SFS Turks and Caicos Islands: Marine Resource Studies (Semester)

Video and Photos

SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester
SFS Turks and Caicos Islands Semester

About

Spend a semester on the island of South Caicos, where spectacular marine ecosystems are still largely untouched by tourism and development. Don your wetsuit and get to know a host of marine life while conducting research on coral reefs, seagrass meadows, and mangroves. Evaluate fisheries resources and policies while collecting data that helps community members balance their rights and needs with the island’s conservation goals.

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.

Highlights
  • Go snorkeling and diving in the clear waters around South Caicos to conduct marine species identification exercises and parrotfish surveys.
  • Visit the Grotto and Shark Alley to see eagle rays up close, and study their behavior and population dynamics using photo tracking.
  • Take an excursion to the islands of Middle Caicos, North Caicos, and Providenciales to explore the variety of ecosystems in the TCI, including caves and protected wetlands.
  • 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
  • Conduct research in some of the following areas: Climate change and ocean acidification, tourism impacts, commercial fisheries, coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass ecosystems, marine protected areas

Scholarships

The School for Field Studies Scholarships
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.

Value
$500 - $5,000

Questions & Answers

You can find information about certifications on this page: http://www.fieldstudies.org/tci/semester "Because scuba diving is a valuable skill for students who are interested in pursuing a career for future studies in field research of marine ecosystems, the Center offers PADI Open Water Diver certification to semester students. Certification takes place during the first two weeks of the program....

Reviews

85%
based on 11 reviews
  • Academics 8.2
  • Support 7.8
  • Fun 7.6
  • Housing 7.5
  • Safety 8.1
Showing 1 - 11 of 11
Default avatar
Patrick
4/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Great Island, Program Has Problems

It seems like this program has changed a lot since the Hurricane in 2017. The staff has turned over, rules have gotten stricter, and overall program quality seems to have decreased (unfortunately). Academics aren't too difficult but lots of busy work and boring class time restricts your time out in the field (classes are 8am to 6pm M, T, Th, F while the semester is in full swing). Lectures could have been cut in half with the same content covered. On Wednesday and Saturday you have waterfront and community service time, but due to bad planning we lost our Wednesdays during the second half of the semester. Directed research projects, advertised as a highlight for the program, only have 10 field days and really only happen during the last two weeks of the semester. Added on to this is the way the staff treats you- like a middle schooler. Curfew, no kitchen entry, have to sign out if you want to swim, not allowed to stand or move in boats (even though many students can drive boats better than the staff), etc... Its degrading and endlessly frustrating (they even went as far as to put up barbed wire and security cameras because they didn't trust us). As someone who just wanted to explore South Caicos and participate in a field studies focused program, I felt this program did not live up to many of my expectations. I had tons of fun times on South and may be a little harsh in my review, but it was hard to look past all these shortcomings during my time abroad with SFS.

What would you improve about this program?
Cut down on classroom time, increase field exercises, lengthen DR time, reduce or fix rules.
Response from The School for Field Studies (SFS)

Patrick, thank you for taking the time to leave a review on your program experience. We are sorry to hear that it did not meet your expectations and will be taking your feedback into consideration for future terms. SFS programs are highly structured; however, our goal is to provide exciting, hands-on learning in unique environments and safety on our programs is always important.

Default avatar
Connor
3/10
No, I don't recommend this program

People end up hating this program

The SFS Turks and Caicos staff are for the most part great people, but unfortunately, you are treated like you are a little kid on the program. No, you cannot go in the kitchen unless you are supervised. No, you cannot go out past 10pm. Additionally, you have very little freedom to explore the local culture and do what you would like to do because you are in the classroom from 8am to 5pm most days and on top of that you have multiple group projects a week along with extensive readings each day (and no the class time, readings, and group projects don't slow down or stop at any point in the semester). Did I mention that there is a curfew so as soon as you finish with that a**load of work, it is already past the time when you are able to engage with the local culture? Yeah, this program made many people cry because of how difficult it was. If you're going abroad to learn about marine biology rather than to experience a local culture and enjoy yourself, go ahead. However, even if you are going solely to learn, this program lies to you about the field research you have to complete. If you think this program is great because of the large amount of field research you get to do--you're wrong. Throughout the program you're told that the last month is dedicated entirely to field research--LIE. You get a single weeks worth of field research and many people get field assignments that they hate. Just want to throw in this quote that an SFS staff member told several students halfway through the program--"Most people end up hating this program by Thanksgiving." Don't go. You'll regret it. I hear great things about the School for International Training if you'd like to not hate your program but still do field research.

What would you improve about this program?
Don't treat people like children, don't give students excessive workloads--they didn't come abroad to hate their lives, don't have so much class time, basically everything
Response from The School for Field Studies (SFS)

Connor, we are sorry to hear that you were disappointed with your experience and wish that we had heard from you during the program so that we could have addressed your concerns sooner. Given the range and depth of topics that SFS programs cover, they are indeed highly structured as well as more focused on the academic experience than cultural immersion. That said, we always aim to provide many one-of-a-kind adventures throughout the semester with opportunities to get to know and become part of our local community.

We realize that students arrive at our field centers with varying levels of academic experience as well as different expectations as to what they hope to experience during the term. To foster a better understanding of the SFS experience and expectations pre-program, SFS always provides an extensive field guide as well as an one-on-one interview with your SFS Admissions Counselor.

We take all feedback seriously and evaluate all of our programs on a regular basis in order to provide the best experience possible for our students. In that regard, we appreciate your taking the time to offer your comments and wish you the best with your academic endeavors and career.

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

You Won't Regret Your Time Spent on South

Studying abroad in South Caicos was an absolutely life changing experience. From being surrounded and immersed by living in the beautiful Caribbean, to meeting lifelong friends, I would recommend anyone even remotely interested giving it a chance. Detached from the "real world" and not always glued to our phones or computers also put many of us in a position to really take time to develop personally, something I am forever grateful for. This coupled with a group of students and staff who feel like family, make the whole program entirely worthwhile. South Caicos stole my heart and I have no doubt I'll be back soon!

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

The Best Decision of my entire College Career

I began looking into studying abroad between my freshmen and sophomore year. My study abroad office and academic advisor gave me the SFS program and I saw that they had a program in Turks and Caicos. At first, I was wary of going to a secluded island where they don't have a major town or city near by, but after going on a dive trip I decided that I needed to go to TCI because I loved diving and being in the water so much; and let me tell you it was the best decision I have ever made. The staff are all amazing people who are genuine and want to help you succeed. I loved being able to be out in the field almost every day. The locals are so nice and I really recommend getting to know them. The field station itself truly became home. I loved all the little events that our SAM put on for us like spa night, volleyball tournaments, and of course trivia night. This experience was definitely life changing for the better! When I tell people about my experience, I tell them I cried on my way there (I was nervous) and I cried on the way back (I didn't want to leave my second family). This program has helped me determine that I do want to go into the marine field, pursue grad school, and who knows, maybe even end up back on South as an intern.

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

The Trip You Never Knew You Needed

When I was looking for study abroad programs I had my heart set on going somewhere like London or Sydney. My mom found this program and told me I should look into it more. I ended up choosing this program because of the unique opportunities that it provided. The appeal of studying in a place like London is that you have the ability to travel in Europe. Well, you can do that at any age. There are extremely limited opportunities for you to live on an island in the Caribbean for three and a half months while scuba diving and exploring the coral reefs. This is the adventure everyone needs while they're growing up. This trip changed so many of my perspectives from a cultural view and really provided the unparalleled adventure that I was looking for. I am not a Marine Science major or even a Biology major, I'm and Environmental Studies major, so you should not be worried about not having the proper educational foundation when entering the program. If you're on the fence about it, all I have to say is do it! You just might surprise yourself.

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

A Life Changing Experience

The Turks and Caicos program offered through the School for Field Studies is one of the most unique and rewarding experiences I have ever had. Essentially, you are grouped together with 35ish other students who will become some of your best friends, 10 or so faculty members that will become some of your most helpful advisors, professors, and friends you will have as well as 1,200 local residents, fisherman, shop owners, and children who will accept you as soon as you step onto their island.
The facilities were perfect for the experience I was looking for: a place where I could unplug, relax, perform rewarding research and learning how to dive. The diving was fantastic and extremely unique. While people may give you weird looks when you tell them where you went abroad but that just gives you an excuse to brag.
You will not regret going to this program. It's life changing.

What would you improve about this program?
There's really not anything that this program could improve upon, some of the issues I had could easily be solved in the weekly meetings between students.
Default avatar
Caitlin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SFS Center for Marine Resource Studies

This study abroad program was an amazing experience. I gained so much knowledge and experience at the Center for Marine Resource Studies. I was able to go snorkeling almost everyday as part of class work and just for fun. I swam with turtles, sharks, spotted eagle rays, and so many other types of fish. As part of the semester each student works on a directed research project. For mine I spent every night catching lemon sharks. I had an amazing time throughout the semester. I learned a lot about the ocean, marine resources, and myself.

Default avatar
Emily
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

great experience, so worth it

There are lots of specific parts of the program's structure that i woukd change, but overall the professors are knowledgeable and the environment is spectacular. The small size of the island keeps everyone interacting with the community and the scenery keeps everyone interested and engaged.

What would you improve about this program?
Fewer restrictions on student behavior in the community
Default avatar
Christine
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great way to get hands on experiance

Snorkeling and scuba diving for class cannot be beat- I learned so much by seeing the marine environment every day. I loved the scuba diving, we saw whales, researched sharks, and learned so much about the local community. My highlights were watching sunsets every night, wednesday morning dives, and teaching environmental ed to the local community. Academics aren't too hard, which is actually pretty nice.

What would you improve about this program?
The rules could be changed up a little, we're functioning adults and don't need all the restrictions!
Default avatar
Ben
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Three Months

I went in a religion major, but came out a bio major. This program gave my life a new direction. Almost everyday I had the opportunity to be in the water either snorkeling or diving. The dive and snorkel sites are second to none. The classes will challenge you academically, but they do a great job of integrating the field with the classroom. I didn't have a single day abroad where I was in the classroom for the full day. I had the opportunity to go both "turtling" and "sharking" (all for research purposes), which was one of the ways I was able to get involved in the research at the center. Directed research was the highlight of my semester. My group worked with sting rays for four weeks straight and got to present our findings to the community. The availability for community outreach and service is readily availably to the students, if that is an interest. If you love the ocean and don't mind warm weather and a lack of showers, this is the program for you.

What would you improve about this program?
I would change the strictness of the social aspect. A lot of times it felt as if we were being put on lockdown for the mistakes of previous students.
Default avatar
amcole
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience in TCI

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Turks and Caicos Islands. I learned a lot (probably 150+ organisms by their scientific names, as an example), met some friends I will have for life, dove in a beautiful and diverse ecosystem, and had the experience if a lifetime. Despite few freshwater showers and frequent meals of rice and beans, I liked living in the center because the closeness led to tight friendships and trust. The interns, professors, SAM, and other staff were all so helpful and friendly. I would say there was about a 1 day adjustment period for me, then I didn't want to ever leave!

Interviews

Alumni Interviews

Staff Interviews

About The School for Field Studies (SFS)

The School for Field Studies (SFS) offers field-based programs that revolve around environmental studies and research. The programs involve exploration of the human and ecological aspects of issues having to do with the local environments. Students...