May 17, 2021

Capstone on the Cayman Islands

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From The University of Northern Iowa


Travel to the Cayman Islands with this exciting new program!  While abroad, students will learn about the islands’ history, culture (past and current), tourism and its impact on the Caymanian culture, marine ecology, and land based ecology. Students will delve into the history and cultural perspectives of the island with an emphasis on the interactions with a diverse tourism base. Students will explore the impact from these influences and discover how the climate and location has influenced the current culture through personal interviews of native islanders. Students will also participate in physical activity such as hiking and snorkeling throughout the island on daily field trips to gain a better understanding of coastal and marine based ecology.



James Hall, Instructor

Department: Kinesiology
Phone: 319-273-2406
E-mail: [email protected]
Campus Address: WRC 104


CAP 3550: Constructing Cross-Cultural Bridges (3 credit hours)

The primary objective of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the diverse population and ecology of the Cayman Islands in a hands-on setting. To view the course syllabus, click HERE. 

Participation in this program requires several class meetings throughout the spring semester. Please contact the program’s course leader for more information on coursework 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: Monday, May 11 (depart US) to Wednesday, May 20, 2020 (return to US)

Sample itinerary is subject to change.

Day 1: Arrive to George Town, Grand Cayman

Day 2: Enjoy a day of snorkeling at Eden Rock and Devil’s Grotto. Just south of Seven Mile Beach and approximately 46 feet below the surface are Eden Rock and Devil’s Grotto, two of the most popular diving spots on Grand Cayman. Both are wonderful underwater mazes filled with tarpon, silversides, parrotfish and barracuda, and they should be enjoyable swims for both beginner and intermediate snorkelers. 

Day 3: Start your morning with a guided hike through the Mastic Reserve. After your hike, continue to Starfish Point for an afternoon of snorkeling. 

Day 4: Tour the Cayman Crystal Caves. Venture into amazing caves where you’ll see stalactite and stalagmite crystal structures and other worldly formations, formed by single drops of water and the slow passage of time. Tour through the unique tropical forest nature, under which the caves formed. Among the forest and caves is captivating tropical plant and animal life, including strangler balsam trees, air plants, and bats.

Day 5: Visit Barker’s National Park. In the evening, explore the Bioluminescent Bay. Defined as “life emitting light,” bioluminescence is a beautiful part of nature. While commonly found in the ocean, the high concentration of bioluminescent plankton, known as dinoflagellates, in the Cayman Islands is extremely rare. There are only 12 locations in the entire world! 

Day 6: Snorkel at Stingray City where you can pet and interact with these animals. There are two sandbars, one which is in the shallows and another one which is deeper where its possible to dive with the stingrays. 

Day 7: Today enjoy a tour of Pedros Castle, the oldest building in the Cayman Islands. It was built using slave labor in 1780 by a wealthy Englishman, William Eden, and has been used as a cotton plantation, courthouse jail, and Government Assembly throughout its existence. Later on, see the Queen Elizabeth Botanical Garden. When Queen Elizabeth II opened the Botanic Park in 1994, it only consisted of the Woodland Trail. Since then, it has grown to a full-fledged world-class facility. 

Day 8: Spend the day at the Cayman Turtle Centre: Island Wildlife Encounter

Day 9: Free day 

Day 10: Departure 


Students will stay in hotel accommodations arranged by the Study Abroad Center and paid for before departure.  Meals will be paid for by students out-of-pocket while abroad. Students are encouraged to try the local foods.



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 GPA prior to departure and throughout the study abroad process
    • If your cumulative GPA is between 2.40 to 2.49, submit the following to the Study Abroad Center (28 Gilchrist):
      • A letter of reference from your academic advisor supporting your pursuit of study abroad
      • An essay, which should explain why your cumulative GPA is below a 2.50, include how your cumulative GPA is stable or improving, a detailed plan for improving your academic performance a strong academic and/or personal interest in your study abroad location and/or course, and a compelling academic rationale for studying abroad.
  • 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.

For more information go to:

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