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What's Been Said

A community passionate about social change

“It is so refreshing to be around people who are trying to create positive change. At the dinner table we discuss our progress, during outings we point out things that remind us of our site, and before we go to sleep we lie in bed and share our hopes and fears. There is this mutual respect for each other because we all share a common goal: to learn and to serve.” –Annabelle Recierdo, 2016 Temple U Abroad Participant

Meaningfully impacting the local Yallahs community

“While in Jamaica, I will be doing a service learning project of my choice.  I plan to work in the local high school there. . . To prepare, I have been doing research on the educational culture of the country from which my ancestors hail:  Is mentorship a common idea in Jamaica?  Will students be receptive to it?  Will adults in the Yallahs community be willing to mentor the community’s teenagers?  . . . I will be in Jamaica for just five weeks, but I hope to help create something that is both valuable and sustainable long after I leave the island.” –Monica Mills, 2018 Temple U Abroad Participant

“Pauletta and Barry Chevannes created Change From Within in order to prevent students from “falling through the cracks” of the Jamaican school system . . . 1% of students at Yallahs High School attend college. That stat blew my mind. One in every one hundred students is able to further his or her studies in a manner that seems so normal in America . . . Many times, families are not able to send their children to school every day, which results in a lower stream placement regardless of the student’s academic ability. Many students even drop out once they are old enough to help bring income in to their family . . .  if more citizens were exposed to how powerful [educational programs like Change From Within] are, a greater push towards modern teaching methods and better training for teachers could be made. As an education major, I may be biased in saying that everything starts with education. A solid early childhood can mold a child to be the best they can be, while a less than stellar one can do the exact opposite.” –Colleen McGettigan, 2014 Temple U Abroad Participant

“One of the biggest problems Jamaican farmers are currently facing is the battle in understanding the ways global warming is affecting climate change, and, in turn, finding the most effective ways to combat it. RADA is currently trying to conduct surveys to find out the extent of the farmers knowledge on climate change, as well as what they want to know about it. Information is then created and distributed to farmers in order to be proactive about potential issues that come along with climate change. This is the area of the project I am responsible for. What drew me in was with the opportunity to become more familiar with the environment and the local farmers here on the island.” –Brittani Brown, 2013 Temple U Abroad Participant

Practicing living in the present

“Since I developed an open mind towards the Jamaican culture and tried to immerse myself in it, I have realized that this “third world country” has a lot to teach America. In my opinion, their greatest virtue is their dependence on one another, and how content they are simply sitting and socializing, or sitting and thinking. I would love to see more Americans spending time outside with their thoughts. I think it would make for a lot less stress, violence, and arguments.” –Colleen McGettigan, 2014 Temple U Abroad Participant

A ‘sensory overload’!

“More than just our eyes went into work when we went to Morant Bay . . . Basically, we went into sensory overload. We heard reggae music as the background to popular American songs, we smelled and tasted all of the local foods, including the famous “patties.” Patties are the typical fast-food here in Jamaica. It is kind of like a calzone: meat and cheese in a crusty shell. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed my beef and cheese one! We shook the hands of all of the citizens who were excited to welcome the “whiteys” to town. At first I was a little thrown off by being called Whitey, but I have since learned that it is a term of endearment. I can appreciate the way that Jamaicans aren’t afraid to tell it how it is.” –Colleen McGettigan, 2014 Temple U Abroad Participant

Starting conversations on colonial and cultural discourse

“I had never had an opportunity to really delve into certain issues with white people in my classes until this program. We were forced, or encouraged, to be open with one another, despite whatever opinions someone had . . . It’s difficult to avoid talking about race or culture when you’re in a black country. Jamaica has so much history with slavery and colonialism that it’s almost impossible to avoid it. This was not Europe. This wasn’t Asia. And because of that, conversations got real.” –Saskia Kercy, 2017 Temple U Abroad Participant

Authentic and beautiful beachside villa

“In order to go on this program, you had to sign up to live at Carleva Bay Villa; a beach house decorated in Caribbean décor . . .

Mrs. D and Lisa occupy the kitchen and create authentic homemade Jamaican dishes for us to eat morning and night. Lunch is on our own and that offers us a chance for us to go into Yallahs Square and immerse ourselves in the local neighborhood. I always believed food brings people together, so in this short amount of time we have gotten very close to our chefs. We even call them by their pet names, which is an intimate custom in Jamaica. Pet names are given at birth and only significant others address the other by their pet name. We eat our homemade meals in a large dining table that seats up to 20 people. At my house in NJ we do not usually eat as a family. That was a habit I always wanted my family to have. Here in Jamaica, I feast with my new study abroad family.

. . . The living room is connected to the dining room. Here you can find pictures of local landscapes mounted on the walls and antique African wicker seating. Lovely white mesh curtains flow in the wind as our home is ventilated with the ocean breeze

. . . After a long day of studying, walking around Yallahs, and swimming in the clear blue ocean, you can find me rocking away on a bed that hangs from a shady tree encompassing the backyard. It is a great place to unwind and one time I fell asleep without even trying to. I looked up and woke up to the dark starry sky. I have never seen this many stars in my life before. Every night in the shower I look up and take note of the moon phases. It is the little things like that that truly ground me. I have seen my share of places, but never before have I felt so connected to a place, both physically and mentally. I am amazed by how fast I was able to consider Carleva Bay Villa my home. ” –Annabelle Recierdo, 2016 Temple U Abroad Participant

The Carleva Center is a multi-purpose facility that opens its arms not only to students and academics, but to retreat centers, religious and spiritual organizations, businesses and community groups of all ages and sizes who wish to use the center for their organizations. The following are testimonials from our incredible AirBnb community. Ready to book? Contact us or make a reservation through AirBnb!

A definite revisit on our next trip to Jamaica

“Location is amazing. You can hear and see the ocean without any distraction. The villa is huge. We were with a party of three and all had our separate room. In the garden you can relax, have a BBQ and enjoy the view. The swing is a really nice touch to enjoy the scenery. The housekeeper is great and anything you need, you can ask her to get sorted. It was our first time in Jamaica and we have enjoyed our first couple of days to the fullest. When I am back in Jamaica, I will definitely revisit this place.” –Oscar, February 2018

Going to sleep to the sound of the waves and waking up to the sunrise

“Staying at Novella’s house was fantastic the beach was amazing, going to sleep to the sound of the waves and waking up to the sunrise over the ocean was better than I could have hoped for, Mr D the grounds keeper and Miss J the cook were so kind and helpful, I can’t wait to be able to come back.” –Anthony, February 2017

Authentic piece of Jamaica unspoilt from tourism

“Yallahs is not an obvious holiday destination, but it’s less than an hour from Kingston and is pretty much unspoilt by tourism. A highly recommended spot if you want to sample authentic Jamaican life. Novella’s villa is serenity personified. Laze in the shade of a courtyard right on the beach and listen to the waves write their own lullaby. Or relax in quietude on the other side of the villa, in Nelson’s hypnotically peaceful garden. Dine in the cool breeze of the inner courtyard, or just put your feet up in the huge homey living room. Novella’s place is a home from home. It’s perfect for meditation, and it’s ready for large groups. Novella and Nelson are fantastic hosts, happy to let you do your own thing if you like, or you can join them for a moonlit glass of wine and a heartily entertaining conversation. Warning: You will want to extend your stay.” –Damien, July 2017