#My100Days: Scuba Diving in Roatan
An interview with Rilie Curd (CGS’19)
What did you do during your gap semester?
I went to Roatan, Honduras and spent three months there scuba diving every day to get my Master Scuba Diver certification. There was a stretch when there was rainy weather but we pretty much dove two to three times every day. In order to get the masters we had to do certain courses to get certifications like getting open-water certified, advance certified and EFR certified. To get those certifications you have to do a certain number of dives and we did the classes to build up to the dive masters.
What was your process for narrowing down what you wanted to do?
I had gone to Roatan two times before and dove with the same dive shop. While we were in Roatan I was talking with my parents and they thought it would be a great idea to get my dive masters since I had already been diving since I was 14. I had also traveled a lot and loved the ocean and really enjoyed being on an island, so everything kind of fell into place. One of the great things about taking this course was that I got to take it with my sister. She had graduated college while I graduated high school, and she wasn’t sure what she was going to do and since she had already done a dolphin internship at Roatan, she wanted to go back and try something new.
How did you go about researching your options and making your choice?
I really didn’t do too much research because I had already been there twice and knew a lot about Roatan. I had set up the course with the diving director of the program and from there it was just planning when I wanted to actually go and take the course. One of the cool things about the course was that it was just my sister Zoe and I taking the course so we were able to get the most hands-on training and immerse ourselves in the course.
How did you organize the logistics of the trip?
I knew the timeframe for when I wanted to go because I knew I had the fall semester off, and I knew that it would take three months to actually complete the course so this felt like the perfect time to do it. We left mid-September, and came back home mid-December which was just in time for the holidays. One of the interesting things about the course was they have a dive-bunk, which was very small, for students to stay in so I stayed in there with my sister. It was cool because it right on the resort, and it was a good trial run for college because we cooked for ourselves, and I was able to get taste for what I had to do on my own.
Are there are any tips or unexpected things you learned from the process of planning this experience?
Culturally it was very different, and it was interesting being able to be immersed in the culture for yourself without parents, and when you are there for three months, you get to learn a lot about island life. Something unexpected I learned was island talk where they mix Spanish with English so it was fun to learn some of the language, and you also get to find the hole-in-the wall places that the locals love.
Is there anything you would recommend other students think about as they plan their own gap semester?
If you have the chance to go abroad and do something like I did, then do it. I definitely recommend going abroad and honestly would not change anything about my experience. I remember being back on campus for the spring semester thinking I would be behind, but it was all right because everyone has their own path. Even if you don’t go abroad, I would recommend doing something that you haven’t done before because it is exciting to try new things
—Interview by Steven Silvio (CGS’17, COM’19)