Name: Benedict Scheuer
School: Yale University
Major: Environmental Studies
Program: Marine Resource Studies, Turks & Caicos
I came here to study the ocean—yes, that is completely true. As my time on this island shortens to quiet moments of, “I’m not ready to leave this place,” I’m starting to make sense of what truly makes this study abroad program unique. I can tell you surely that the last three months of my life have been deeply involved in scientific research and, naturally, an academic experience like no other I have ever had. There is no doubt in my mind that I am extremely grateful for this. However, I want to make clear something that I view as far more important than anything learned by means of a classroom, excel spreadsheet, or measuring transect along the ocean floor.
Take me back to one of my first nights here: a night of stars and a few strangers with backs to the floor and shy eyes to the sky. It’s funny how simple stargazing can be the pivotal thread of a new friendship, and there are plenty of constellations here to admire. Slip further to the present and you will have found me around a glowing fire, learning the laughs of everyone’s dimly lit face, playing silly games, and eventually making the choice to sleep on the beach with waves and the little dreams of those who were becoming closer to me in kinship with every sunny and, in this case, sandy wake up. Take me to the sunsets, countless as they are, and it will have me smiling; despite all needs, I can count on all lives to gently hum in unison for the silent dip of orange beneath the blue waters.
As our time here dwindles I have realized that, though beautiful by nature, all of these moments would quickly pale in solitude. Thus, rather than claiming a lack of will to leave this place, it’s really the people my heart will miss: the shared struggles, successes, sadness, and times we couldn’t stop from singing. It may be a bit before I find a bench like the one overlooking the beauty of our Center’s ocean view, but I’m confident that when I do, regardless of its location, I will be amongst the company of the friends I have grown to love under these South Caicos stars and waves.