Closing Words: Katie

It’s hard to believe our time in the Bahamas has come to an end already.  I can honestly say the last four weeks were the best of my life, what an experience!  Over the course of this January term I feel I have learned so much.  Not only could I give a full presentation on type II diabetes now, but I also learned about the culture, how to host a successful wellness fair, the marine life in the Bahamas, sustainability, and island life in general.  I gained so much life experience over the course of the last month, and for that I will be forever grateful.

Some of my favorite times from the trip include the home stays, the kayak trip, our night at Tippy’s Restaurant and the Beach House, and our afternoon spent at Lighthouse beach.  While on our home stay, Miranda and I were able to fully experience the culture.  Our family was very accommodating and more than willing to answer any questions we had.  We had a chance to explore Tarpum Bay, visit the local park and watch a dog show, hang out at the house and play Xbox, and attend church.  The kayak trip was another highlight for me.  We had the perfect weather, with warm sunshine and water so smooth it looked like glass.  During our trip we were able to visit a blue hole and witnessed 5 large eagle rays swimming across the hole.  It was one of the most majestic things I have ever seen.  The kayak trip overall was a great time to reflect and spend some time in quiet out on the water.  Our night at the Beach House and Tippy’s Restaurant were such a great time as a group to bond and enjoy some local music.  Lighthouse beach was absolutely breathtaking.  By far the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.  We all enjoyed the day in the sun, the crystal clear water for snorkeling, and the super soft beaches.

If I were to give any recommendations to future students, I would just say to keep an open mind, try every new thing you have the chance to (within reason of course), and to savor every moment.  Over the course of the last month I learned a lot about myself.  I learned I am able to adapt to new situations and maintain a positive attitude.  Even in instances I would have thought I couldn’t handle, for instance the bugs and cockroaches, I was able to deal with just fine.  I am stronger than I realized I was, and I was able to overcome some fears I had prior to this trip.  I also learned how much I truly enjoy being able to help others and specifically working with underprivileged children.  This course was such an amazing journey in so many ways, and I will always cherish the wonderful memories that were made and the new friendships that were formed.