I had been planning my study abroad trip for well over a year before I went and I was always so excited when I would be doing my research on the different programs that I could have gone through. I ultimately chose to study through The School for Field Studies because they had the location I went to and the islands looked amazing and the classes were focused on topics that I was interested in and the program just looked like a ton of fun. And I am super happy that I chose to study abroad at TCI because the experience was unforgettable.
We got to interact with the local community throughout the entire semester by playing soccer games with them, swimming at the regatta, and just hanging out with the locals at different spots. The community is something that I will never forget about my time there because I got to see a part of the world that opened my eyes to how different people live and how I should appreciate everything I have and they made my experience even better every time we interacted with them.
We also got to travel across the South Caicos Island for field exercises that we did for our classes as well as travel to different parts of the surrounding ocean to participate in recreational dives and snorkels as well as other types of field exercises such as coral ID and fish ID quizzes. Overall there was never a dull moment on my study abroad trip because there was always something to do and we had an amazing cohort which I believe really made my experience the best it could have been.
We also had a mid-semester field trip where we went to travel the different islands that make up the TCI and it was very fun and interesting to see how each island was completely different from all the other ones even though they were barely separated from each other. The two middle islands did not have many tourist attractions but it was very tropical with a lot of greenery and had small little towns that were spread throughout. The main island, Provo, was mainly taken over for tourist attractions and it looked very modernized and then the South Island where I was located had hardly any trees or any living plants and looked almost like a wasteland. So it was interesting to see how the people on the different islands acted and lived differently from the other people on the other islands.
My study abroad experience is something I will never forget. The activities we did for classes, the community engagement I got to be a part of, the friends I made, and the SFS staff all made my experience amazing. I gained so much knowledge not just about the topics we covered in class but also what the world is like outside of our country, and I was not even that far away and so many things were different. I gained a tremendous amount of respect for other people as well and have found a new appreciation for the life I have.
My one piece of advice that I would give to any potential study abroad student is to not be afraid of any part of planning a study abroad trip, and that includes how to pay for it. The opportunity to study abroad can open up the door to so many possibilities that it is worth all the stress and worries that come with studying abroad but you will never regret it when you return from the trip. So don’t be afraid and get excited to go and travel.
Jayden Mejia (BS Biology, General) spent Spring 2022 studying abroad in Turks & Caicos through The School for Field Studies. Jayden had the following to say about studying abroad, “Studying abroad was truly a fantastic experience and I highly recommend every student to study abroad for some amount of time. You will not regret it.”
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