One of the best things about studying abroad is the opportunity to travel to nearby cities and countries during school breaks. For international students who are also certified scuba divers, a semester abroad can be the perfect opportunity to visit new diving destinations you might otherwise never see. Here’s a list of great places to consider while you’re planning your side trips for the semester or school year.
Divers studying in Asia will enjoy a visit to the wreck of the USS Liberty, located near the coast of Tulamben. The Liberty was hit by a Japanese torpedo during World War II, after which it was towed to Bali and spent 42 years on the beach.
In 1963, the Gunung Agung Volcano erupted and pushed the wreck out to sea, where it sank into black sand just off the coast. This is a relatively easy dive and therefore good for beginners; keep an eye out for garden eels, large schools of fish and hammerhead sharks.
Surin Islands, Thailand
Divers flock to this island in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand to pay a visit Richelieu Rock. This spot is famous for its whale sharks, and in fact this is one of the places in the world where you’ll be most likely to swim alongside the gentle shark species during a dive. You’ll also see other species of marine life, like dogtooth tuna.
The Land Down Under is a popular destination for international students; likewise, the wreck of the SS Yongala is a popular destination for divers. The ship sank off the coast of Queensland in 1911 and was discovered in the ‘50s; dive here for the opportunity to check out the spooky ship and to see the rare bull sharks and manta rays that make their homes in the wreck today.
You’ll have a lot of items to tick off your list before you leave for your time abroad. First, you have to decide if you’ll bring your own dive kit with you or if you’ll rent once you arrive. If you decide to pack your own diving supplies, weigh them before you leave for the airport to avoid—or at least be prepared for—excess weight baggage fees. On the other hand, if you decide to rent diving supplies upon your arrival, factor that fee into the overall cost of your trip when you’re still in the planning stages. And it goes without saying that it’s crucial to check to make sure the equipment you rent is safe and in good condition.
As far as other safety considerations go, it’s a good idea to pack a first-aid kit in your carry-on for emergencies. Always dive with a partner, and tell someone back on land where you’re going and when you’ll be back. And consider purchasing international student health insurance to ensure medical coverage should something go wrong during your dive—or at any other time during your semester or year abroad.
Depending on where you study, your semester abroad provides a rare opportunity to pursue your passions for diving and travel while also continuing to pursue your studies. Take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience by incorporating a dive trip or two into your international study experience. The above destinations are a great jumping-off point for the numerous possibilities open to you, so do your research and make your diving plans now.