A Unique Experience Past Review

By (Biology and Environmental Studies, Wellesley College) - abroad from 02/02/2015 to 05/07/2015 with

The School for Field Studies / SFS: Turks and Caicos Islands - Marine Resource Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I truly learned a lot about myself and what makes me happy. It may not have been the most amazing three months of my life but I would say it changed me for the better.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Easy classes, little rigor, bad grades usually due to lack of explanation of a project rather than actual difficulty. Good emphasis on field experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Checked in with students within the first week to see how everyone was doing then never checked again. Did not feel comfortable coming to appropriate personnel with issues at all. Only two or three people seemed to care about student welfare and it wasn't their job to deal with it so students often chose not to talk to them because they were busy. Also have a lot of rules that do not seem to provide any safety or ensure professionalism but are merely restrictive and create a greater divide between staff and students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Minimal but comfortable. Would have been nice to have a place to be alone every so often.

* Food:

The cooks are awesome and there is always plenty to eat. If you are not a vegetarian be prepared to eat meat basically every meal. Produce does not last very well on the island but did very well with what we had.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Made some friends in town from going out but basically only men since women tended to stay at home. A lot of interaction with children during outreach but wish there were more opportunities to talk to adults on the island.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare is lacking on the island but serious health issue were dealt with quickly.

* Safety:

Always felt pretty safe. Should be cautious about wild animals but people are generally nice. Girls may be approached by men when they don't want to be but there was never a safety issue.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Spring break got a little expensive but living on the island was very cheap.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $5 - $10
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy a bottle to split not individual drinks


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • unique location
  • awesome diving/ snorkeling
  • good field experience
* What could be improved?
  • student autonomy
  • more frequent check-ups with students
  • interns shouldn't be so separated from students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how restricted I would be all the time, or at least I wish I knew how important independence is to me before I went. Also wish I knew how little time I would spend alone. Would have brought a few sheets to hang up around my bed or some kind of place to escape to.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'