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International Field Studies


International Field Studies, a nonprofit organization focused on environmental education, has been running programs for students and researchers at Forfar Field Station on Andros Island, Bahamas since 1970. Our 6-week Forfar Gap Year Program is a chance for post-high school, college-aged students to gain experience (and become scuba certified) as they look to pursue a path in science research or education.


1550 Old Henderson Rd
Columbus, OH 43220
United States


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Yes, I recommend this program

Doing part of my gap year at Forfar was the best decision ever! First of all, waking up and seeing the ocean 20 steps from your cabin is how I wish I woke up everyday. I learned so much while I was there! One thing i really loved was how the learning was so hands on. we’d go snorkeling or diving, then come back to the station and learn about all the different organisms we saw, which is really incredible! The staff was amazing and really made me passionate about learning about the environment. I met the most amazing people that are like family to me now as well. Basically, if you’re considering doing this program, DO IT!!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I think the most nerve racking moment was first getting there. I had never been away from home for this long and knew no one. But this turned out to be amazing because those people I didn’t know have now turned into my closet friends!
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Yes, I recommend this program

At the station you wake up every morning and see the coolest sunrises. Seriously the visuals on Andros are amazing, whether you were surrounded by banana holes or were diving in the water. The staff here are very friendly they make you feel right at home, get you excited for all kinds of activities and create a comfortable environment. I learned about botany, herps, birds, corals, and fish. During this program you learn very hands on. I say DO IT even if you're not think about a major regarding this.

What would you improve about this program?
Since I was there for a gap program, we did have some work to do. Just space the writing out :)
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Yes, I recommend this program

I first came to Andros and Forfar with Hocking college as part of the Eco-tourism and Adventure Travel program. I had been studying and working as a naturalist already but the experience here showed me things I never would have considered. I gained a love and appreciation for the ocean that I never would have had coming from Ohio. I learned so much about marine biology as well as bush medicine and geology all of which I am now passionate about. This new experience helped me further understand the directions I wanted to go down later in life.

On top of the amazing book knowledge I gained many social skills and understandings from living in close quarters with a group of peers. The experience taught me about how I manage myself in social situations and led to a large personal growth.

This experience, along with a few others, eventually led me back down to Andros where I was hired as part of the Educational Staff at Forfar!

What was your funniest moment?
While getting our kayak certification one of the others with me realized that kayaking would be a perfect time to improve his tan. He promptly pulled out a pair of scissors and cut about 6 or 7 inches up his shorts, looked over at me said "even the thighs need some sun". 6 weeks living together in close quarters really brought my group close together as friends quickly!
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Yes, I recommend this program

I went to Forfar Field Station in January/February of 2014 through the Ecotourism and Adventure Travel major with Hocking College. The experience definitely had a lasting impact on my life and inspired me to pursue a career in SCUBA diving. During my 6 week stay at Forfar we learned about geology, biology, icthyology (fish ID), dendrology (tree ID), coral identification, sea kayaking, windsurfing, sailing & got my Open Water and Advanced Open Water SCUBA certifications. The staff at the field station has always been super friendly and helpful, from the directors to the interns to the local Bahamian staff that cooks and works on the facilities or Daddy Cool who works as as security guard- everyone makes you feel welcome.

Andros has the third largest barrier reef in the world, so you can imagine that the diving is pretty good! We saw all sorts of critters in the ocean. Some of what we saw were sharks, rays, parrot fish, crabs, octopus, squids, BIG fish, etc. I enjoyed this program and specifically the diving so much that I kept taking diving courses when I returned home and am now a SCUBA instructor and manage a dive shop.

I still keep in touch with the members of my group and maintain good friendships with a few of them. When you spend 6 weeks on an island with a group of people you form some really solid bonds.

All in all I think this program is a great way for people who are taking a gap year to be introduced to a new culture, a scientific way of thinking, and put out of their comfort zone enough to experience some real growth.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
We were snorkeling at a really pretty oceanic blue hole and a 6ft reef shark swam around my group for a moment. During that moment, I'll be honest, my heart was pounding out of my chest. But then it swam away- it was just coming to check us out. Now it is one of my favorite memories.


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