Time spent in the beautiful ocean with truly unique people Past Review

By (Marine Biology, Brandeis University) - abroad from 02/07/2015 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?
It was incredibly worthwhile. I gained a solid foundation in marine biology and a lot of hands on experience in the field. I really loved my research project while on South and I will be continuing to be active in that research going forward which is also so very exciting. I have friends that will last a lifetime and memories that are truly unique and really wonderful. Regardless of the flaws of the program, I wouldn't change my decision for anything.

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.

The classes ranged in regards to the level of difficulty, but overall they were filled with such interesting topics that I enjoyed them. They gave me a really good foundation in marine biology which was unavailable at my home institution and I am so grateful for that experience. The teachers are incredibly available to help with any ideas or concepts that you find confusing which was also a really nice element to the academic environment.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff does a really good job planning activities and other events especially with the limited resources available on the island. For the most part, if anyone needed help with something throughout the entire experience there was always someone who was willing to help out and give some advice.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was very satisfied. I was very worried about that going in because you are randomly placed with 5-6 other roommates in a bunk bed room, but my closest friend from the entire experience was my randomly assigned bunkmate and I look back on my room very fondly even with the ant infestations from time to time.. it is an island so be ready for that!

* Food:

I am vegetarian and was prepared to have extremely limited options when it comes to food, but I was pleasantly surprised. There is always a vegetarian option at every meal even if they are repeated pretty often. It was never inedible by any means, I would recommend bringing some extra vitamins if you are vegetarian though because it does not end up being a very well balanced diet.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I made a conscious effort to build lasting relationships with locals from the island and that was one of the most gratifying experiences for me out of the whole trip. I worked in the high school science classroom for a while, helped one of my local friends starting up her new restaurant, and have already spoken with several of the locals since leaving.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have a direct experience with health care. However, my friend did have many issues and although there isn't good hospital care on the island - it is relatively easy to get to the main island with better hospitals and once there the healthcare is perfectly fine.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe on the island. You are never alone really and the island is such a small, tight-knit community that if you are they really want to show you around for the most part which is great.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* 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)

Besides the cost of the program, you could theoretically live on the island your entire semester and not spend an additional dollar. Most students go out one night a week or so and end up getting a few drinks and some food - drinks are $5 and food is usually 1 or 2 so it is definitely manageable.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? <$20


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The Ocean
  • Hands-On Learning
  • Research experience
* What could be improved?
  • Community understanding of research
  • Class Scheduling
  • More research time
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Regarding items to pack, I wish I knew to bring supplements for a vegetarian diet and that Suave actually has biodegradable shampoo/conditioner that isn't brutal on your hair.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.