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Harvest Caye, New Orleans, Cozumel, Costa Maya, Roatan, Belize, USA, Mexico, Honduras,

Program Description

One important factor in being an effective leader is having a high level of cultural competence. Cultural competency can be defined as the ability to understand, appreciate, and interact with people from cultures different than your own. With over 20 different nationalities represented in the workforce of one ship, the cruise industry is the perfect environment to observe intercultural experiences where the US context is not the norm. As a part of this course, students will learn about cultural competency in the workplace and how increasing this competency can increase leadership effectiveness.

This course will take place asynchronously prior to and after the cruise and synchronously aboard the cruise ship. Students are expected to attend required cruise sessions intended for students to learn about the organization structure of the cruise ship and class discussions. In addition to the time on the ship, please plan for two additional meetings outside of the course time:

1) A meeting prior to embarkation
2) A meeting to discuss the personal reflections during the final week of the semester.

These meetings will be scheduled during the semester and will most likely take place via Zoom.

This one-week Spring Break program is embedded within either HON 300 or HM298. Students will enroll in eitherr course and meet weekly on campus throughout the spring semester, both before and after the required one-week experience abroad.

Location Description

This will be a 7-day cruise beginning in New Orleans and traveling to two locations in Mexico, Belize, and Honduras.


Gilpatrick Hornsby | | Hospitality Sport and Recreation Management

Tiffany Hornsby | | Graduate Psychology


Housing will be provided on the ship. Students will share a room with other participants.

Meals will be provided on the ship. Students will have an included meal plan but can also visit specialty dining options at their own expense.

Additional Items to Consider

Passports are not required but strongly encouraged.

Pre-program work required.

This Spring Break program is embedded within a semester-long, on-campus course taken during the spring semester term. The program travel dates correspond with a required one-week experience abroad

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Students must be a part of the JMU Honors Program or the Hart School of Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management. 

All class levels are welcomed.

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short Essay
  • Portfolio (1-2 minute video explaining: 1- Why you would like to take the cruise course and 2- What do you hope to learn about cultural competency and leadership)
  • Attendance at program info session required

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


HON 300: Leadership at Sea: An Exploration of Cultural Competency (3 credits)

HM 298: Leadership at Sea: An Exploration of Cultural Competency (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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