By: Cecilia Aten

Posted: June 29, 2023
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Student Post

First Impressions of the Center for Marine Resources

Turks and Caicos Islands

Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
When I was searching for study abroad opportunities, I was looking for something that was going to grant me more than just an out-of-country in-classroom experience. SFS provides students with the chance to connect with the new country that they are studying in, as well as embrace the culture and community of the new country. For instance, the locals will honk and wave at passing SFS students, also they will strike up a welcoming conversation. Not only does SFS encourage students to become a “traveler- not a tourist” in the country in which they are studying, but SFS also takes the classroom experience to new levels by having learning centered within the field. Exploring the town of South Caicos and trying all the local restaurants, and diving into the Cockburn harbor to examine the life under the sea, are just a few ways SFS students become “travelers- not tourists” to South Caicos Island.

Me (Cecilia) snorkeling in the field and enjoying the crystal clear water!

What are your first impressions of the country?
When I first arrived on the island of South Caicos, I was entranced by the beautiful crystal-clear turquoise water and sparkling white sand beaches. The beauty of Turks and Caicos begins at the waterfront and continues inland into the community of South Caicos, where the residents exude kindness and warm welcomes to SFS students. For example, Anthony- a local artist on the island- shares stories about the treasures within his shop to SFS students. The community is filled with local treasures, not chains or large companies, but instead small shops and restaurants where students can connect with the locals.

What are your first impressions of the center?
The center sits right on the edge of South Caicos Island, overlooking brilliant blue water and small island keys. The center is home to four-legged furry friends and an exuberant staff. The center provides SFS students with many new experiences such as living within a cohort, connecting deeply with nature (we live in an open-air environment), and enjoying the little things in life. For example, we enjoy showering in an outdoor saltwater shower that is directly on the water’s edge (With an amazing view!), and learning how to wash our laundry by hand to exhibit water conservation practices.

What has been an insightful class lesson so far? What field exercise (FEX) has been the most impactful?
During class time, we have learned about the local marine ecosystems and the organisms that inhabit them. These lessons have been overwhelmingly important when entering into the field to take part in field exercises. My favorite field exercise so far has been the identification FEXs, where we learn how to identify the plants and organisms that are a part of the mangrove, seagrass, and coral ecosystems. By learning about these ecosystems, we are also understanding how these ecosystems impact the local community, and why their functionality is so important to the success of the local community.

Give 3 adjectives that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Delighted. Blissful. Euphoric.

Me (Cecilia) exploring South Caicos and hiking around near the waterfront.

A few members of the Summer 1 cohort watching the sunset from the jetty at the SFS center.

The dock at the Regatta, a two-minute walk from the center, that overlooks the Long Cay and Dove Cay.

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