Dominican Republic - UTM290H5S Across the Atlantic and Back: A History and Ecology of Exploration, Conquest, and Exchange from 1492 to Now

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The Course

This 200-level utmONE Scholars seminar offers an engaging and interactive way to build upon the research skills developed in a first-year utmONE Scholars seminar. You will gain hands-on experience collecting and analyzing data, while also earning a 0.5 credit that counts towards your distribution requirements. There is also an opportunity to participate in an international field-study experience during the February reading week. 

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.

Prerequisites: UTM191H5, UTM192H5, UTM193H5, UTM195H5, UTM196H5 or UTM197H5  

​*This course is open to utmONE Scholars ONLY. Students must submit an application to the Office of Student Transition in addition to the UTM Abroad application and payment.

The Trip

Spend eight days with classmates, Professor Mairi Cowan of the history department, 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 like the Museo Alcázar de Colón, the oldest viceregal residence in the Americas, and historic sites like the Catedral de Santa María la Menor, one of the oldest Christian churches in the Americas. 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 diasporic exchange, both in your observations from the Dominican Republic and as you relate it back to your learning within the course.

Want a student perspective? You can read student blogs here!

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$2900-3400

*The amount posted is currently under review by the University Business Board. Approved amounts will be confirmed in March 2018. 

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

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

Funding: This experience is offered with the generous support of the Office of the Dean, which means;

  • All undergraduate UTM students enrolled in the course will receive $500 towards the international component of the course, should their application be successful.
  • Plus, additional 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!

Important Dates

Payment Timeline

Safety Abroad Workshops

Trip-Specific Sessions & Deadlines

Date Time Location Description
Monday, November 19, 2018 3:00-4:00pm NE4107 Orientation
Monday, February 4, 2019 3:00-4:00pm NE4107 Pre-Departure Session

February 2019 - Winter Reading Week

    Travel Dates
Monday, March 11, 2019 3:00-4:00pm NE4107 Post-Trip Session

Need To Know

  • The cost and itinerary are subject to change.
  • This course is open to utmONE Scholars ONLY. Applicants must submit an application for admission into the course to the Office of Student Transition 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 a mandatory pre-departure and safety abroad session during the month of September.

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