Tuesday, November 26, 2013

No Better Place To Be

Hello, my name is Amanda Alker, and I am a junior attending the Florida Atlantic University. I am currently working on the project 'Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria from the Sewage Outfalls of Bermuda'. I can already see it; twenty years from now, I will still be talking about my 2013 REU internship in Bermuda. This program has far surpassed my expectations in more ways than one. The program itself is unique in the sense that it is a program exclusively for United States institutions, and although Bermuda is its own country, BIOS is a US institution. This loophole has allowed us to experience a new culture altogether.

The RV Stommel brought us to Nonsuch Island
Bermuda is a subtropical island with European flair. Houses are built over cliffs and rock ledges painted in bright colors. The streets and buildings are teaming with history and stories. Because the island is so isolated there is relatively little pollution. The water is truly as blue as it is in the pictures. The snorkeling and diving is full of underwater caves and rock structures, giant parrotfish and rockfish, and massive healthy coral heads. As a student with interests in Marine Biology and Environmental Health, I  don't think there could be a better place to be. 

Perhaps the most memorable aspect of my stay in Bermuda was my interaction with the Bermudians and all of the events that I was able to attend. Regardless of the time of day, weather, or situation, everyone always greets you with a "hello, you alright?" (which is our equivalent of 'what's up'). A few people from the BIOS family partook in a volleyball tournament at Horseshoe Beach in September.

Fun in the sun on pink sand beaches
 A large group of us often went to the Swizzle inn for quiz nights on Thursdays. As well as quite a few other events such as Oktoberfest, and the Rugby classic 80s party.

During my stay, I found that I spent a lot of time running on the railway trail, which is a series of interconnected trails that span the entire island. Most of the trails overlook the water and offer some of the best sights on the island.

One of the best spots by BIOS- Whalebone Bay

Along the railway trail a cruise boat leaves as a storm rolls in

 PartnerRe 5k finisher
 I've made many friends, both professional and personal, that have helped me grow greatly as a young adult in the field of research. At the initial thought of studying abroad for three months, I was almost concerned that it would be too long of a stay. Now, I can hardly believe that I live anywhere else than here. I am deeply saddened to leave, however, I know that I will make my way back some day.

From the left: Amanda, Kelsey, Amy, Esra

From the left: Amanda, Derek, Amy, Esra, Ameena, Harrison, and Ryan

The REU program at BIOS is supported by the National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences under Grant No. 1262880

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