Final Impressions of SFS Turks & Caicos Islands

Posted: May 8, 2013

In three days it’s ending: the most wonderful study abroad experience I could have asked for. It sounds rather cliché to say, “It feels like just yesterday that I arrived (all pale and pasty) at the Center.” But in fact, that is exactly how it feels. So much has happened in so little time that I’m definitely going to be that girl that talks nonstop about her abroad experiences until her parents and friends scream at her to stop.

I’ve learned so much in my three months here: how to identify underwater creatures, how to be a better diver, and how to conduct field research, just to name a few. I loved my classes, the afternoons exploring, the weekend nights out, and time that I got to simply hang out with my friends. Speaking of friends, those I made here are going to last a lifetime.

What was my favorite part? I don’t think I could pick a single instance. I adored my Directed Research project (working with Christmas tree worms), loved the weekend recreational dives, and got a chance to do all sorts of unique things like cliff jumping, turtling, and sharking. So instead I’ll tell you about the last dive we took, which falls into the category of “my amazing adventures”. We went to a site called the Grotto, one of the deeper sites on South. We saw three spotted eagle rays, one porcupine fish, a hawksbill turtle, a couple of ocean triggerfish, a scrawled filefish, a spiny lobster, and garden eels (which are just SO cute!). Although it had rained that morning, which made everything a little colder, it also made the water glassy calm, making our dive extremely nice. As we finished the dive we waved goodbye to the sloping edge of the wall, and then headed back to the Center. It was an unforgettable end to a semester underwater.

I’ll miss this place and wouldn’t change it for the world. It was the perfect decision to finish up my junior year on the shores of South Caicos!


What did you like most about the SFS experience?
I couldn’t pick one thing, but I loved my Directed Research. It made it clear to me that field research is what I want to pursue in a career.

You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impressions of it now.
It’s a beautiful place—it’s not grand—but you learn to love it. I’ll definitely miss being here.

What is life at the field station really like? What are the best and the most challenging parts of living at a remote field station?
Best Part: Being outside all the time, being barefoot and running around. Being able to go snorkeling whenever I want. Worst Part: No quiet space. I’m an only child, who is definitely looking forward to her own bedroom.

What ended up being your biggest challenge this semester both academically and culturally?
Culturally, fitting in. I was never the type of girl to just insert myself into the community, and it took me a really long time to start meeting people here. Academically, just getting everything done in such a short amount of time. This semester both challenged and improved my time management.

What is the best memory you have from the semester? Give some highlights.
I described my last dive in the blog post I wrote, which is definitely one of the highlights. Another one would be catching a turtle and a shark in the same day and getting picture with both!

Give three adjectives that best describes how you are feeling right now.
Happy, Enthusiastic, Content