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Bahamas Marine Biology 

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Brianna had an amazing time with the Marine Biology trip. The combination ...
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This was a fantastic opportunity for our daughter. It has cemented the ...
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I sent my son on this trip to see if marine biology was really what he ...
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This trip was the most amazing three weeks of my life. I met great people ...
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I did not know what to expect from this trip and whether I would have ...
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Broadreach is an amazing program that allows you to do things you would ...
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The underwater combination of academic marine studies with advanced dive ...
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Thanks for the opportunity to take our son beyond the familiar. It was ...
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What a wonderful, eventful trip full of adventures, academics, and new ...
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Trip of a life time an unforgettable experience that I would recommend ...
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This trip was excellent in every regard. Well planned, plenty of pre-travel ...
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My daughter really enjoyed this trip. She was looking for a summer program ...
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This trip is a lot of fun and also very academically sound. Diving all ...
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The trip was amazing! I learned a ton about conservation and biology. ...
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It was an exhilarating experience and I had an awesome time. Some favorite ...
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alumni journals
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Bahamas Marine Biology

Snehal Sangani

As I am sitting writing this, snugly wrapped up in a woolly jumper and a long scarf drinking hot chocolate, it is pouring outside in a thunderous storm; cold fat raindrops run like tears fast ...

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As I am sitting writing this, snugly wrapped up in a woolly jumper and a long scarf drinking hot chocolate, it is pouring outside in a thunderous storm; cold fat raindrops run like tears fast down the pane. It is at times like these that I wish I were far away from dark dreary London and back in gorgeous Eleuthera, Bahamas, where rain was deliciously warm and infrequent.

This summer I went on Broadreach to Eleuthera, an island in the Bahamas. It was an academic program and although learning marine biology sounded brilliant, I was more excited about the diving because I had only just acquired my Open Water Diver certification and couldn’t wait to dive amongst beautiful coral and incredible fish. I had only dived before in a murky reservoir in England where I had had to wear the most ridiculously loose wetsuit as the water was so cold. In the Bahamas the water is crystal clear and shockingly warm. On the first few days I was completely bowled over by everything - prior to the trip I had just spent a week camping in the mountains of Wales in the most atrocious of weathers so the hot hot Bahamian sun was welcomed most appreciatively, as was the stunning scenery of the island.

I learnt a lot about myself after being put in such unfamiliar surroundings. Usually I love meeting new people and cant stop chattering once started, but for the first week I was intensely quiet and shy. When the others in the group arrived though, excitement overcame my shyness and I soon felt as if I had known everyone for years. Friendships made on the trip are truly strong as you have to live with people and all their quirks for a month. I have to say that I truly miss a lot of my Broadreach friends because you really do tend to bond when you do everything together and share so many experiences. Every day something reminds me of someone on the trip. “I Will Survive” came on the radio today and I suddenly found myself on one of the morning exercise runs to high rock, for which Ellen, Emily and I would bellow out this song as loud as we could manage whilst running.

Handling new situations, learning new skills and having great experiences has left me with a great sense of achievement. One of the things that will definitely make this summer memorable was that I learnt how to ride a bike. I had never been taught when I was little and I had never learnt because I did not need to. Thankfully, I picked up riding fast after deciding that I didn’t want to walk everywhere and also because my friends and the counsellors were so supportive - they never minded riding slowly alongside me. Impressed upon my mind is the way that everyone helped every one else out, even revising for the mid term and the final was made enjoyable because we all collaborated in devising ingenious ways of remembering information: Purple Cats Are Mating At Every Corner… remember that girls?

Reflecting on the trip has made me realise how many incredible things that I did over the summer, every day led to a new adventure, be it going to Bahamian church or conch fishing. The memory of Bahamian church really makes me smile, the whole experience was sooo fun- Bahamians really know how to sing and they do so with such enthusiasm that is infectious. Although we found it hard to sing so unrestrainedly at first we soon got into the swing of things -Tyler especially. I can’t imagine Bahamian church in any other way. I really loved the whole attitude to life there which was summarised nicely by the title of the number one song while we were there - “No stress, No stress”. Very appropriate!
I am also really amazed at how much I learnt and how much I enjoyed that aspect of the trip - lectures were interesting because it meant that you knew what you were looking at the next time you went diving. Oh the diving! This was definitely the part of the day that I would look forward to the most - every single dive was absolutely amazing. From singing Britney loudly in the chickie boat to the crazy navigation dive where Lisa and I got ridiculously lost, from getting attacked by scary remora to seeing a huge turtle, countless sharks and beautiful fish, it was all such a buzz. The diving on the trip has made me decide that I would like to train as a dive master - I have signed up for the Rescue diver course and I am now saving up for my equipment. I have been inspired in so many ways by the trip. I have become really interested in Environmental Art after learning about it. Coincidentally, the artist we learnt about had an exhibition near me. I have also realised how interesting marine biology is and that I may like to study it later.

Most importantly, I have made many lifelong friends who I shared all of these incredible experiences with, friends with whom I was able to cry as well as laugh with and who I knew I could trust. So as I gaze out into the rain, I am not really that sad, memories keep me happy, and I know that next summer is approaching. Life really is an adventure, however exciting as you want it to be.
Bahamas Marine Biology

Merrill Rudd

I distinctly remember standing on the dock, weighed down by countless pieces of heavy equipment and scared to death. Anxiously looking down at the water, I knew it was too late to turn around. ...

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I distinctly remember standing on the dock, weighed down by countless pieces of heavy equipment and scared to death. Anxiously looking down at the water, I knew it was too late to turn around. Letting go of everything that seemed natural and safe, I jumped. After briefly struggling in the waves on the surface of the water, I gulped my last breath and began my descent. The silence was eerie. I looked up towards the sky and panicked. With great hesitation and unease, I took a breath. Surprised by the humming of my exhale and the tickle of bubbles streaming past my face, I realized I was alive. I could breathe underwater.

It’s all about taking chances. My decision to travel to the Bahamas, earn my scuba certification, and take a marine biology course was made on nothing but a whim; a gut instinct. I thought I would love it, but if not, at least I would come home knowing a lot about fish. Of course I loved it.

From the moment I arrived, I was inspired by the community, the feeling of independence, the experience. We probably could have been studying the most banal, dull subjects and I still would have been sucked in by the passion of those around me. This was a community I could not wait to join. Tunicates, coral growth morphologies, and marine crustaceans excited me. I suddenly wanted to be a marine biology nerd.

In connection with my studies, scuba diving allowed me to witness marine ecology firsthand, and I quickly became enthralled with the ocean, the great unknown. Scuba diving became not only my most common daydream and favorite activity, but an academic interest as well. Just as a visit to a museum would be more worthwhile with an understanding of the artists and their styles, my diving has been defined by my knowledge of and curiosity about marine ecology.

I clearly recall arriving at the campus in St. Louis, anxious for what I would find, and with great anticipation and awe. From the beginning of my college search, I have had a strong gut feeling that Washington University is right for me. At the sight of the dignified buildings, lush quads, intertwining walkways, and beaming students, my instinct was confirmed. I am intrigued by programs such as the Pathfinder Program in Environmental Sustainability. From my own experience with scuba diving, I have learned that I am exuberant for what I love and work best when my peers are as enthused. The small group of intellectually excited students with similar interests at Washington University, focusing together and evolving into various majors, is another community I cannot wait to join.

My gut instincts brought me to one of the best decisions I have ever made. I feel the same pull towards Washington University in St. Louis. On the verge of discovering who I am and what I will be doing, all my instincts say that Washington University is the right place to find out.

- Merrill Rudd
Marine biology summer trips for teens

Kelsey Jacobsen

While the buzzing engines of our eight-passenger plane hummed in my ears, I admired the expanse of perfectly clear blue water and swirling sand ridges far below me. I gazed around at the six ...

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While the buzzing engines of our eight-passenger plane hummed in my ears, I admired the expanse of perfectly clear blue water and swirling sand ridges far below me. I gazed around at the six complete strangers seated around me, six of the twenty-two high schoolers I would be spending the next three weeks of my life with. As I regarded each face, I wondered what I would learn from each of these people: where they come from, what they would add to our group and what kind of an impression they would leave for me to take home after our twenty-two days ahead.

This being my third Broadreach trip, I had become accustomed to the apprehensive butterflies one feels when beginning an adventure like the one I was about to become a part of. Traveling alone to a foreign place to live with people you have never met takes courage, but I knew that we would soon overcome our inhibitions and become comfortable with each other. I only hoped that this experience would be half as rewarding as my previous two.

As I expected, our group readily became a close-knit one. From soap fights in the kitchen during dish duty to sharing of clothing to midnight study sessions, we not only became comfortable around each other, but formed a friendly community that everyone was a part of. With such a small group, everybody got to share time with all of the other Broadreachers, whether it was through being dive buddies, bunk bed mates or just chilling in the common room with the warm breeze and Bob Marley playing in the background. Often, I found myself thinking of how lucky I was to be in such a beautiful place with so many inspiring individuals, friends that I never would have made if I hadn’t chosen to come on this trip. Even though our group came from a range of drastically different backgrounds, we each brought a little bit of our homes with us to the Island School to form our own dynamic lifestyle.

Along with living in this community, though, came responsibilities. However, whether we realized it or not, these responsibilities were not burdens, but rather chances to learn more about ourselves. During the rotations of leadership within our group members, it was interesting to see everyone’s differing social styles and to think about where my own fit in. Through operating as a team within our motley group of friends, it was interesting to observe how much other people’s personalities blossomed from the beginning of the trip to the end. I feel that mine did the same.

Of course, my experience really has to be credited to our counselors, because they were the ones who really kept the wheels of the trip running. During my time at the beautiful Island School, I learned so much from our five fantastic counselors. Everything from reef ecology and the life cycle of a jellyfish, to pursuing your dreams and living in the moment were covered, whether inside or out of the classroom. I looked up to every one of our instructors, who each had information and stories that they were eager to share. Whether through the five-thirty wake-up nudges before dawn dives or their not-so-hip moves at the dance party in the gazebo, they radiated positive energy. Also, it was great to finally be surrounded by people who, like me, have a strong interest in marine biology. To be able to learn from them in such an ideal environment was a chance I will never see again.

There is no better feeling than to jump from the moist Bahamian heat into the perfectly cool, blue Caribbean water. Like the adventures we had on the ocean’s dry-land counterpart, we could not expect what would happen when plunging head-first into them. However, any expectations were met when we got to see sharks, curious sea turtles, delicate nudibranchs, color-changing octopuses, rays of all kinds and too many other things to mention. There is a certain tranquility to being underwater. With no means of communication besides hand gestures or fruitless attempts to speak through a regulator, everything is silent. Often the most relaxing part of my day was spent beneath the waves.

As our adventure progressed, new experiences awaited our every turn and countless moments were shared, which only continued to bring our group closer. It is these moments, like cliff jumping at night into bio-luminescent waters, chatting in the sun on the back porch of the dorms or playing with a curious remora at a safety stop, that really made our summer together so memorable.

When the day arrived for us to unload our drawers of clothing into our suitcases, scrub the dorms and load into the cars for one last time, the group reminisced about our time spent together. The ride to the tiny airport was a somber one, yet everyone took advantage of our last few hours together by recalling stories from our beloved Island School. We knew that once we returned home, none of our other friends would understand the jokes and memories that we were a part of.

After a teary farewell to our counselors, we boarded the Twin Air jets that would return us to civilization. I watched the island of Eleuthera disappear into the turquoise water and thought about all of the knowledge I now had about the ocean and all of the things in it. For years to come I will appreciate all of the intangible lessons that I learned about in this paradise, which are equally as valuable.

As we walked together through the Fort Lauderdale airport, a smile broke across my face. I remembered the first day, the apprehension and the new faces. As we pushed through the bustle of the terminal corridor, we were no longer twenty-two indifferent strangers with our own agendas, but a group of close friends, walking together.

By Kelsey Jacobsen
MBA2, 2003

Click here to read more Alumni Journals & College Essays from this trip!

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