Attempting to accurately describe the state of enlightenment I've entered since this trip would be vastly difficult considering how eye opening it has been for me. It was a trip filled with many first experiences, all of which connecting together to teach me many things about culture, the ocean, and possibly what life holds for me in the future. The last few days we packed with different experience's from contributing to a census of various bird species in the estuary, to kayaking in that same area and observing the tiny crabs scattered within the muddy edge. After that we all went up to the restaurant on the farm and tried different cuisines using fish/oysters/stingrays from the farm. This was quite interesting and with some convincing I begrudgingly tried a raw oyster, that turned out to be surprisingly good. After that we went back to CEDO to take our exam which turned out to be relatively simple (so don't worry about it if you're going to do the program Dr C gives out a study guide and ample time to study!)
Heading back home left me with a very bittersweet sensation; a happiness to return back to life as I knew it and the usual sadness that lingers after a chapter of something has to come to an end. This trip for me was a chance to learn about a topic of study I always had interest in, but never truly had investigated before. When I was a little girl I had always wanted to become a marine biologist, but life seemed to get in the way and that dream faded away with time and was met with a different dream grounded in what was deemed more realistic. Going on this trip allowed me to connect back to my former childhood self, enjoying the things that I love and learning all about a foreign undersea world that seemed so magnificent and wonderful. While like many adventures the trip had its downsides and I had to learn to adapt to the new environment, much like the various organisms we observed in the intertidal have to do in their every day life. I'm truly honored to have been able to be a part of something so fun filled and grounded in education and a solid love for the field of study. I strongly urge anyone reading this wondering whether it is something you want to do, but are not sure of whether it is for you. It is honestly one of the best things I've experienced so far, and I'm so incredibly happy to have been a part of it. From connecting with new people with various different backgrounds, to immersing myself in a culture I didn't know much about led to some eye opening and enlightening experiences. I promise you if you do choose to participate in this program, you will not regret it, you might even learn a thing or two, and head home with a head full of farfetched dreams and a gnarly sunburn.