Marine Biology Majors cannot substitute a study abroad term for one of the three terms of study at OIMB, unless they participate in the summer term Marine Biology of Panama program. The six credits for this program count toward the twelve credit minimum for summer term. Other options for students wishing to have a study abroad experience are the following programs that have strong marine science components:
The Council for International Exchange and Education’s Marine Ecology and Conservation program in Bonaire
Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity and experience, but preparing yourself for that journey makes it all the better. When I studied in Bonaire in the fall of 2008, I had never studied marine biology before. Though not directly impeding my studies during my experience, I would have had a richer and more knowledgeable understanding of the coral reefs in Bonaire, had I taken some marine biology courses before hand. My recommendation if you are thinking about studying in Bonaire is to take the invertebrate zoology course at OIMB either in the spring or summer before you go to Bonaire so that you are familiar with the organisms you are seeing and can get even more excited than I did at the fantastic diversity of types, shapes and colors.
When I first applied to the SEA Semester program I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I knew I was ready for an adventure. What I gained from that trip I am utterly grateful for, I had the adventure of a lifetime with fourteen of the greatest people I have ever met. I spent six weeks living in Woods Hole, Massachusetts just up the road from the prestigious Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). In the classroom we took a variety of rigorous classes from nautical science to maritime history and oceanography. We designed oceanography projects that were executed on the boat, and helped shape part of our responsibilities while at sea. My experience on the boat was the best part of the program. For five weeks we lived as part of the crew on the Student Sailing Vessel Corwith Cramer, and the first day out I was at the helm steering us through the Atlantic. While on my trip we departed from Key West, Fl heading to Bermuda, next a short stay in Nova Scotia followed by sailing through New York harbor right next to the statue of liberty (one my favorite parts of the trip). Sea semester provides the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to explore the world through the ocean and arrive in new places by sailboat; an experience very few will ever have. I smile every time I look in my passport and see the stamp “Bermuda immigration: arrived by sea in transit.”
Growing up I had always dreamed of visiting the Great Barrier Reef, as I’m sure all other aspiring Marine Biologists out there do. I dreamed of being able to take in the beautiful color of coral, tropical fish and vast variety of invertebrates. So, when I got the chance to study abroad, I knew there was no greater place to go, than Australia, and make my dreams come true. I chose James Cook University, because the school is linked with the UO, and it is renowned for both marine and tropical Biology. I took courses in Evolution and Ecology of Coral Reef Fish with Dr. David Bellwood, in which we spent a week at the James Cook University’s research centre, Orpheus Island. While there, I learned first-hand how to sample coral reef diversity with a variety of techniques, and had a chance to snorkel on this almost pristine coral reef for class credit. The fish, coral and invertebrates surpassed my imagination. Studying in Australia gave me an opportunity to learn about a variety of other habitats, such as sandy beaches, rocky shores and mangroves. I also had an opportunity to learn about the vast diversity of algae that Australia is renowned for, something I hadn’t known before my experience to Australia. Everyday I learned something new about my field and myself. Studying abroad to James Cook University gave me an opportunity to learn about my future field of work, myself and a chance to make one of my dreams come true.
James Cook University is one of the leading universities in the world for marine biology research. I spent winter and spring terms (summer and fall in Australia!) at the Townsville campus of JCU in northern Queensland, Australia. It was an amazing opportunity to study and experience a very different aspect of marine biology, compared to the more temperate focus of OIMB. JCU is very close to the Great Barrier Reef and offers exceptional opportunities to study the unique marine habitats Australia. I would highly recommend this study abroad experience for anyone interested in getting a background in tropical marine biology, as well as learning about an awesome culture.