JBH471 - Dominican Republic

Forest and DR

Please reach out to utmabroad@utoronto.ca if you have application questions for this trip. Click Here

The Course:

JBH471 - Worlds Colliding: The History and Ecology of Exploration, Contact, and Exchange.

Before 1492, no one in Europe ate tomatoes, no one in South America herded cattle, no one in Asia cooked with chili peppers, and no one in North America fell sick with influenza. The exchange of plants, animals, and microbes between the Americas and Afro-Eurasia in the wake of Christopher Columbus’ first voyage across the Atlantic forever changed the world’s histories and ecologies. In this course we will examine these changes, which created global systems and ecological challenges that continue to shape our world today.

This joint Biology-History seminar offers an engaging and interactive way to study how contacts from centuries ago continue to shape our world. We will combine the insights of historians and ecologists to understand what happened then, why it matters now, and how we can help make a better world in the future.

Students interested in this course will need to be approved for enrollment by the department and course instructors.

Learn more about the course here.

Make sure to check the corresponding academic calendar and ACORN for prerequisites and enrollment requirements. Click here


The Trip: Dominican Republic Winter Reading Week

Approximate Travel Dates: Friday, February 16, 2024 - Sunday, February 25, 2024

Spend eight days with classmates, Professor Mairi Cowan of the Department of Historical Studies, and Professor Christoph Richter of the Biology Department observing the impacts of early modern globalization on the island of Hispaniola. Explore the Columbian Exchange in the city of Santo Domingo through touring museums and historic sites. Examine how the Exchange has altered habitats and ecosystems during our visits to terrestrial and marine parks. Then, during your ecological exploration, get out of the city and explore marine areas and parks. Examine how native and invasive species interact in the present-day ecosystems. Consider which species were brought intentionally and which were brought over by accident, and how both have come to shape the current system. Have the opportunity to reflect with your faculty members on the relationships between history, ecology and early modern exchange, both in your observations from the Dominican Republic and as you relate it back to your learning within the course.

Why Participate

  • Observe and appreciate the multi-faceted and multi-directional links between historical and ecological impacts of the Columbian Exchange;
  • Foster a better sense of historical and environmental stewardship;
  • Connect with the history, culture, and ecology of the Dominican Republic;
  • Establish connections with fellow students and your professor;
  • Add international travel experience to your resume.



Estimated cost of International Component: CAD $2,950.00 - $3450.00

What is Included: Flights, transportation, accommodation, meals, in-country activities associated with the course, and trip-cancellation insurance. Funding Available! 

What is NOT Included: Course fees, fees associated with supplemental travel insurance, additional optional tours/activities while abroad, visa applications, medical exams, vaccinations, and any other additional costs. 



Bursaries will be awarded based on demonstrated financial need (not linked to OSAP) as shown in your funding request in your UTM Abroad application. Read more about funding here

If you have applied for a bursary- You will hear back about your bursary application at the same time as your trip application.


Payment Schedule

PaymentAmountDue Date
1st Installment$250.00With Application
2nd Installment$950.00November 12th, 2023* 
3rd Installment$950.00November 19th, 2023*
4th Installment$950.00November 26th, 2023*
5th Installment$100-$350*December 10th, 2023*

*Final Installments will be determined based on the final trip cost. 

Installment deadlines subject to change. Final deadlines will be posted here after October 22nd, 2023.


Need to Know 

  • The cost and itinerary are subject to change. 

  • Applicants must submit an application for admission into the course to their respective departments and will be required to abide by the corresponding UTM Abroad application requirements and deadlines to participate in the international experience. 

  • Fees must be paid in full by the required deadlines. 

  • To prepare for the trip, students attending will participate in the mandatory pre-departure and safety abroad sessions. 


Please Note: 

Due to the current COVID-19 circumstances, situations may arise that the university is unable to foresee. We will continue to update this page and communicate with those enrolled in the course regarding the international component. If you have questions, please email utmabroad@utoronto.ca


Book a Global Learning Advising appointment through CLNx, email us at utmabroad@utoronto.ca