The Galapagos Islands are known worldwide for their amazingly unique and varied geology, ecology, and wildlife. On top of these attractions, here are the top 10 reasons you should study abroad in the Galapagos Islands.
1. Awesome Weather
Warm weather exists in the Galapagos Islands all year long. The archipelago is located right on the Equator, yet is never uncomfortably hot nor chillingly cold. One can enjoy the outdoors, beaches, and the beautiful crystal-clear water in any month. It’s fortunate for those studying abroad in the Galapagos, as so many courses offered on the islands take place at least partly outdoors.
2. Exciting Volcanoes
More than 20 volcanic islands and islets make up the Galapagos Islands, with each one offering a unique volcano to hike and explore. There’s nothing quite like climbing to the top of a volcano to fully take in the marvelous scenery of these isolated islands.
3. Unique Homestays
Study abroad programs in the Galapagos Islands often include homestays, which are a great way to fully immerse in the culture, eat local foods, live in traditional housing, get to know friendly and inviting people, and find out how inhabitants of the island really live. This is an amazing part of the world to visit, and living with a host family is a great opportunity to gain insight on the people who call it home.
4. Abundant Wildlife
During your study abroad program in the Galapagos Islands you will be able to get up close with the famed giant tortoises (from which the Galapagos Islands draw their name). The islands are an incredible ecosystem with an astonishing variety of birds, reptiles, mammals, fish, and plants; some species of flora and fauna are found only on this island archipelago. Here, animals outnumber the people, and are often unafraid around humans.
5. Welcoming People
On the four inhabited islands on the Galapagos live some of the friendliest people you will encounter. The locals work mainly in fishing, farming, and tourism. They take great pride in acting as host families and teaching students and tourists about the islands.
6. Dollars And Cents
The Galapagos Islands use the same currency as the United States — except the cost of living here is cheaper, by comparison. For students accustomed to U.S. dollars and cents, taking a course here means studying abroad without the hassle of currency conversion.
7. Get Your Hands Dirty (Or Wet)
The Galapagos Islands are known as a “living laboratory” and anyone studying abroad in the Galapagos can expect to use the great outdoors as the classroom. Crater lakes, lava tubes, swamps, sulfur fields, steep cliffs, saltwater lagoons, beaches of shell, sand, and coral, and even volcanoes become the setting for some of the coolest science classes on earth.
8. Evolutionary Science
Go to the place that inspired one of science’s most revolutionary, and evolutionary, minds. The young naturalist Charles Darwin visited the islands as a passenger on a British surveying ship, and was amazed at the diversity in wildlife that he found there. His observations launched his studies into species evolution and natural selection, which would shake the foundations of conventional scientific and religious thought.
9. Endless Exploration
Scuba diving, snorkeling, hiking, and spelunking in the lava tunnels are fun activities you can do while studying in the Galapagos that will let you get up close with rare species and really understand how the islands were formed. With so many islands to explore, and 837 miles of coastline, the only limitation for anyone studying abroad in the Galapagos Islands is time.
10. Unique Surroundings
The Galapagos Islands are some of the most unique in the world. The convergence of three major ocean currents makes the islands a melting pot of a huge array of marine life. Some species of plants and animals (including the world’s only marine lizard, the Galapagos Marine Iguana) exist here and only here.