Our community, which encompasses both The Island School and The Cape Eleuthera Institute, and our program will offer components including Cultural Immersion, Adventure, Education, Travel, Volunteerism and Personal Leadership and Development all while living on Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas.
The Island School believes that teens and young adults, given the right tools, can do just about anything - including change the world. The tools the Island School offers will help high school students and graduates dive deep into the ocean and dig even deeper into themselves in order to discover new sources of their own strength - the strength to ask tough questions, to live well with less, and to believe that they can become a force for positive change in the world. The Island School will ask students to turn off their cell phones and turn on to their surroundings - rich laboratories of learning that include the Caribbean Ocean, Bahamian Culture, and the vibrant community of scientists, faculty and students.
The Gap Year Program at the Cape Eleuthera Institute is an intensive 8-week program focused on leadership, ecology, research, and sustainable development. More than simply a travel or study abroad experience, the Cape Eleuthera Institute's remote location and intentional community living challenges participants to think about our impact on the environment and uses those challenges to maximize their potential and growth in both educational and real like skills! The Island School and Cape Eleuthera Institute combines the following five interdependent components:
- Environmental Education
Our gap year program for high school graduates is an experiential education program where the learning is hands-on and tangible. Our classes in Human Ecology, Environmental Issues and Marine Ecology challenge students to learn by going out in the field using the wonders of nature and the ocean to learn new and challenging concepts. They will learn not only from their experiences, but also from the reflection on those experiences, and gain a broader understanding of place.
- Adventure/Outdoor Education
Though our gap year program is an adventure from start to finish, we take pride in offering adventurous and challenging opportunities for huger personal growth. Participants will participate at their own level in activities from plunging into amazing turquoise waters and sandy beaches to kayak trips, SCUBA Certification or continuation, freediving, cave exploration, cycling, and personal exercise challenges in a "challenging by choice" method open to all level of fitness.
- Research Internship
Participants have the opportunity to work alongside and learn from an amazing team of Cape Eleuthera Institute researchers doing cutting edge research in areas of Shark Conservation, Turtle Tagging, Invasive Lionfish, Bonefish, Climate Change, Mangrove and Reef Ecology, Sustainable Fisheries, Food Security and Sustainability Initiatives as well as Alternative Energy and Green Design Techniques. Participants will be getting hands-on experience with real science, contributing to current studies and getting involved with a team that is committed to making a difference globally.
- Travel and Cultural Immersion
Participants will be exposed to the history, culture, geography, and relevant environmental and social issues of The Bahamas and the island of Eleuthera. In a week of travel and cultural immersion, they will travel up and down the island spending time with locals, experiencing their customs and traditions, and learning about their island from the farms and beaches to the caves and blue holes, and the mysteries and lore surrounding them.
- Personal and Leadership Development
Through working with younger students, taking on responsibilities, and managing freedom in a safe and supervised environment, participants become empowered, capable, and self-reliant. Our gap year program will invite participants to be challenged physically, mentally, and culturally and through this, they will gain confidence in their own abilities.
Mission: The Island School serves as a catalyst in the global transition to a more livable future through three institutional keystones:
- Developing an intimate sense of place in students through immersion experiences in the natural and cultural environment
- Modeling sustainability of individual lifestyles, larger communities, and the systems that support them
- Creating an intentional community whose members are cognizant of their abilities, limitations, and effect on others
5 Participant ReviewsWrite a Review
It is the wilderness of South Eleuthera that sets the tone of this place. The ability to pick a guava off a tree in passing or the opportunity to see more fish in an hour than one could see spending a whole day at an aquarium. However, this abundance of life is a privilege. It is evident in the contrast of abandoned houses and resorts, and the Casuarina trees collapsed on their sides, roots sprawling, that this is a place only for those with the strength to bow to the tides of the Earth. I have experience with the wilderness, but wilderness, I thought was only existent in the deep woods in Maine or in the snow covered mountains of Vermont. It never crossed me that I would find that unmistakable feeling of Earth’s omnipotence in the tropics, where the warmth of the ocean only seemed too comfortable to be natural. Even though the perpetual chill in the pit of my stomach is absent; I am still in the wilderness. Instead, of nippy breezes, here Earth asserts her mastery over us by wringing our bodies’ dry of fresh water. However, it is this slight discomfort that puts us in our natural place. To grow as a person, a society, a world, one cannot be comfortable. Comfort inhibits growth because it blinds one to the need for reform, for progression. Here, on Eleuthera we have taken away the perceived comforts of long showers and napkins. However, I no longer perceive these as discomforts because they have taught me to value our ever-shrinking supply of freshwater and to sacrifice clean hands in order to insure oxygen for future generations and myself. That being said, being too uncomfortable also prevents growth. Like many natives of South Eleuthera, they do not have the means to fish and harvest sustainably. If a fisherman can catch a juvenile conch illegally, then he has dinner for his family. If he instead decides to be sustainable and not harvest that conch, then there is potential for more food in the future. However, his family would starve that day. It is a fragile balance between living in the present and planning for the future that everyone, no matter their socio-economic class or country they inhabit must reflect upon. It is a decision that each person must make individually and I hope that as a world, as a global community, that we can all find comfort in our wilderness.
The Cape Eleuthera Island School Gap Year Program changed my life! There is not one part of this program that I didn't absolutely love. As a gappers, our entire group was welcomed into the community with open arms. I have never been around so many passionate and inspiring people all in one place! The positive energy at CEI and IS is catching. This program gave me the confidence and framework to continue my education. I would recommend this program to anyone who is looking for adventure and to bring themselves of new levels of success!
The gap year program here is amazing. It's full of real world experiences, and having just graduated high school, real world experience was just what I was looking for. It was truly exquisite to study the systems in the ocean and see them up close. Learning about the animals and helping with research was inspiring and very real. The people were also wonderful. Everyone was supportive and helpful, and fun to work with. I'm glad the CEI gap program was the first thing I did for my gap year, now I'm moving forward with a sense of purpose, and an appreciation and love for marine life and the ocean.
The Gap year program is one of a kind experience that has changed the way I view the world. It was the most incredible time of my life and I will never forget the lessons i leant while over there. Not only did I gain knowledge on environmental systems but also learnt about myself and how I want to live in this world. I would strongly recommend this program for anyone interested in environmental sustainability, keen to try new things or just looking for a great experience.
Not only do you get to live by the ocean, but you get to explore it extensively! If you love living sustainably, this is the place for you too! I arrived knowing barely anything about composting and all things sustainable, I can say that I know how to live sustainably now. I also arrived not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I am now a college freshman. Every since the first day of the program I have decided to be a marine biologist. The opportunities to do real science are amazing. I mean I would never have been able to hold a cuban dogfish if I had not done this program. It is a challenge. You will have long days and maybe stressed but then you look out into the ocean and its all worth it! I recommend going in the "winter" January to March. The weather is best at this time of year. You have to do this program!!!