The Best Decision of my entire College Career Past Review

By (Siena College) - abroad from 01/31/2017 to 05/10/2017 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 always say that I aged 5 years after abroad. I came back way more mature. I also gained useful skills that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. This program is totally worthwhile

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The course load for me was fast past, but manageable. There were times when I had to study harder than others, but it was very manageable. I was still able to explore the island and enjoy myself. You don't have to worry about being stuck in a book the whole time, especially since some of the work requires you to go into the field. The credits from this program transferred easily back to my homeschool. I highly recommend working with your advisor early on to see what the courses can transfer back in as at your school.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site administration were some of the best people I have ever met! They are super helpful and accommodating as well as just some great people to talk to if needed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The living arrangements were perfectly fine. I had a great time with my roommates and adjusted well to the climate of the country. Fans and bug nets are provided at the center.

* Food:

The food is obviously not "mom's home cooking," but I personally did not have a problem with it. They are pretty accommodating to any dietary needs.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt pretty integrated into the culture especially since we were able to go out and able to get to know the locals on our own. My directed research really helped with this since I interacted with the local fishermen pretty much weekly in the second part of the semester.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had gotten swimmer's ear my second to last week. The program addressed the issue accordingly and took me to the clinic to get checked out. It was pretty affordable and my medicine what at the center from Provo within a day.

* Safety:

I feel the island as a whole is pretty safe, but just like any place you go in the world you have to be aware. The staff at the center looked out for the student's best interest and did let us know what we should be aware of during our orientation.

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

I began looking into studying abroad between my freshmen and sophomore year. My study abroad office and academic advisor gave me the SFS program and I saw that they had a program in Turks and Caicos. At first, I was wary of going to a secluded island where they don't have a major town or city near by, but after going on a dive trip I decided that I needed to go to TCI because I loved diving and being in the water so much; and let me tell you it was the best decision I have ever made. The staff are all amazing people who are genuine and want to help you succeed. I loved being able to be out in the field almost every day. The locals are so nice and I really recommend getting to know them. The field station itself truly became home. I loved all the little events that our SAM put on for us like spa night, volleyball tournaments, and of course trivia night. This experience was definitely life changing for the better! When I tell people about my experience, I tell them I cried on my way there (I was nervous) and I cried on the way back (I didn't want to leave my second family). This program has helped me determine that I do want to go into the marine field, pursue grad school, and who knows, maybe even end up back on South as an intern.


* 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)

I spent less than other people I know who went abroad. I went with about $2000 and only spent about $1000 the whole semester. It does vary between people

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save early on and work a lot over the summer!


* 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
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Field work
  • SCUBA Dives
  • The People
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing I can think of
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? My first piece of advice is that studying abroad can be nerve-wracking. Trust me I was super nervous going into it, but I highly recommend making the most of your time on South Caicos. This is a once in a lifetime chance that most people don't get, so do go out and explore the island with your peers, get to know the locals as they will become a helpful resource in research and can become lifelong friends, and try something outside of your comfort zone. I like to tell people that when I was going to TCI I cried because I was nervous (which is normal) and I cried leaving TCI because it truly has become a second home where I now have a second family.