It’s hard to believe that after only 3 weeks on South Caicos, I have already had such amazing experiences both with the community and in the ocean. Just last week we had the island’s Soroptimist International group come speak to us about their role in advocating positive change on the island, and of course we got a little cultural education at the same time: by the end of the meeting we had tried various dances and limbo-ed till our backs hurt. A group of adolescent boys came as well to play the traditional “ripsaw” music for us, which involves an assortment of drums and maraca type instruments; I was surprised and impressed with their talent for such a young age.

I am still adjusting to the hot weather and constant stickiness of South Caicos, but it helps that we are in the water so much, and trips to town to get ice cream are a must!

School-wise, classes are active and thought-provoking. These first weeks have been packed with new terminology and new underwater sights, but I can proudly say that I can identify many of my marine surroundings now. Between our almost-daily snorkels to identify marine organisms and our bi-weekly dives, I am getting to know these Caribbean waters well… and loving every minute of it because the turquoise blue water and incredible visibility are qualities I could only imagine back home in Oregon!

Meeting the community and then experiencing their amazing environment makes me all the more passionate about sustainable development and how this can be achieved. I look forward to the rest of the semester as I learn more about the marine resources and tourism dilemmas here in the TCI.