Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholars (BESS)

A Gap-year Environmental Exploration

The Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholars (BESS) program is a unique opportunity for graduating students in The Bahamas ages 15 – 18 who have a keen interest in the environment and want to learn more as they transition from high school to university studies.

Successful applicants will participate in a 14-week Semester program at The Island School and a four-month paid internship at an environmental conservation-related organization.

Upon completion of high school, students can use BESS as a gap year experience before pursuing further studies. The BESS Program is administered in collaboration with the Bahamas Reef Environmental Education Foundation (BREEF).

An Immersive Environmental Experience

As part of the BESS program you will gain valuable knowledge, experiences, and skills, as you:

  • Study marine ecology
  • Learn about national/global issues in sustainable development
  • Learn about alternate sources of energy
  • Become part of conservation efforts in The Bahamas
  • Participate in field research
  • Network with scientists and other professionals in the field
  • Develop your water skills (swim, snorkel)
  • Earn SCUBA certifications
  • Train in First Aid & CPR
  • Enhance your computer and public speaking skills
  • Prepare for college
  • Connect with the environment around you


  • 15 – 18 years old
  • 2.5 Minimum GPA
  • Bahamian citizen or eligible for Bahamian citizenship
  • Demonstrate an interest in the environment and environmental sustainability

BESS Scholarships

Tuition for the Island School 14-week semester is $32,800. Additional expenses including travel to and from Eleuthera, school clothing, and incidentals range from $1,000 – $1,500. The BESS admission process is based on merit and potential. Ability to pay does not play any role in the selection process. Full and partial scholarships are available for selected applicants.

All BESS Scholars will receive a stipend of $500 per month during the four-month internship period. For students living at their internship site, $250/month will be deducted to cover room and board expenses incurred by the hosting institution.