This course introduces students to the study of tourism via a historical and ecological understanding of Bocas del Toro. Students examine the challenges presented by a growing reliance on tourism for livelihoods and economic development. Students assess the impact of tourism on the natural environment within the context of the larger cultural, economic, and political dimensions. They learn about the complexities of creating environmental policies that both conserve the region's natural resources and support livelihoods and economic sustainability for local communities.
This course emphasizes the human dimensions of tourism. Students become familiar with the biodiversity of the islands, paying particular attention to the natural elements that attract tourists to the region. By interacting with local stakeholders--indigenous community members, seasonal residents, nonprofits, business owners, and government agencies--students collect data and information on belief systems, traditions, and livelihood practices and how they play a role in the management and protection of this fragile island ecosystem.
Interview local stakeholders regarding their perceptions of tourism and its role in Bocas del Toro
Practice environmental assessment techniques to identify drivers of human-induced stress in natural systems (snorkeling and swimming skill level dependent)
Visit a Marine Protected Area (MPA) to determine how tourism can support protected areas
Compare ecotourism lodges with large-scale resort hotels, assessing their impacts on social, economic, and environmental systems
Perform cost-benefit analyses on tourist activities and identify the positive and negative effects on natural systems and livelihoods in the archipelago
Study the impacts and policies related to tourism centered on watching wild animals in their natural habitats (e.g. dolphin watching)
Draft model plans and proposals for optimizing sustainable tourism in Bocas del Toro
Franklin & Marshall Academic Policy
F&M requires all students to enroll in a full course load at the host institution or off-campus study program. You can typically find this information on the program partner's website. In many cases, this will be four or five courses for a semester. Many programs grant course credit in U.S. semester credit hours. Franklin & Marshall will award four F&M course credits for a total of 15 or 16 U.S. semester credit hours. If the total number of credits for your program is more than 16 or less than 15, divide the total number by four to find out how many course credits you will receive (this includes summer study).
Courses on off-campus study programs must be taken for a letter grade, not on a pass/no pass basis. Grades from off-campus study program courses will appear on your Franklin & Marshall transcript, but they will not be calculated into your cumulative GPA.
Courses taken off-campus may be able to satisfy major, minor, language or distribution requirements (Arts, Humanities, Social Science, Non-Western Cultures or Natural Science Lab) in addition to general elective credit. Courses may fulfill more than one requirement. Please note that Franklin & Marshall cannot issue transfer credit for a course taken in a department that is not represented at the College. If a course does not clearly fall under a department, the off-campus study advising staff can help you determine whether or not it can be accepted for credit.
Franklin & Marshall Housing Policy
Housing options during your off-campus study program will vary by program. Some programs may allow students to choose their housing option; other programs require all students to live in a certain type of housing. Typical housing arrangements may include apartments, homestays, or on-campus housing at a local university. Please visit the program homepage to determine your program's housing options or requirements.
Please note that some programs may offer students the option to pursue independent housing (outside of the regular housing options provided by the program). F&M does not allow students to choose independent housing unless there is a significant academic or cultural reason (such as wanting to live in a homestay when only apartment housing is provided). Independent housing carries many risks and F&M and the program provider cannot provide any support to students who pursue independent housing. Students who are interested in pursuing independent housing will need to contact their off-campus study adviser to petition for approval to pursue this option.
Financial Policy, Financial Aid and Scholarships
During the academic year, students will continue to be eligible for financial aid during a term of off-campus study. This includes federal and state loans and Franklin & Marshall merit scholarships and need-based grants. In general, eligibility for financial aid is based on Franklin & Marshall tuition, cost of housing and meals from the off-campus study program, and an allowance for books and personal expenses. Your annual estimated family contribution as generated by your FAFSA will remain the same regardless of program costs. Students who receive Grant-in-Aid benefits will continue to access these benefits for the semester off-campus. This benefit is only available to students of eligible full-time F&M faculty and staff.