There is so much more to the Bahamas than palm trees, cruises, and the excitement of Nassau. The Bahamas are made up of over 700 islands of coral reefs and white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, all of which are home to some fascinating marine biology.
Although many islands are not inhabited by humans, there are most definitely other creatures who call the Bahamas home. These fascinating islands offer many opportunities for high school students to hang out in paradise while learning more about more about marine biology, dolphins, or learn how to scuba dive. If you really wan to go beyond the textbooks in your high school biology class, the Bahamas is certainly not a bad place to do so.
The Bahamas is great for students who want to learn more about dolphins, marine biology, or try their hand at scuba diving.
Because of the unique position of the archipelago, high school abroad programs in the Bahamas tend to have a very nautical angle. Students can choose from summer study abroad or a full semester / year studying in the Bahamas.
Depending on the program you chose, you could opt to earn your dive certification while studying one of the worlds most preserved and untouched ecosystems of coral reefs. Take a week during spring break or winter break and learn to dive and snorkel, or go for a full semester or year and expand your leadership skills.
Regardless of the program, students will be accompanied by professionals giving hands-on training with how to handle sensitive organisms, like coral reefs, that are so prominent in the islands.
Planning Your Trip
Students are required to have a valid passport to enter the Bahamas and a student visa for stays longer than three to eight months depending on your country of origin. Programs will assist with visa paperwork however an application can be filled out online.
Housing is provided for all students and is covered in your program fees. Many programs offer group housing and dorm like facilities with shared rooms and meals.
Because most expenses, like food and activities, are included in program fees, students won't have many personal expenses while studying in the Bahamas. However, the Bahamas can be fairly expensive. Because most items are imported, a gallon of milk can cost over $10 USD.
Flights are not often included in program fees but can be as little as $200 depending on where you are coming from. I would recommend around $10 - $15 USD per day to visit local markets and experience new things not found in your own home!
You are going to paradise. Beautiful weathers with no real winter. Because of the Trade Winds, the Bahamas remain a toasty 70 to 80 degrees in the wintertime and an even toastier 80 to 90 degrees in the summertime.
The Bahamas have 340 sunny days a year, so don't forget sunglasses and sunscreens and hats. Pack many light, loose fitting layers.
Although the sun shines all of the time, the rainy season is from May to November, so be prepared for afternoon showers if you're on a summer study abroad program.
Health & Safety
Most of the islands have very low crime rates. Parents, with the exception of Nassau, there's not much to worry about when it comes to the safety of your child. The people of The Bahamas are very peaceful and relaxed.
When it comes to outdoor activities, like scuba diving, students will be with highly trained professionals that will be right there at all times.
Although there have been no reported cases, the entire Caribbean region is on warning for the Zika virus.
Be sure to bring bug spray and use it in the evenings and nighttime.