What did you like most about the SFS experience?
I loved the field experience we got for classes. I think that’s what makes SFS programs unique compared to other study abroad options. You learn in the classroom and apply the concepts in the field. I also loved just being able to go into the ocean and see all the marine life there.
You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impressions of it now.
The people are extremely friendly and open. From the moment we landed, we have been welcomed into the community. After living on South for 3 months, I’ve learned to appreciate my surroundings and not take it for granted. I have been blessed to live on this island with such a rich marine environment; I don’t think I’ll ever be able to replace these memories.
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?
At times, it was suffocating because of all the rules. So I suppose that was the worst part about living in a remote field station. However, I don’t think it outweighs the fact that we were in the middle of the community. We could walk throughout town and recognize familiar faces.
What ended up being your biggest challenge this semester both academically and culturally?
Academically, the biggest challenge was staying focused knowing the fact that the ocean was my backyard. Because the view is so amazing from the Center, it was hard to concentrate on a paper that was due or studying for exams, when all I wanted to do was swim all day. Culturally, it was difficult adjusting to how the community interacts with one another. Men on the island are very open with their thoughts. It was not rare to hear a local tell a girl that she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.
What is the best memory you have from the semester? Give some highlights.
It’s hard to choose just one memory from this semester, so I’ll choose a couple. I’ll always remember the last recreational snorkel trip of this semester. I had completely ripped my bikini bottoms and had a difficult time swimming for half an hour. But, we saw 3 spotted eagle rays and one breaching out of the water right in front of us. Also, I’ll always remember the bi-weekly trips for $1 ice cream after dinner.
Give three adjectives that best describes how you are feeling right now.
Nostalgic, grateful, bittersweet