Upon entering into the college world, there are many events, programs, and lectures advising students to study or intern abroad. There are so many programs offering the same general experience: learn a new language, immerse in a different culture and develop a greater world perspective. The experience sets you above your peers when entering into the job market.
There are so many agencies and programs out there, going through each program can be difficult. Maybe you have a few countries in mind that you want to go but cannot ultimately decide. What if I told you, instead of one you could go to TWELVE? Why choose right?
There is a program out there that sits above the rest. Or maybe I am biased, but all of my friends who have studied abroad all have the same response… “You did that?”
Actually, my friends, I did.
I am from the south, and before my experience I had never really been out of the south. But I flew to San Diego to aboard a small cruise vessel called the MV Explorer that became my new home over the next 4 months. I set sail on the voyage of a lifetime, never looking back.
The three words that changed my life forever: Semester at Sea.
It is a multi-country program over a 100-day journey on a shipboard campus that offers interdisciplinary coursework in 25 different fields of study that allows for an experiential, comparative education that is truly global.
In simplified terms… For four months, you sail the ocean blue across four continents to 12-15 countries all while earning up to 15 university accredited credit hours that applies toward your degree whether it is business, medical, environmental, political, or social.
It was the best decision I ever made and here is why:
It’s a Suite Life on Deck
The program brags that it is the “coolest campus on Earth” and rightfully so! The seven deck, 590 square foot vessel housed about 600+ students featuring a gym, pool, library, spa, and a beautiful view of the sunrise/sunset over the vast ocean.
Waking up in a New Country Every Week
Words can not really describe what it is like to go to sleep and wake up pulling into a new port. Mostly excited because it has been a while since you last saw land, however, seeing the locals welcome you into their country gives you chills and butterflies of excitement that you are about to experience a completely new and incredible location.
That extraordinary week makes it so hard to leave, until you spot land the next time..
The Shipboard Community Becomes Your Second Family
No Joke. Back at my home university, I may have been close to about 10-15 students mostly that I had taken a class with, had lunch, or knew before from my high school days. But I am nowhere near as connected as my SAS-hole family of 600+ students and over 50 years of alumni. What we went through over the four months is so hard to describe and only my fellow voyagers understand. While at sea, we battled in the Sea Olympics, earn our Shellback honor during the Neptune Day Equator Crossing ceremony, and cared for each other as we fought seasickness and travelers’ diarrhea.
Study in the Middle of the Ocean
Calm and serene is about the most perfect place to study. Why sit in a boring over crowded classroom, where the expensive textbooks are an unrealtive bunch of boring words and the professor has no clue who you are? Sit on the deck, soak up the sun, and on some days you can spot a pack of dolphins riding the waves or a whale peaking out of the water for a breath.
Discovering a Sense of Who You Are
I would never have imagined that I would jump in a cage in the freezing cold waters of the Indian Ocean and see a large Great White with jaws wide open as it attacks the fish guts a few feet in front of me. I never imagined that I would belly dance at a night bar in front of a crowd of people in Marrakech. I never thought I would try random street food in the busy city streets or cross the busiest intersection in the world in the Shibuya district of Japan. Every day challenged me out of my comfort zone. Between the language barriers, new customs, getting around the cities, new foods, and adventurous sports, I learned that “anything goes” because you can never be prepared for what the day might offer.
Semester at Sea is like no other study abroad program. Join the family and see for yourself. I promise it will be one you will never regret!
Come see what the world has to teach you. For more information you can visit http://www.semesteratsea.org.