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IES Abroad London and Oxford - Health Practice and Policy

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Fun in London and Jamaica

During my program, I had the privilege of studying health policy both in London and Oxford and then traveling to Kingston, Jamaica for the last week of my program to listen to lectures at the University of West Indies School of Nursing. Even though the program is pretty new, the directors had everything planned out. The staff and program directors invested time to making sure we were fully prepared and aware of everything we needed to do. They helped us get all our train rides settled for Oxford, placed us with NGOs that were in line with our academic/professional interests, made sure our flights and packing lists for Jamaica were all set, and they talked to us thoroughly about what is expected of us outside of IES in Oxford/Kingston. The staff was always very friendly and approachable. They often shared some of their favorite places, which was very helpful in a massive city like London that has so much to offer for everyone. The markets, food culture, and huge variety of events going on made sure there would always be something to do. The IES staff also planned several excursions outside of London for the students. There were trips to Stonehenge, the Harry Potter Studio, Windsor Castle, and many more places around England. The Jamaica portion in particular was extraordinary. When we weren't listening to lectures at UWISON, we were exploring the island and the staff took us to some amazing restaurants and beautiful sites. We swam in a natural salt water lagoon, took a boat ride to a small nearby island to swim and relax, visited the Blue Mountain coffee plantation, and sat by an infinity pool overlooking the island. It didn't feel real and it was so much fun doing it with the friends I made during the program. I was very impressed with what the staff put together for us and I would definitely recommend this program.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The best 4 months of my life

Studying abroad in London was so amazing - since I've been back, I've thought to myself everyday that I want just want to go back and live in London forever.

If you are interested in public/global health, this program is for you. I went into this program with no prior education in public health and I learned A LOT. There was a good mix of students who had a lot of public health experience (typically public health majors) and none at all, so any level of prior experience is ok. This specific program provides you with a pretty set schedule of three required courses (one of them which is at Oxford University), which allows for one elective class. You are also placed in service learning (sort of like an internship) at a organization in the community 8 hours a week. Overall, of these courses were very interesting and the instructors were great people. The everyday workload is minimal but I felt like there were lots of papers.

The one class at Oxford University was pretty cool - being able to walk around this campus as a student was quite an experience. My complaint about this class was that it consumed my entire Friday - we had to leave at 7:30 AM and take three trains to get there, then get back around 5PM, so it made traveling a little difficult. Additionally, the workload was too much for a study abroad class (in my opinion...weekly papers). But, I'd say it was worth it. I learned A LOT not only about public health, but I definitely improved my writing and in-class speaking skills.

London is also a great place to study abroad. The fact that people speak English was great - a lot of my friends who studied abroad in countries with different languages were pretty stressed out because they had to work hard to communicate, but that is also an amazing experience in itself. London just has so much to do all the time, there's really something for everyone...I thought that I would be too overwhelmed by the size of London, but I really wasn't. I'm not a big-city person, but London had the right amount of homeyness in its smaller communities and quirky neighborhoods, that I had an easy time getting used to it. Public transport is so efficient and the fact that I could leave the dorm and get to Big Ben or the 2012 Olympic Pool just by train and walking was amazing to me.

I would say that the past portion of this program, which takes place in Kingston, Jamaica, was the best part of the program. One of our instructors and an administrator took the entire group to Jamaica for a week, and it was absolutely amazing. The hands-on experience that I got to do in the clinics is something that I will probably never have the opportunity to do again, and it was perfectly balanced with time spent at the beach and sight-seeing. This portion of the program is something I tell my friends and family about all the time, and I can't describe in words how awe-struck I was to see and immerse myself in the Jamaican culture and health system.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Semester of a Lifetime

IES Abroad London- Health Practice and Policy was such a great opportunity. London wasn't necessarily my first choice in places to go. But the program fit with my major and school and had a lot of great aspects of it. The fact that the program had a course at Oxford, had service learning in London and a practicum opportunity in Jamaica made the program very attractive and hard to pass up.
The staff at IES, both within the Health Practice and Policy program and outside of the program, were great! They help you to feel accommodated and comfortable with being abroad. Although the orientation at the beginning of the program was a little boring, it was very helpful and helped me to feel more at home in this new city. There are also opportunities to travel to different places with IES. They do a really great job at planning these trips. And it is not just for the health practice and policy program, so it gives you the opportunity to meet people outside of your program as well. Some of the trips included: Cambridge, Bath, Stone hedge and Salisbury, Windsor Castle, York and Harry Potter Studios! The staff really made London feel like home.
London itself was amazing. I am not much of a city person, but I really loved living in central London. You live at a residence hall called Kings Cross Student Accommodations. The rooms are SMALL, but everything is in Europe! The building itself is very modern and really nice. There is also a gym in the building that I took advantage of every day. The location is really what is great about Kings Cross. By the name of it, you can probably predict that it is right near Kings Cross Station. Being near such a large station made transportation extremely easy. The IES academic building is only about a 20 minute walk or you can take the tube.
The academics were great and the professors were all very experienced and helpful in any way you may need it. Through the Health Practice and Policy program, you will take two HPP classes at the IES center as well as an elective course at the center. The classes are really interesting and the work is very manageable. One thing that I would suggest is to start working on things early! You will have your prompts for your final papers when you start the class. Start working on it as soon as you can (especially before Oxford starts) so that you are not stressed at the end of the semester. The other part of this program is a course at Oxford University. This is an 8 week program, so you will not go for the first month and a half or so, so take advantage of your three day weekends while you can! Oxford was a great opportunity and a cool experience. But I'll be honest, having to travel there and spend the day on Fridays was a little bit of a drag as it makes weekend travel a little bit harder. The course also requires a good amount of work. You will have about a 1500 word paper due each week so make sure you don't procrastinate! The class itself is pretty interesting but it certainly was not my favorite part about the program. Even with Oxford on Friday's, I was still about to travel to 7 different countries! One being Jamaica which you will go to at the end of the program. Jamaica was probably one of my favorite parts of the program. It is a really great opportunity and gives you a chance to really see first hand some of the things you have been learning about and see how the healthcare system works.
Overall, I really loved my semester abroad and would suggest it to anyone looking to study abroad. One thing that I would suggest is to travel around Europe, but also don't forget about London and other parts of England! Take advantage of all the opportunities you have and enjoy the time you have because the semester goes by so fast!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A well rounded program

I knew that if I graduated college without studying abroad I would regret it and once I experienced a semester at IES – Health Practice and Policy I knew I was right. Although stepping out of my comfort zone was a little daunting the staff in London was welcoming and allowed me to feel at home, in a completely different country. During my time abroad I not only discovered a new country, cultures and food but ultimately I rediscovered myself. One of the main reasons I loved my time abroad was because the program was so well rounded it allows my to engage in different things and shape my experience!

At the IES center in London I was able to take classes that were related to my major and counted for credit. What made studying abroad unique was having the ability to engage in topics of epidemiology, women’s history, social welfare, health and disease while walking and exploring the city. One of the highlights of the Health Practice and Policy was taking a class at Oxford.

Another aspect of the program that made it unique was the service learning component. While we learned in our classes we also had the ability to learn through our service learning placement. Through my service learning placement I was able to engage with individuals from different communities within London. I was also able to gain a deeper understanding and practice on how grants are obtained, monitored, and awarded. At the end of the semester we completed a new service placement in Jamaica, which had an immense impact on me both on a personal and professional level. While in Jamaica I was able to explore the culture and beautiful sight of Kingston but also observe different clinical settings and take classes at the University of the West Indies.

As if studying in London, having a service placement, and even traveling to Jamaica was not enough the program allows you to further shape your experience. Although you are focused on your course work the staff at IES London are really there to help with anything! They try to make sure to have all the resources you need to enjoy your time in London. One of those aspects involved traveling and activities. Throughout the semester the staff at the center planned different trips and activities. Some of the traveling I did with the center was visiting Bath, Stonehenge, and Oxford. On the other hand some of the activities I attended were soccer games and even visiting Harry Potter studios. Throughout my stay the staff also encouraged me to explore Europe and gave me different tips that made traveling easier.

The center allows you to shape your experience by allowing you to obtain a student ID from the University of London. By obtaining the ID you are able to join any club or intermural sport the university has. Through the center you are also able to apply for a program that allows you to do homestays with families in England. All these options allowed me and will allow you to shape your experience to what you find interesting and ultimately make London my home away from home.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    6

IES Health Practice and Policy Program: London, Oxford, and Jamaica

I could not be more grateful that I chose this program! It was the experience of a life time that included taking a class at one of the best university's in the world (Oxford), studying and service learning in London, and service learning in Jamaica. It was such a unique program as it involved learning about public health first hand in the UK and in Jamaica. I suggest that anyone interested in health or social welfare consider this study abroad program. IES is also a leader in providing study abroad experiences to students. I felt safe and supported every step of the way.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

An Amazing Experience!

Studying abroad through the IES Abroad London and Jamaica programs was one of the best decisions I have done in my life. I chose this program because I am a Public Health major and I am interested in learning about people's behavior and how different cultures deal with public health issues. This program was the right fit for me because the classes further my knowledge in public health, allowed me to take a class at Oxford, gain internship experience through a service learning portion of the program, and a week long hands on experience in Jamaica!

I would recommend this program to ALL public health majors. It is a great program to further your interest and provide different perspectives on what exactly you want to go into in Public Health. I also believe that if your not a bit interested in Public health you should not enroll in this program because it is very public health based. Psychology majors and other majors might not enjoy this program as much since its all public health.

London is a great location to study abroad. It's very a modern city so for those traveling from small towns, this will be a change of atmosphere! It also has a lot of history and culture. Its also very expensive since the currency is the pound sterling. Be sure to have some savings before going on this program as you will need money to enjoy all the city has to offer. Since I was on this program I will share some advice... take advantage of the free museums, free events and festivals held as well. Take advantage that you will also be in Europe, so travel to many places but also leave some room to enjoy London.

This program includes a Service Learning Placement and a course at Oxford University. The Service Learning Placement is another feature to this amazing program. I was at a homeless shelter and it really helped shaped my views of homeless people in London. I met people from all over and I was able to learn about their stories and tell them my story. My advice is to try to get a placement that fits you and your future goals. The course at Oxford has its ups and downs. On the plus side you will be able to say you took a class at the famous Oxford University as well as get a feel of what their teaching styles are. For example, like having a tutor (you'll learn all about this). Taking the course at Oxford was amazing but having class on Friday while everyone was out traveling was not fun. The long commute and waking up really early was also not fun. But again, this program is what you make of it so although Oxford has some negatives overall, it was a really valuable experience.

What I believe is the best cherry on top of this program is the one week ending in Kingston, Jamaica. The program attendees spend one week volunteering at health clinics and learning about the health system in Jamaica and the Caribbean. I must be honest and say that although I was in London for 3 months and Jamaica for only one week, this part was my favorite and what I believe to be the BEST part. The hands on experience and interactions with the culture, people, and the health systems is something I cannot put in words. Ill end with this.. if you want to have a public health adventure that includes taking a course at Oxford University, having hands on experience in London and Jamaica, all while studying abroad in one of Europe's best places, then I say this program is for YOU.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    9

One of the best things I've ever done

Studying abroad in London was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I chose this program because I wanted a program with a health focus. I want to be a physician assistant, and this program had numerous qualities that I thought would be helpful towards that endeavor. It's important to note that this program is focused on public health. I found this to be interesting because, as a biology major, I had never really been exposed to different healthcare systems and other public health topics. The classes I took were Social Welfare Policy, Comparative Healthcare Systems, Health and Disease (the Oxford class, which was basically an epidemiology course), and Architecture as an elective. The two IES Health Practice and Policy classes (Social Welfare and Comparative Healthcare) were good, and should be even better in the future since they are working on better coordinating the course curriculums to provide a more cohesive program structure. The Health and Disease course was also okay, but the long commute every Friday was a bit of a bear. I absolutely loved Architecture as my elective course, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to see as much of London as possible.

As part of the Social Welfare Policy class, I had an internship/service placement at a breast cancer charity in London. While I was hoping for a placement that allowed me a little more clinical patient contact, I was still able to interact with patients in the office which was nice.

Overall, living in London is absolutely incredible. I'm from the Midwest and had never lived in a cosmopolitan city like London before. Not only is London one of the most iconic cities in the world, but there are also amazing cultural opportunities that can't be found anywhere else. I discovered a love for theatre and art that I didn't know I had before. Everything from seeing Van Gogh's self portrait at the Somerset House to winning discount tickets to The Book of Mormon created an amazing experience I will never forget. The residence hall, Nido, is located just a few blocks from King's Cross Station, which means it is super easy to get around to any part of the city. The Nido dorms are pretty standard dorms, but you get a private bathroom shared with a roommate and there is a kitchen on each floor that can be used to make your own food. IES also offers a lot of events to see more of London, like a walking tour of London including riding the London Eye, a boat trip to Greenwich, an authentic football match, and a tour of Harry Potter Studios which you can participate in if you're interested. There are also field trips around England and the surrounding areas; for example, I went on a trip to Stonehenge, Bath, Salisbury, and Cambridge thanks to IES and their subsidized field trips.

At the end of the program, we went on a ten-day field study in Kingston, Jamaica. This was the part of the program with the most clinical components, which I really enjoyed. Observing in the clinics was really interesting, and we saw everything from standard check-ins (blood pressure, vitals, urinalysis, etc) to postnatal exams (6 week old babies getting check ups) and wound dressings. We also had some interesting lectures at the University of the West Indies School of Nursing, where we learned about the history of nursing in Jamaica as well as the role of natural and holistic healing to the healthcare culture. Please keep in mind that Kingston is a lot different than London. There was a significant amount of street harassment, etc, that would occur whenever we went into the city. I was kind of unprepared for that, and it was very uncomfortable when in a contained area like the clinic where it was hard to get away from harassing people. However, we always travelled in groups and so there was never any real safety concern.

Overall, I learned so much over the course of this semester, and I recommend this program to people who have an interest in healthcare--especially those interested in a public health perspective.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Great study abroad program for those interested in global health

I absolutely loved my time abroad through this program. The program staff were kind, friendly, and always there for the students. I made amazing friends that I hope to keep for the rest of my life, and saw things that I never could have imagined getting to see in my normal life as a Midwestern college student.
There were a few kinks to the program. The semester I went, the program had just switched out the professors teaching the core courses, which lead to a little bit of a learning curve for everyone as they stepped into their roles. By the end of the semester, they were great. Another kink was the Oxford course. While it was a great experience and I will always be proud to say that I was an Oxford student (even if it was on a technicality), the travel to and from Oxford took far more time than the class itself and limited weekend travel.
Otherwise, the time you have to spend in class and working on class is what I imagine to be entirely normal for study abroad programs. There was work and there was learning, but there was also plenty of time to go have adventures on my own. I also took advantage of all of the offered field trips through the program, all of which allowed me to see a ton of London with minimal cost and planning, which was amazing.
The Jamaica portion of the trip was an adventure. There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and following a large Jamaican man around Kingston for two weeks is one of them. By the end of the 10 days we had, I felt like I truly got to know everyone on my program, as well as got the chance to experience an entirely new side to health care from any I had seen before.
Overall, I would recommend this program to anyone who is interested in global health, public health, or health administration. It's a ton of fun, you learn a lot about the world and yourself, and the program staff and city just cannot be beat.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

my London experience

After living in London for 4 months I can definitely say that I am completely in love with the city. It is full of life and amazing experiences are just around the corner at any time. There are infinite things to do and enjoy in London. University College London is also a great place to study at, the classes I took there were very interesting and interactive, and the professors very helpful and dedicated. Overall my abroad experience was amazing and I highly recommend everyone to try it.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Good study abroad program, but difficulty travelling

This program was amazing. The staff at IES Abroad London are amazing and get to know their students very well. They host a lot of events and create many opportunities for students to get to know each other. The Health program is very geared towards public health students, but students from all backgrounds can benefit from the classes. The Jamaica portion of the program was an unexpected adventure and really adds to the abroad experience. Overall, the program was fantastic. The only drawbacks are the class schedule which limit travelling on weekends and the living situation. Nido is not the best student residence but it has all basic necessities.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    4

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    4

Enlightening, Enrichening and Eye-Opening

This may sound cliché, but I’m being completely sincere when I say that study abroad was a truly enriching, eye-opening, and transformative experience that allowed me to not only discover more about myself but gain worldly perspectives. I was not only able to explore London culturally but also take classes at the prestigious University of Oxford, where I was challenged to think beyond what I've been taught and excel academically.
I'm not even sure where to begin, but let's start with the academic aspects: students aren't really given a choice in choosing their classes for the Health, Practice and Policy program mainly because it's already a highly specialized program that is focused more on the health aspects. This makes this program perfect for anyone already with a major in public health, pre-med, biology, psychology, etc. but definitely not for those who simply are interested in it. Yes, you can join the program as a non-health related student, but you will find it difficult to get used to the materials because the classes are highly discussion/reading/current-event based rather than being focused on a problem-solving base. The professors were excellent, passionate and knowledgeable in their fields, making the classes very open to thought-provoking discussion. 3 of the classes students take in London and 1 other at Oxford (+ a discussion tutor session at Oxford) but all of them are different from American-style classes in that they aren't very lecture-based but more focused on communication, discussion and group learning. I thoroughly enjoyed all the Oxford lecture sessions, although Oxford itself (and the professors) are very overwhelming at first. Further, our experience at Oxford was difficult because of the sheer amount of work and high expectations expected (which is something I expected being that it's Oxford University...) but it definitely took a lot of effort and persistence to stay on top of everything.

My service learning placement was a very unique and enjoyable aspect of the program. I worked with an organization that works toward helping the homeless population, and it was an extremely humbling and rewarding experience to say that I was making a difference in another country through the small work I was doing. Other students were matched with other organizations that were not just social service/volunteer based but also towards the medical field, etc. and IES does a good job of matching students to service learning placements for an extra learning, growth and immersion. That being said, 8 hours of service a week definitely added to the stressful workload of HPP program students. A lot of times, most of us were doing homework, essays, or doing service that we didn't have time to enjoy the culture or travel as much as students in other programs may have. Nonetheless, this doesn't mean we have absolutely no time at all - it's mostly about how one manages their time and how ambitious they get with what they want to do, see, or travel.
In fact, even with all the stress and sleepless nights, I still managed to plan and travel to Spain and Scotland, two places that I absolutely loved. It's a matter of what YOU want and how you make that desire happen even with all the obstacles you'll face.

Lastly, Jamaica was probably the best part about the program. This is where you really get to bond with some of your professors/IES staff who tag along and truly immerse yourself in the culture. The people are kind, the settings are beautiful, and the work that you do at clinics and at the Missionaries of the Poor... it's a priceless experience. It's a short week full of cultural immersion, learning, and working but it will, without a doubt, be the most wonderful and rewarding week of your life.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    7

Best of Times in London, Oxford, and Kingston, Jamaica

My study abroad experience in the Health Practice and Policy program was great. All of my professors were very qualified and experienced in the subjects that they taught me. I had a Study London course that was taught by an Oxford lecturer who regularly explored European politics in his research. For my three HPP courses, I felt that I received up to date information on health systems, social welfare policy, and health and disease. My Health systems course looked at health systems not only in Europe but also in Asia and Africa. I thought that made the course very comprehensive. My professor for that class was a global health lawyer who helps to craft global health policy for the World Health Organization. For my social welfare policy class, one of the two professors worked for Parliament and researched the effects of specific social inequalities in different groups. The second professor for the course was a lawyer who regularly protested for and represented disadvantaged clients. The health and disease course was at the Institute of Human Sciences at the University of Oxford. Every week, an expert in a different field of public health gave a lecture about different public health concepts like bioethics, research bias, and more. We created a hypothetical public health intervention for the final presentation. It trained me to consider a wide variety of complex related issues when trying to put an intervention together. My service learning placement, was related to my field of interest, epidemiology. I volunteered at a Healthwatch organization and contributed to improving the health of the people in Tower Hamlets. Outside of academics, there were so many things to do every week. I visited other countries and the IES Abroad staff gave me advice on places to visit before I left. I always felt safe in London. When I went to Jamaica, for the final part of the program, I did not know what to expect. I learned about Jamaican health policy, nursing education in Jamaica, and the Pan-American Health Organization’s work with the University of the West Indies’ School of Nursing. I appreciated shadowing nurses in health clinics and learning about Jamaican health policy issues firsthand. It was so much fun and I would have done it again.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    7

Great Independent Learning Program

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in London through IES Abroad. I ultimately chose this program because of the classes I would be taking. As a public health major interested in global health policy, the classes corresponded wonderfully to my academic goals and allowed me further explore possible career opportunities in social services and public health.

That being said, I would only recommend this program if you are sure what you want to study and what you want to get out of this program. I loved that it involved a lot of independent learning - I got to self-direct my learning in my courses. If I wanted to focus more on understanding past international health laws, I could choose to do more reading about that and get really great answers out of my professor. If I wanted to understand how international actors get involved in health policy, I could choose to focus on that. The teachers do their best to teach you what YOU want to learn. That was true in all of my classes. So, if you are unsure of what you want to learn, you might find yourself a bit lost in this program. However, if you know what you want to learn, you can really get a lot out of this program.

London is a great location to study abroad. It's a very modern city, but like many European cities, has lots of history and culture. As this is a very independent program, you get what you want out of the cultural experience. If you leave the country every weekend to explore the nearby European countries, you won't have as much time to absorb the rich culture of London itself. I loved being able to take advantage of the free museums and late night events offered. IES also has a wide selection of field trips on the weekends, which really helped me explore more of the English countryside and cities farther away.

This program includes a course at Oxford University as well as a Service Learning Placement. The course at Oxford is what you make of it. There are positives and negatives, for example, the long commute to get there every Friday morning. However, Oxford is a beautiful little town and I really enjoyed walking around with my friends after class. The Service Learning Placement is also what you make of it. The staff at IES try to place you with an organization that you have interests in, but it's not always perfect. You just have to remember that this is just another experience, and take advantage of the opportunities. I loved my placement and made some great British friends.

Finally, the program ends in Kingston, Jamaica. We spent about a week there volunteering at health clinics and learning about the health system in Jamaica and the Caribbean. I will say that I probably learned more in Jamaica than I did in London the past 3 months. It was a great way to end the program and I am infinitely thankful for the experience in Jamaica.