Greetings from beautiful, sunny, hot (and sweaty) South Caicos! Since our arrival last Monday, we have finally begun to adjust to the oddities of island life—being honked at as a form of “hello,” paying eight dollars for a package of Oreos, and waking up tangled in a mosquito net most mornings—just to name a few. But there’s no room to complain when you can see turquoise blue water from your bed every morning!

Not only is life on the island different from the states, so are the academics. There have been a few (or a lot) of times when I have found myself staring out the window at UNC wondering when I would ever need to know the uniform circular motion equation in physics class or how to calculate the molecular weight of myoglobin through gel permeation chromatography in analytical chemistry lab. After sitting in class learning about the marine organisms of the mangroves in TCI, we actually applied this knowledge two hours later in the water. Faculty Dr. Aaron Henderson and the waterfront interns took us out in small groups of 4-5 to see all of the creatures up close and personal. We saw everything from sea biscuits to giant sea stars and even some large barracudas, or technically the Clypeaster rosaceus, Oreaster reticulatus, and Sphyraena barracuda to be more specific. Our class will expand to the reef-life and fish of the waters surrounding South Caicos—each time we will happily return to our turquoise blue classroom.

It is amazing to see how diverse and beautiful TCI really is and to use the newfound knowledge to know what not to touch in the water and what might pop out of its shell to say hi. Overall, life on the island is fantastic!