Island, Sea, and Personal Discoveries

Expeditions are not only an opportunity to get off campus and explore the surrounding island habitats. They serve as an extension of the classroom, where academic lessons in ecology, sustainability and development are reinforced and come to life, as well as lessons in communication, leadership, and personal growth.


Students take part in two expeditions during the semester. The first is a 3-day kayak trip during which students learn the essential hard skills involved in sea kayaking and leave-no-trace camping. The 3-day expeditions, that take place early in the semester, are wonderful introductions to the environment of South Eleuthera and an invaluable bonding experience for the students.

The Island School Stories

My biggest takeaway from my Semester at The Island School was learning how to lead. Before coming, I always thought that leading was primarily done by speeches and talking, but sometimes leading is just doing something and having people follow suit. During our expeditions, the best way to get the group to pack up the campsite was not yelling, but starting to pack up yourself.

Eli Kaplan

Semester student

Later in the semester, students apply the hard skills acquired during their 3-day trips and develop leadership skills during an 8-day voyage by kayak around the southern point of Eleuthera.

Kayakers take turns leading their pod through the day’s route, selecting and setting up a campsite, cooking meals over an open fire, and learning about themselves and each other through campfire activities.

Punctuating this 30-nautical-mile trip is a 48-hour solo experience on the windward coast. With only their own thoughts to turn to, the solos are often the most powerful experiences of the students’ semester.

Solo Wilderness Experience

The 48-hour solo experience is not designed to be a survival test, but rather a time for students to engage in important reflection as they near the end of their semester. Camping solo, while overlooking a gorgeous beach and ocean, it’s a transformative experience to spend time in such a beautiful setting, alone with your thoughts. Living in the moment, surrounded by the beauty and sounds of nature, you’ll feel strong, you’ll feel grateful — you’ll feel alive.




Down Island Trips

With a long sailing tradition in the archipelago, Bahamians consider north as “down” because the currents run south to north, hence the name “Down Island.” Down Island Trips are a chance for students to see and experience the central and northern portions of Eleuthera. These excursions are 3-day car-camping trips that allow students to spend time in larger settlements like Governor’s Harbour and Spanish Wells, explore sites of historical or natural interest, and gain a wider perspective of the tourism industry on Eleuthera.

Days are filled with meeting new people and exploring new settlements, body surfing on the sugar sand beaches along the Atlantic, investigating caves once inhabited by historical settlers and now bats, snorkeling tidal channels that offer a rapids-like ride, and bonding by a campfire. Down Island Trips are essential for exposing students to the wider geography and culture of Eleuthera and remind students how much the natural and cultural landscape has to teach us.