SFS Turks and Caicos Islands: Fundamentals of Marine Conservation (Summer I)

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Explore the spectacular reefs and turquoise waters of South Caicos, snorkeling or diving with rays, turtles, brilliantly colored fish, and other marine life. In this fundamentals course, you’ll learn about the environmental issues and policies affecting these ecosystems and the island community, and gain the skills needed to conduct marine research.

SFS students live and study at the Center for Marine Resource Studies. The Center is a small converted hotel overlooking the crystalline waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Spectacular sunsets, open-air facilities, warm sunshine, and a refreshing ocean breeze define this marine field station. A five-minute walk brings you to the small, historic town of Cockburn Harbour, where students and faculty frequently engage in community activities.

  • Lay underwater transects to assess the health of the island’s coral reefs, which are among the largest in the world and are home to diverse marine species including the valuable queen conch.
  • Build core skills including: Coral health assessment, marine species identification, BRUVS surveys, underwater transects and quadrats, natural resource valuation, research design and implementation, data collection and analysis, research presentation

We’ve updated our refund & cancelation policy to allow for flexible booking due to COVID-19

We’ve updated our refund & cancelation policy to allow for flexible booking due to COVID-19


SFS Awards More Than $650,000 in Need-based Aid Each Year

SFS works closely with your home school to help you fund your SFS program. Many applicants receive aid through their home institutions or other outside sources, so check with your financial aid office to see what aid may apply to an SFS program.

$500 - $5,000

Questions & Answers


9 Rating
based on 4 reviews
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  • Academics 8.3
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 7.5
  • Housing 7.5
  • Safety 8.3
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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Yes, I recommend this program

best. day. there.

It was our last snorkel before the storm was going to hit and our whole class went out. We were expecting stronger currents and not much marine life, but we were wrong! Right as we jumped off the side of the boat into the warm ocean water we were greeted by a group of spotted eagle rays. They are such majestic and graceful creatures as they seamlessly cut through the water. As we swam around, the rays swam through and past us without even giving us a second thought. I remember at one point I swam over one and it's wing span was as long as I was tall! It was incredible.

What would you improve about this program?
I think it would be cool to interact with students on the island who are a bit older to get a sense of what life for a young person is like on South Caicos, but since my program was during the summer all the students were on vacation.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A challenging, cozy and exciting program

I spent the summer on South Caicos, a small island in the Caribbean. Every day we got up early, had breakfast and would start with a morning meeting, where messages were given, and we played fun games.

Every morning, I was excited about getting up - the program was always full of exciting mandatory and voluntary things - and I would participate in as much as possible. Sharking, turtling, hikes and so on.

The first nights, it was almost too hot to fall asleep - but quickly, I got used to it.

It was an amazing summer - living close to a group of people, who within such short time go from being complete strangers to great friendships :)
I loved getting out in the field, which we would do many times a week. That's what I wanted out of my trip, escpecially, and that's what I got along with new friendships :)

What would you improve about this program?
I won't say it is something to be improved as such, but I wanted to mention it - if signing up to the program, note that there will also be a lot of course work. Most days there's lectures as well as field work, and as it is only a month-long program, assignments given need to be done rather quickly.

I really enjoyed the program, including the school work, so this is just to note that it's not only fun and games, but also school :)
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Yes, I recommend this program

TCI - Beautiful by Nature

This program gave incredible opportunities to be in or on the water on a daily basis. For someone looking to gain hands-on experience to supplement their studies, this would be an excellent choice. Major pros of this program included its integration into the local community and academic curriculum. Cons were generally related to the remote location - fussy internet connection, a "rice-and-beans" diet if the food delivery boat was a day late, etc.

My greatest experience in this program was my participation in Directed Research, where students work closely with a faculty member to carry out specific research and present the results. For me, this involved snorkeling every day for two weeks to collect data, and gaining a new appreciation for data compilation and presentation.

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Yes, I recommend this program

SFS Summer Abroad on the Turks and Caicos Islands

My student abroad experience was amazing and changed me not only as a student but also as a person. I would recommend Turks and Caicos to anyone interested in a hands-on outdoors experience that is truly once in a lifetime. It has made me more excited about my major and I would love to go back someday.

The host country, Turks and Caicos, is a small island developing state with a struggling economy dependent on tourism and the fishing industry. Students should be prepared to spend time in the equivalent of a third world country on the less populated island of South Caicos. Nevertheless, the facilities at SFS provide all the basic amenities needed for a focused experience on marine biology. The local islanders have a great relationship with the students in the program and it is easy to get to know a lot about the TCI culture. TCI is a stunningly beautiful environment with an interesting history that is developing to catch up with the rest of the world's tourism industry. The coral reefs and mangrove forests are easily accessible from the center and make for fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving experiences. The facilities at SFS are all very clean and eco-friendly as well. The program size is ideal, usually between 25 and 30 during the summer which makes for the formation of close bonds and lasting friendship

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