I knew going into college that I wanted to study away from UofSC for at least a semester, but I had no idea where or through what organization. As junior year approached, I decided to look for places that could help me gain experiences in marine ecology in field work and courses. After coming across the National Student Exchange page on the UofSC, I knew studying at the University of the Virgin Islands would be an unforgettable experience. I heard that at St. Thomas you can walk off nearly any beach to snorkel on a coral reef and I was sold.
I am finally registered for my classes and I could not be more excited. While I wish there were more marine science classes offered the semester I will be attending, the ones that are available sound like a lot of fun. The two classes I am most excited for are Open Water Scientific Diving and Scientific Writing. The diving class will have an introduction into conducting field research while scuba diving, it will be a helpful skill to have during my internship in the summer at Key West, Florida studying competition between Florida spiny lobster and stone crab. The scientific writing class will provide experience writing papers that could be submitted for publication, and considering I am pursuing a career in research those writing skills will be beneficial for years to come.
While I am a little nervous going to a place I have never been before for 3 months, my friend Ian is also studying at UVI in the spring. He is also a student at UofSC and works in the same research lab I have been volunteering in, so going into this experience with a familiar face has made it much less intimidating. I will miss my friends in Columbia and family in Ohio while I am away, but I am still looking forward to everything I will see and all of the new people I will meet:)