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Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
  • Locations: Ponce, Puerto Rico
  • Program Terms: January Term
  • Program Cost: January Term
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Language of Instruction: English Click here for a definition of this term Class Standing: 1 - First-year, 2 - Sophomore, 3 - Junior, 4 - Senior
Subject Areas: American Culture and Difference, Justice & Peace Studies, Sociology & Criminal Justice Housing Options: Hotel
Program Sponsor: UST
Program Description:
​St. Thomas: Youth Culture & Education in Puerto Rico​

JT22 puerto rico panel

Program Highlights

  • Compare Youth Culture and Education in one of our US Territories: Puerto Rico! 
  • We will visit many sites, explore area beaches, neighborhoods, and visit numerous schools, youth centers, a college, and even learn how to cook Puerto Rican food. 
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Fulfills: SOCI 298, 200-level ACST, JPST major/minor Normative Analysis, JPST major: Significant Experience; FAST elective credit

Academic Overview

Course Description
Puerto Rico, home to over three million United States citizens, is experiencing an educational and economic crisis. With underfunded and poorly resourced schools, youth on the island remain undereducated. According to the New York Times, only 10% of 7th, 8th, and 11th graders achieved proficiency in math last year (NY Times, 2018). Mirroring some of the controversial changes here on the mainland, the Puerto Rican Department of Education, led at one time by an American, hoped for charter schools and voucher programs to fix the broken education system.  One charter school through the Boys and Girls Club has officially launched, while the Secretary of Education is indicted on charges of corruption. However, not all are pleased with the direction of the educational changes. On March 19th, 2018 thousands of Puerto Rican teachers marched in protest of proposed changes to the Island’s education system (Mother Jones, 2018).  Furthermore, this educational crisis is butting up with natural disasters, the island’s population decreasing and economic struggles intensifying. Pew Research Center (2015) estimates that 58% of Puerto Rican children living on the island are in poverty and only 48% of islanders have some college or more.  Experiences with poverty, troubling educational systems, recession, devastation from hurricane Maria and in house fighting around independence all paint a portrait of the Puerto Rican struggle, but how are the youth fairing?  Where do patterns of youth resilience and youth movements emerge focused for social change? How does the educational system fit into the youth culture and identity? How do the adults support, empower, and lead the educational system? This course will sociologically examine the educational system and critically evaluate the high school graduation rate and higher education achievement gap, while simultaneously focusing on youth culture and resilience. 
Program Structure
We will spend a couple of days here in the Twin Cities reflecting on the educational environment in Minnesota and the continental US and getting to know more about our host territory. Then we will spend two and a half weeks in Puerto Rico.  This course will have a community engagement piece, where we will work directly with youth in Puerto Rico in both school and community settings.  We will also visit high schools, universities and cultural landmarks on the Island.
Course Participation                          150                       15%
Reflective Journal Entries                  350                       35%
Community Engagement Project       500                       50%      
Location Dates
Ponce, Puerto Rico
January 7-24, 2022 

Housing and Meals
Housing will be in double shared rooms in hotels

Click on the Program Cost link above for detailed cost information.
Total cost includes: tuition, transportation and course arrangements as indicated, hotel accommodations and some meals.

Application Procedures & Deadline
  • Select the Apply Now button at the top to start your online application.
  • Log in using your St. Thomas username and password.
  • Complete all application materials by the application deadline. Students are encouraged to apply during the priority enrollment period, April 1-10. Applications will be accepted after April 10 for programs with space still remaining until the final application deadline of October 1.
  • Download and read Short-Term Off-Campus Policies and Procedures.  You are responsible for reading, understanding and abiding by its content.
Priority Application Deadline: April 10, 2021
Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2021
Financial Aid/Scholarships
Students studying abroad during J-Term are generally only eligible for additional loans to help finance their study abroad costs. Please review Financial Aid for Study Abroad. Scholarships may also be available from St. Thomas and some Other Approved Programs. Please refer to our Scholarships webpage for details and review Short-Term Off-Campus Policies and Procedures for additional financial aid information.

For more information
On course content, contact: Prof. Jennifer Trost at 651.962.8037,
                                            Prof. Patricia Maddox at 651.962.5635,

On application procedures or logistical information, contact:
Office of Study Abroad | University of St. Thomas
Murray-Herrick 212 | 651.962.6450 | |
Sustainability & Study Abroad: CO2 Emissions for This Program
The flights for this program release 0.7769 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. To put that into perspective, this is equivalent to CO2 emissions from 99,083 smartphone charges. Another way to look at this is that it would take 33.1 bags of waste recycled instead of brought to a landfill OR 29.5 incandescent lamps switched to LEDs to offset these CO2 emissions. We encourage students to make decisions to offset their carbon production from studying abroad. Check out the CoolClimate Network’s carbon footprint calculator to identify and quantify specific behavior changes that can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.

This program is currently not accepting applications.