Big Blue Island Diving School on Kohtau Island, Thailand
HOW OPPORTUNITY WAS FOUND:
I've always wanted to learn how to scuba dive, and Thailand is known to have cheap, safe diving. I had one week left out of the planned 6 weeks in Southeast Asia, and I looked into Big Blue Island Diving School, because other travelers that I'd come across suggested this one school.
LENGTH: 10.5 weeks
MINIMUM LENGTH REQUIRED: 4 days for “Open Water Certification"; for the next advanced level, another 2 days; for dive master, 6 weeks is recommended, but you can do it for longer if you want.
LOCATION: Kohtau Island, Thailand
PERSONAL GROWTH: ★★★★★
DAY-TO-DAY LIFE (FIRST TWO WEEKS OF THE DIVE MASTER PROGRAM):
- 8:00/9:00am: Start classes, learn every bit of diving, including ways to navigate the dive site with a compass and the physics behind diving
- 12:30pm: Lunch break
- -3:00pm: Class
- 3:00pm~: Free time
DAY-TO-DAY LIFE (AFTER FIRST TWO WEEKS OF THE DIVE MASTER PROGRAM):
- Pretty much on your own schedule, but tried to dive as much as possible. Can dive up to 4 times a day
- 6:30am-11:00am: First boat takes you out to sea, and you can practice diving/leading with other diving trainees
- 12:30pm-5:00pm: Second boat takes you out to sea, and you can practice diving/leading with other diving trainees*
*Can take both boats out if you wish
DESCRIPTION OF WORK/ACTIVITIES DONE:
Snorkeling, scuba diving, go to the beach, sneak into an infinity pool at a resort
- Free accommodation in a dorm room during the "Open Water Certification" program and the next level program
1. Book a one way flight! You will want to stay longer.
2. Have a very open itinerary; plan loosely, but don’t have a concrete set amount to be at a place.
3. Try to meet as many people as possible.
MOST MEANINGFUL LESSON TAKEN AWAY:
- It's very important to be respectful towards different cultures’ choices in daily lives; different countries have different opinions on what a healthy lifestyle is. For example, many people in Thailand did not ever wear sunscreen--even if it was very hot--because of the chemicals in the lotion. I didn't really get it at first, and always wore sunscreen; but that's their choice, and you have to respect it.
- American colleges are ridiculously expensive. You can still get a great education for half the price in another country.
- As Americans, we kind of come off as being arrogant by seeming to know everything; that's how many foreigners view us.