The History Major, Study Abroad, and the Barbados Program

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta, c. 1365

Historians spend much of their effort on evidence: that is, encountering the past through the words and other objects related to people who lived it. That same encounter can be very well-supported by seeking out and exploring the environment in which those people lived. The faculty in History enthusiastically endorse study abroad as an experience which deepens historical understanding and perspective.  It can also be a transformative, enriching experience which contributes greatly to personal growth.

Within the History curriculum, study abroad programs might help students make progress toward completing graduation requirements in one of three ways:

  • Study Abroad programs frequently have a language component, and History majors might work toward completion of our two-year language requirement through such a program.
  • Study Abroad programs in virtually any area may fill credits towards the 120 required for graduation.
  • The Study Abroad program in Barbados, which is supported from within the VCU Department of History, offers six upper-division credits which may be distributed between HIST, AFAM, ENGL, ANTH, and POLI.

Students who are interested in Study Abroad programs should visit VCU's Global Education Office to explore program options.  History majors who are interested in Study Abroad are encouraged to visit History’s advisor, Ryan O'Hallahan, to be certain of how any such credits would apply to their particular goals and needs.

Barbados:  Atlantic History and Culture Summer Study Abroad

The Department of History and the African American Studies Program at Virginia Commonwealth University are pleased to offer a unique opportunity to study on-site in Barbados. The program highlights the historical and cultural heritage of the Caribbean at a festive time in Barbados (the Crop Over Festival), when the island is in the midst of celebrating its African cultural traditions through music and dance. Lectures will be held at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies, giving students the chance to engage not only with Barbadian culture, but with a new and different university environment.





Through lectures and field visits led by faculty members, students will explore the evolution and development of Caribbean societies from around the 15th century to the present, as well as the responses of Caribbean peoples to forces that have shaped their lives. This exploration will include, but not be limited to, the following: plantation slavery, gender, language, migration, education, religion, race, identity, sports, architecture, archaeology, music, dance, the Kadooment Day celebration, and cuisine. The Barbados program is designed to give students, with or without a background in Caribbean studies, an authentic, stimulating and memorable Caribbean experience. It will appeal to broad-minded individuals who are open to ethnic and cultural diversity. Participants will gain a greater appreciation of the history and culture of the Caribbean, and the significance and uniqueness of Barbados in particular.

Credit options:  Students in the Barbados program are required to enroll for a minimum of 3 credits (maximum 6 credits), which will be distributed according to student preference among the following options:

  • AFAM 491 Caribbean Perspectives on the African Diaspora (3 credits)
  • ANTH 391 Caribbean History and Culture (3 credits)
  • ENGL 391 Caribbean History and Culture (3 credits)
  • HIST 391  Caribbean History and Culture (3 credits)
  • HIST 391  The Atlantic Slave Trade (3 credits)
  • POLI 391  Caribbean History and Culture (3 credits)

Program Director: Bernard Moitt, Ph.D., Professor of History, Virignia Commonwealth University. Dr. Moitt has been directing the Barbados program for twenty years. He may be reached at

More Information on this program may be found here.