Help Students Study Abroad in Jamaica!

The College of Charleston is a historic liberal arts institution that has been nestled in the heart of Charleston, SC since 1770.  Of its nearly 10,000 undergraduate students, fewer than 10% are African American.  Yet, the College’s interdisciplinary African American Studies Program has gained critical acclaim for offering the first Hip-Hop course of any college in South Carolina and for launching a study abroad experience comparing the slave histories of Charleston and Barbados.

Now, the African American Studies Program at the College of Charleston would like to offer its students their first study abroad opportunity since 2013.  This time, to Jamaica!

On Monday, June 10th, 10 African American Studies students will begin a course at the College of Charleston called “Reggae & Hip-Hop: More Than Just Music.”  For 4 days, they will learn important facts about African American history and the history of Hip-Hop culture in lengthy class sessions.  They will also get out of the classroom and visit museums and local plantations.  Then on Friday, June 14th, they will all fly to Jamaica.

For the next 8 days, they will learn about the rich history of Jamaica and its important cultural traditions, like Reggae and Rastafarianism.  Through a combination of class instruction, graded reading and writing assignments, visits to cultural and historical sites, and lived experiences, students will be encouraged to use music as a lens to better understand the people who created it and the society they lived in.  They will see the Bob Marley and International Reggae Museums, the National Art Gallery, the Appleton Estate Rum Experience, and Liberty Hall: The Legacy of Marcus Garvey.

Unlike many of their classmates, students in the African American Studies Program at the College of Charleston tend to face financial obstacles that can often put studying abroad out of their reach.  In fact, the inability of these students to afford travel is the primary reason that no AAST study abroad opportunity has been offered since 2013.  

Hi!  My name is Roneka Matheny (my students call me Professor Neka), and I am the Program Director for this Summer’s Jamaica trip.  When I designed this study abroad course, I knew that I would have to help students raise money in order for it to happen.  When I directed the first program to Barbados back in 2012, we faced a similar issue.  Many of the students who were interested in participating could not afford it.  I promised to help them with fundraising, so I wrote a letter for them explaining the significance of the trip and laying out the costs.  The students pounded the pavement to collect checks and cash donations from family members, friends, businesses, and community organizations.  It worked, and the trip was a success, but we found that people who couldn't afford to donate more than $50 usually didn't bother giving anything at all.  They were likely either embarrassed that they couldn't give more or felt that their small donation wasn't worth the trouble.  Crowd funding our trip to Jamaica this summer could change all of that...

The students will still be able to solicit larger donations from family members, friends, businesses, organizations, etc.  However, these entities will now have the security of donating to a professional, online campaign instead of simply handing money over to a student with a letter.  The students will also be able to meet their fundraising goals much more quickly because of YOU!  You can SUPPORT them with a $5, $10, or $20 donation.  EVERY DONATION HELPS, AND EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS!  Help these students broaden their horizons and have the kind of life-changing experience that studying abroad can provide!

Our overall fundraising goal will be $27,500—that’s $2,750 for each of the 10 students who will participate in the program.  This will cover their program fee, which includes their roundtrip airfare, accommodations, ground transportation, and food in Jamaica, as well as their course materials and entrance fees to all of the museums and sites of interest we will visit, as well as their application fees and medical insurance.

Each participant will receive all of the donations that their family, friends, and community give on their behalf.  All other donations will be distributed to students that need help reaching their $2,750 fundraising goal according to their need.

James, Deja, Craig, Iyanla, Sierra, Kayla,  Cameron, Victoria, Taylor, and Alexis need you help!

34827518_1554401441846818_r.jpegAlexis says "I’ve never travelled out of the United States, and I can’t think of a better reason to than immersing myself into a new culture and bringing new ways of thinking back to the States with me!"

34827518_1554401483840650_r.jpegSierra says "In my 19 years of living, I have never traveled outside of the United States, not even on a cruise. Traveling to Jamaica would not only change that aspect of my life but also advance my knowledge of cultures other than my own."

34827518_1554401509563336_r.jpeg Iyanla says "I was astonished to learn about the overwhelming oppression African Americans went through for hundreds of years, and how that is a major issue even now. These courses created a deep passion within me to learn more. I did not want to let this knowledge make me bitter and angry, so I took the opportunity to turn my frustration into passion and propel my research."

34827518_1555259156533463_r.jpeg Cameron says "I love traveling and have always wanted to travel to Jamaica, and now I have the opportunity to do so! I cannot wait to immerse myself in the Jamaican culture and learn more about the impact of Reggae and how it has influenced so many people worldwide!"

34827518_1554401539908239_r.jpegVictoria says "Going on this trip will be my first opportunity to leave the country on my own. Being of Caribbean decent, going to Jamaica as my first trip is truly an honor. Diving deeper into the rich history of Jamaican music is extremely important to me as an Arts Management major! I’d love the opportunity to take my studies abroad!"

34827518_1554402655857677_r.jpeg Deja says "I am ecstatic about the opportunity to travel to Jamaica to enhance my knowledge about my people and my minor--and to study music, which is the love of my life--while creating memories that will last for a lifetime."

34827518_1554402620613695_r.jpegTaylor says "I want to go to Jamaica to learn more about the expression of black culture through music. I cannot wait to experience Jamaican culture."

Thank you for your time and consideration!

--Roneka Matheny (Professor Neka)
Jamaica Program Director &
Adjunct African American Studies Professor
@The College of Charleston

Donations ()

  • Sandra Meabon 
    • $50 
    • 9 mos
  • Angela Minor 
    • $100 
    • 9 mos
  • Brian Miller  
    • $100 
    • 9 mos
  • Courtney Suber 
    • $100 
    • 10 mos
  • Shakonda Lindsey 
    • $50 
    • 10 mos
See all

Fundraising team: CofC Jamaica Program Students (10)

Roneka Matheny 
Charleston, SC
College of Charleston Foundation 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are 100% tax deductible.
Learn more
Alexis Turner 
Team member
Raised $1,105 from 12 donations
Cameron Sheffield 
Team member
Raised $270 from 5 donations
Sierra McCray 
Team member
Raised $125 from 4 donations
Victoria Rickards 
Team member
Raised $25 from 1 donation
See all
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