Study Abroad in the Bahamas

Bahamas beach

Bahamas flag

Bahamas plant

Islands provide natural “laboratory” settings in which to study the processes and patterns of evolution.  In the Plants and Islands course, you will have the opportunity to learn about various aspects of island biology (how do plants get to islands, what types of adaptations do island plants have, what unique challenges to islands present, etc.), and then to study plants in a natural subtropical island setting.  We will travel to San Salvador Island, Bahamas, a small (63 square miles) and remote island on the outermost western edge of the Bahamas.  During the eight-day spring break trip, we will explore numerous plant communities on the island, ranging from fossil ecosystems to dune communities, dense sub-tropical thickets, and species-rich “banana holes.”  We will also spend time snorkeling the coral reefs associated with the islands, cataloging various marine algae and animal species.  Prior to the field trip, the course includes classroom lectures in which you will learn about some of the organisms and plant communities you will encounter, preparing you for the trip and enriching the experience on the island itself.

While on San Salvador Island, we will stay at the Gerace Research Center (GRC).  The GRC provides dorm-style housing, fully prepared meals in their cafeteria, and vehicles for transportation around the island.  They also house laboratory and classroom facilities and a small library.

Bahamas students

“The time I spent travelling to the Bahamas solidified my choice to remain a Biology major. At the time, I was questioning what I wanted to go into and this trip exposed me to the realities of working in the science field. I fell in love with every aspect of it! We got the chance to participate in field work where we studied plants, corals, and geology. On top of all of that, we were able to experience a whole new culture and lifestyle which had an immense impact on me personally.  I returned from San Salvador feeling enriched, passionate, and grateful for the opportunity to receive my college education at GVSU.”  Emily L 2014

“Grand Valley has granted me with many opportunities to engage in cultural experiences through its wide selection of international courses. Learning content in the classroom is one thing, but being physically submerged in the content of your course is an experience one cannot forget!”  Alanna W 2014

Bahamas students