Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. Attribution Serge Melki at flickr.com

With spring break just around the corner, Tech students are anxious for the much-needed chance to blow off steam. Many are getting ready to relax and celebrate the fact that they can do nothing for a whole week.

For those students who are bold and wanting to try a completely new experience, the CRC is offering a scuba diving trip to the Bahamas, the third annual trip of its kind. The diving adventure is put on by a partnership between the CRC and the Division of Professional Practice.

The trip will be led by Debbie Dorsey, the Director of Administration of Students, and Jim Consuegra, the director of GT Scuba.

“Scuba diving has been a part of Tech for 20 years. A few years ago, the CRC wanted to make the program a little more formal,” Consuegra said.

“It’s really like what you see in the movies.”

As a certified scuba diving instructor, Consuegra has been involved with teaching and qualifying students and faculty who want to learn scuba diving on Tech’s campus. The teaching program began 4 years ago, with 600 students successfully passing through.

“Because the interest in this program was so great, we were going to sponsor a spring break trip. To go somewhere internationally is also tied into the global experience that we try to promote,” Consuegra said.

The first two trips to Cozumel, Mexico were met with tremendous success in terms of experience that the students gained from them.
Sarah Watson is a recent alumni of Tech who went on both of the previous trips as a student and is returning this year, which speaks to the alumni connection the program has as well.

“I went on that trip not really knowing anyone else, but by the end of the trip, I had made some great new friends that I still keep in contact with and plan small diving trips with, even after graduation,” Watson said.

“It is a cultural experience.”

Watson went on the first trip to gain advanced diving certification, which was made possible by qualifications that students can get from instruction at Tech.

Before going on the trip, students are briefed about the area they will be traveling to, the culture and the people. It is an immersive, educational experience that the chaperones want participants to be cognizant of.

Chaperones also make sure students are comfortable with each other and the new environment where they will be living.

“The first day of the trip, we have a trivia night to learn about the history and introduce people to each other, to make for a more comfortable atmosphere,” Dorsey said. “We work with the locals, who see the excitement of the students. It’s a cultural experience.”

“I went on the trip last year because scuba diving had always been on my bucket list, and the best, cheapest time to learn how to scuba dive is in college through Georgia Tech,” said Jason Ye, a student who participated in the Cozumel trip last spring. “Scuba diving immersed me in this fascinating, underwater world. You’re face to face with huge fish and turtles, swimming through large expanse of reefs in this calm, surreal experience.”

The scuba diving instruction program at Tech is very well recognized, and was directly contacted by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors to associate themselves with Tech’s program.

Both divers and non-divers can go on the trip, which costs $1150 and $818, respectively, for Tech students. The trip is all-inclusive, and Tech provides diving equipment.

“We want to make it an affordable experience for the value it presents,” said Dorsey.

Previous trips included cenote, or cavern diving, and a beach resort stay, diving in both freshwater and saltwater environments. This year, Nassau was chosen because of its world-recognized scuba facilities, including crystal clear waters, calm seas and coral reefs.
“It really is like what you see in the movies,” Consuegra said.