Picture clear, blue waters, white sand and a tropical beach with lounge chairs waiting for you to relax under some shade and read a good book. Your only two activities for the day involve going on two dives beneath the warm waters to explore the colorful reef below ( maybe, today is the lucky day we get to go see a shipwreck), and to meet up with your team later that night to discuss what you saw. Now imagine that you get college credit for said trip. “What?”? you say? Welcome to my Jan term: Scuba Diving the World: Bonaire.
I’m a senior this year, and due to an interesting three first years of studying abroad twice in the spring, it was not possibly for me to take my required Jan term session- essentially a winter course over the break. All students are required to take one Jan term as part of the McDaniel plan, and I suddenly found myself having to take one this year, or not be able to graduate! Figured I would take one… There are two types of Jan terms you can take: ones on campus, and study tour trips that go abroad for around two weeks. The benefit of staying on campus is that your first Jan term is free (minus room and board), and you can just hang out with your friends all the time. The benefits of doing the study tour trips? You get to go abroad! I love traveling, so this is always appealing.
For me personally, none of the on-campus options intrigued me all that much, so I decided to check out the abroad options. Unfortunately…all of them sounded interesting! But for cost reasons, I decided on the least expensive option that would also fulfill a life-goal for me: learning to scuba dive! Our course is called “Scuba Diving the World: Bonaire,” and goes for two week to the island of Bonaire in the Dutch Antilles. Bonaire is in the Caribbean, just off the coast of Venezuela- a pretty tropical location that just happens to be listed as the best dive site in the Caribbean. Among the other awesome things about this trip (it’s in Caribbean for one), is that you get scuba-certified if you’re not already, as in my case. This means that once we complete the certification, we’ll have it for life and can go scuba-dive all over the world!
We’ve been going through some of the training materials before we go- reading through a book and taking quizzes as well as watching the training videos on our own time. Now I’m just getting really excited to go and actually try out everything that I’m learning! I can’t wait for January 8th!