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International Field Studies

About

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.

Founded
1970

Reviews

Default avatar
Sidney
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing summer opportunity!!!

6 amazing weeks of marine science education, meeting like-minded people who are passionate about the ocean, getting scuba and wilderness first aid certified! Get to live on the beach in cute cabins and experience Andros culture alongside people your age and amazing staff! Get open water and advanced PADI diving license, wilderness first aid, leave no trace certification, and ACA kayaking levels 1&2. Amazing land experiences going to various blue holes, and sea days of snorkeling reefs, wrecks, and scuba diving!

Pros
  • amazing staff
  • Bahamian night potato salad
Default avatar
Kate
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Forfar Has It ALL!!!

The six-week Marine Science Program at Forfar Field Station in absolutely amazing! International Field Studies has been operating outstanding programs at the field station on Andros Island for over 50 years. A cohort of like-minded college students are engaged in coursework, field lectures, hands-on learning and research, experiential labs, interviews with conservationists, service projects, and tons of snorkeling and diving in pristine reefs. Topics range from coral biology and conservation, marine invertebrates, reef fish identification, sustainable fisheries, bonefishing, ecotourism, botany, and island geology with many opportunities to engage with local islanders. Certifications include wilderness first aid, leave no trace, kayaking and PADI basic and advanced diving. Last, but not least, life-long friends are made while having tons of fun. Cleary, Forfar has it all! The instructors and staff are extremely knowledgeable, dedicated and absolutely love what they do! The upfront planning and communication with families well in advance of the trip was extremely well organized and thorough. The home office staff in Columbus, Ohio were always available for any questions that arose throughout the process. The accommodations are historic and rustic, providing the setting for a truly authentic experience. My son attended the program in 2021 and absolutely loved everything about it! Definitely one of the best experiences of his life! Be prepared to be totally immersed in a life where priorities are different, life is meaningful, bonds form seamlessly among peers, staff and locals and life is lived to its fullest.

Default avatar
Cian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing experience!

Some travel experiences are pure fun. Some are about learning. And this is the perfect marriage of both! If you are into (marine) science, nature, culture, camaraderie, and the great outdoors - this is a trip for you. Between the science labs and lectures, hiking, blue holes, learning to SCUBA dive, visiting local artisans, kayaking, and camping there are lots and lots of opportunity for scientific learning, personal growth, and unique adventures.

The Forfar staff and volunteers are all friendly, helpful, and rather accommodating. Not only are they interested in ensuring a great learning experience, they are very careful with safety too.

You'll love it!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Flipping the kayak!

Having completed all the basic kayak skills classes and it was time to put the theory to practice. Heading up the creek toward a bridge, the current was a bit more challenging than I'd anticipated so I was having difficulty navigating. Next thing I knew, I was upside down! At first it was a little scary. But thanks to my training, I was able to remain calm and use the techniques I'd learned to right my boat. The only injury was slightly bruised pride, but at least I knew I could sort myself out if I needed to.

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Angie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

FORFAR Marine Studies

FORFAR is a great program for students interested in the marine sciences and marine conservation and who want to get their scuba certification. Andros is a beautiful island in the Bahamas that is rich with marine life. The marine sciences education my son received and the friends he made is something he will never forget.
The staff at FORFAR are very friendly and helpful and made my son a delicious Bahamian dinner for his 20th birthday!

I think this program is great for students who are seeking adventure and who are ready to be put out of their comfort zone in a safe environment.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
My son seeing a shark five feet away from his face while on a dive.
Default avatar
faith
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

YOU NEED TO DO THIS!!!!

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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