Throughout the past four weeks, I’ve had trouble acclimating to this new place I now call home. Being from New York City, the Bahamian lifestyle and all other aspects of Eleuthera are very different from my normal routine. Usually there are tall buildings and bright city lights, but here there are SCUBA diving classes, 26 other bunkmates and watching Jaws in the ocean. With that being said, it does not mean that I am not enjoying this place. I think that we all had different reasons to come here. Yet, we all traveled to a foreign country in order to explore and experience this place for 100 days. It is in this idea that we have found an over-arching theme that threads the 51 students together. Even though I’ve been having a bit of trouble here, I have found solace in my peers and teachers. The community here is supportive and caring, and knowing that I have people here to support me is one of the greatest things I could have asked for. Sachi Elias
Scuba diving has always seemed so exotic and foreign to me. I always thought of it as something for only professionals, and never really considered that it would be me breathing from a regulator underwater. Here at the Island School, however, it is incorporated right into the curriculum. As a result, I am now certified and dive regularly in the clear waters of the Bahamas for Marine Ecology classes. Every time I enter the water, I think of the stark contrast between the sciences I am exploring here versus the ones I would be studying at home. There, I would be sitting and taking notes at a desk: just about as far as you can get from exploring the bottom of the sea. I am constantly reminded of how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to attend the Island School, and to get the full experience of the Island of Eleuthera.
As I am writing this post, I am looking forward to a dive scheduled for this morning. Today, our class is focusing on fish around the patch reefs of a dive site called Tunnel Rock. Previously, we’ve observed coral, algae, and invertebrates in the same area. With six total dives under my belt thus far, I am excited for number seven and the ones that follow, especially the one on Parent’s Weekend with my Dad.
It was a hot Thursday afternoon as advisories from around the globe met to face off in the 2014 Advisory World Cup. Blistering heat, questionable music, ridiculous dancing and ineffective stretching made it a very unique scene, however, nonetheless competitive. Intentional community seemed to be making its way off the field as the games made their way towards the finals. The favorites appeared to be England and USA. In the semi-finals team USA dominated its opponent North Korea, and secured it place in the finals. In the other semi-final match England began at a strong pace however the unseen underdog Cameroon began to dominate late in the match. Unexpectedly Cameroon defeated England in a nail biting last minute goal. The final match was set and team USA prepared to take home the cup. Again though, tenacity and patience paid off as Cameroon finished team USA in a David versus Goliath match up winning 3-2.
As I immerse myself into the fourth week of Island School, I can say with confidence that my perspective is beginning to change. Cliché, but very true. I came into the Island School thinking I could handle any challenge hurled at me with ease; I was greatly mistaken. I was suddenly transported from a world where I knew everyone and everything that was going on around me to being in a completely foreign setting. The academics at home were something I could handle well; here, I have had breakdowns about my workload and grades. Now, Mom and Daddy, I know you’re reading this and thinking, “What the heck?” and trust me, it was my reaction too. But don’t worry, this is the good part. With these struggles I have begun to understand myself. I know that I am strong enough to handle the challenges, because I was capable of handling Greens Farms Academy, a rigorous but wonderful school, and I am confident that I will end my Island School term with a bang. I have become efficient at knowing my emotions and better communicating them, a skill I will need for the rest of my life. This place has made me a better person already and I am really excited to bring the new and still evolving “me” back home to you. I am absorbing new cultures and new experiences, which were the goals in the first place and the main reason I ever wanted to study abroad. I am proud of who I have become and I want you to know that I am happy here, despite any challenges. Thank you, Island School students and faculty, for shaping the new Samantha.