Jamaica provides accommodations at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus. It operates long-term and short-term rentals. It was selected as the only vendor on the UWI campus providing short-term accommodations. The accommodations offered for students are double-occupancy dormitory rooms. The residential hall is new and was built in 2015. Advance payment will be required through wire transfer.



Prerequisites and Language Requirements

None None


5 UW Quarter Credits


LSJ 495DIS ST 430 Topics in Disability Studies, JSIS, CHID: Study Abroad in Law, Societies & Justice (5 credits) I&S

This course focuses on the lived experience of older persons and persons with disabilities in Jamaica. As a developing country, not only do older persons and persons with disabilities face multiple barriers to full and equal participation in their communities, but they are also presented new opportunities to shape Jamaica's future. Older persons and persons with disabilities are active agents influencing new laws and policies and addressing problems they themselves and others face in daily life. As a class, we will meet all of the stakeholder, from international organizations through to grassroots associations, in order to understand the issues of ageing and disability from multiple perspectives. We will discuss the role that human rights law, local legislation, and civic action play in creating positive social change. We will also work directly with older persons and persons with disabilities, in order to get to know them personally and to reflect the roles that all of us, as global citizens, have to play in creating a more inclusive world.

Learning goals include:
Key learning goals include: Understanding the relationship between socioeconomic development, ageing, and disability. Critically evaluating the role played by international human rights, local legislation, and on-the-ground change. Analyzing the gap between globally-set priorities and local needs. Comparing differences in populations across gender, socioeconomic background, location (rural and urban), and impairment-types. Developing age and disability inclusive policies and practices.ty









Stephen Meyers
Joint Appointment in LSJ and JSIS, Law, Societies & Justice; and Jackson School of International Studies. Core faculty in Disability Studies.

Megan McCloskey
PhD Candidate in Law and Instructor in LSJ, Law School





Program Expenses

Estimated Program Fee: $5,150

Included in the program fee:

  • $450 Study Abroad Fee
  • Instruction
  • Housing
  • Program activities and program travel
Not included in the program fee:
  • Airfare (average price subject to when and where your buy your ticket - $750 to $800)
  • Food (about $25 (Note: Several meals will be provided throughout the trip and all meals will be provided during the week spent at the Jamaica Deaf Village.))
  • UW Student Abroad Insurance ($1.64/day)
  • Other health expenses/immunizations
  • Personal spending money

Payment Due Date: October 11, 2019

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Financial Aid

  • A large percentage of UW students utilize financial aid to study abroad. Most types of financial aid can be applied to study abroad fees.
  • You can submit a revision request to increase the amount of aid for the quarter you are studying abroad. These additional funds are usually awarded in the form of loans. To apply, fill out a revision request form, attach the budget sheet (available via the link at the top of this brochure) and submit these documents to the Office of Student Financial Aid.  For more information about this process, consult the Financial Aid section of our website.
  • Consult the Financial Aid section of our website for more information on applying for financial aid, special considerations for summer and early fall programs, and budgeting and fundraising tips.


  • There are many scholarships designed to fund students studying abroad. The UW Study Abroad administers a study abroad scholarship program and there are national awards available as well.
  • Scholarships vary widely in their parameters. Some are need-based, some are location-based, and some are merit-based.
  • To be considered for a UW Study Abroad Scholarship fill out a short questionnaire on your UW Study Abroad program application.  You must apply by the priority application deadline for the program in order to be considered for a scholarship.  Click the Overview tab to view application deadlines.
  • Consult our Scholarships page to learn about UW-based and national scholarships. The Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards can help you learn about additional opportunities.

Budgeting Tools

We understand that figuring out your finances for study abroad can be complicated and we are here to help. Below are some ways to find additional support.

  • Click on the Budget Sheets link at the top of this brochure to view the estimated budget of all expenses for this program.
  • Contact the Global Opportunities Adviser at to learn more about how to pay for study abroad.
  • Attend a Financial Planning Workshop offered by UW Study Abroad – more information is on the Events page of our website.
  • Visit the Finances section of our website.



Application Process

The study abroad application includes a personal statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the online application process, you may be contacted by the program director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


To be eligible to study abroad, you must complete the mandatory pre-departure online orientation provided by UW Study Abroad. You must also attend program-specific orientations offered by the program director.

You will be able to access the online orientation through your study abroad application once you have been accepted to a program. Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. This is an especially important consideration if you are planning to do more than one study abroad program. You can research visa requirements by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $450 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable once you have submitted a contract. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy will be included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the business day a withdrawal application is received by UW Study Abroad. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

  1. Provide notice in writing to the program director that you will no longer be participating in the program.
  2. Submit a withdrawal application to UW Study Abroad.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.

Additional Info