While studying at the University of West Indies at the Cave Hill campus, I learned about the beauty and history of the great island nation of Barbados. The course, Global Human Resource Management, was taught over three weeks and consisted of several field trips and tours throughout the island. These field trips served as supplemental case studies of local companies which taught students about local approaches to human resource management. The course excursions included a trip to the First Caribbean International Bank, Mount Gay Rum Company, and Goddard Enterprises. These companies also taught students about the rich history of Barbados. Some interesting facts about Barbados were that it is the eastern-most island in the Caribbean, it gained its independence from England in 1966, and it was the only other country that George Washington visited outside of the United States.
Outside of class, it quickly became apparent that the 166 square miles of Barbados was known for its tourist destinations including luxurious resorts and beaches. After further investigation, I personally discovered that the island has much more interesting activities to partake in and destinations to visit than the touristy areas. For visitors, it could be difficult to get around and see places without a reliable form of transportation which was why it became important to learn how use the local transportation, also known as the “reggae buses” based on the loud reggae music blaring from them. These buses brought me to every location I was interested in visiting.
One of these locations was a park that aims to preserve native Barbadian plants. The park, known as Flower Forest, consisted of a fifteen-minute hiking trail and included a specific plant that could only be found in the park. A photo of Flower Forest was attached below. ‘Gun Hill’ signal station was another location I visited during my travels in Barbados. Gun Hill was where the British would signal their vessels if they were under attack by other nations. A lion station that was carved by British soldiers was at the highest point of the park. What made the statue so interesting was that it was carved into a large rock in the ground and has never been moved from its original location. In recent years, it has become a point of pride for members of the Rastafarian religion. Although it has been spray painted and vandalized, all of the paint has washed away and somehow, it has remained in its original state.
While adventuring in Barbados, I knew I needed to find souvenirs for friends and family, but I did not want to pick up tacky items, so I decided to search for my own. Although I had heard that finding sea glass on the Bajan beaches was a fun way to pass time, I did not believe it until I tried it. I began snorkeling after class and would leave the beach with pockets full of loot. One evening, I came across a sea-glass marble in the ocean and shortly after, I found a second in the same area. These items were very intriguing and I wondered how they ended up in the water. Sure – they may have been lost by kids playing with them, but I do not completely believe that tons of marbles have been dropped in the ocean for this reason. I read online that marbles in the Caribbean Ocean may have come from ships that used them as a ballast on their way back from England. Photos of these sea-glass marbles can be seen below.
The most memorable lesson I learned during my travels was that great communication with locals and a curious mind will take a person who has a desire to learn anywhere. Barbadians were incredibly helpful and welcoming. If I were lost, they were quick to offer me directions. If I were interested in trying local foods or experiencing new parts of their culture, they would bring me out and show me around. Through thoughtfulness and friendliness, I was able to deep-sea fish, road-trip the whole island, and meet many new friends. Learning how to communicate better and seek positive experiences allowed me to see incredibly things and have an awesome experience while in Barbados. Studying abroad has made me a worldlier individual and I cannot wait to experience my next adventure with the knowledge that I have accumulated in Barbados.