What did you like most about the SFS experience?
I liked the hands-on learning, especially in the water. I think it provided some amazing experiences that would be difficult to find in other study abroad programs.
You’ve been in the country for a full semester – tell us your impressions of it now.
My impressions are still the same as when I first got here; it’s a struggling, but ultimately sweet community, at least on South Caicos. The islands of North Caicos, Middle Caicos, and Providenciales that I was able to visit on our mid-semester field trip are a bit better off in terms of their local economy but still hold a friendly disposition. Living on South Caicos for three and half months was eye-opening, and I will never forget some of the experiences I’ve had here.
Gazebo off one of the fishing docks
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?
This question is so broad and I have so many answers for it but I’ll do my best to summarize. Life at the field station is hectic. The most challenging part of living in a remote field station is the lack of privacy and alone time you are able to find. There are many, many students and faculty living in very close quarters. There is a great amount work to be done and only so many hours in the day, which can be challenging. However, everyone is experiencing the same things, which creates a strong group bond. Some of my best times here have also been the most stressful because I had friends to get through them with. I love waking up next to my best friends every day and getting to explore the community and ocean with them.
What ended up being your biggest challenge this semester both academically and culturally?
My biggest academic challenge this semester was trying to study and get all of my homework done in a relatively small window of time. The days can be really long and full of work so by the end of the day, I just wanted to go to bed. Finding a balance between enough sleep and work was challenging but I definitely think I’ll be a better student for it. My biggest challenge culturally was getting used to island time — it’s a real thing. Island time can range anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour after the scheduled start time for an event or appointment. Island time was hard for me because I consider myself a punctual person.
What is the best memory you have from the semester? Give some highlights.
My favorite memories would include the field trip to the other islands, the recreational dives, and the field exercises that took place in the water. The first time I saw an eagle ray was by far one of my favorite memories. Eagle rays are such majestic creatures.
Give three adjectives that best describes how you are feeling right now.
Excited, nostalgic, bittersweet.
Homework with a view
Mudjin Harbour, Middle Caicos