Posts Tagged With: travel

Semester at Sea: 115 Days, 17 Cities, 15 Countries

While searching for colleges during my high school years, one of my main questions during campus visits was, “What options do you offer for studying abroad?” At most schools I received a satisfying answer complete with examples of numerous students who studied in any given country where they emerged themselves in the culture while taking fascinating classes. Filled with excitement at their traveling accomplishments, I always wondered where I would decide to study abroad once it was my time. However, I was under the impression that I had to choose ONE country. That was before I knew that Semester at Sea existed.    

Once my friends and I learned more about the SAS Program, we were sold. It didn’t take long for us to finish our applications and eventually receive our letters of acceptance. From that point on, we’ve been preparing for TOMORROW: the day we board the MV Explorer. We can assure you that it wasn’t an easy process (applying for visas, getting vaccines, filling out forms, paying for expenses, exchanging currency, and packing up our lives into two suitcases to use for the next four months). But, we’re convinced that this program will be worth all the stress, planning, money, and anticipation.

Why do we think that? One major reason is the list of countries to which we’ll be traveling:

  • ¨       Southampton (London), England
  • ¨       St. Petersburg, Russia
  • ¨       Hamburg, Germany
  • ¨       Antwerp, Belgium
  • ¨       Le Havre, France
  • ¨       Dublin, Ireland
  • ¨       Libson, Portugal
  • ¨       Cadiz, Spain
  • ¨       Casablanca, Morocco
  • ¨       Takoradi, Ghana
  • ¨       Tema (Accra), Ghana
  • ¨       Cape Town, South Africa
  • ¨       Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • ¨       Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • ¨       Salvador, Brazil
  • ¨       Havana, Cuba
  • ¨       Fort Lauderdale, Florida USA

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We couldn’t have asked for a better itinerary for the Fall 2013: Atlantic Exploration (50th Anniversary Voyage!). This journey covers more ground than I ever thought was possible to do in a semester, yet from August 24 to December 16, 2013, we’ll be seeing places I’ve only ever visited in my dreams.

Tomorrow, my dream ends and reality begins. My friends and I will board our “floating campus” and start a voyage of a lifetime. The MV Explorer, or our “floating campus,” includes the basics that any college campus on land has: classrooms, a cafeteria, a library, a gym, a bookstore, and much more. However, our schedule will be exceedingly different from the usual five classes taken during a 5-day weekly schedule at most college campuses. On the ship, all SAS students are required to take four classes that alternate on a 2-day schedule for every day at sea (except for the occasional study day).  Once the ship reaches a port, all students have free time to explore or participate in field programs and to have fun in a new location.

The four classes that I will be taking are: Journalism History and Ethics (for my minor), Global Music, Gender and Society, and International Marketing (for my major). Each of these courses’ materials relates to the port cities and/or countries on our itinerary and includes one field lab in one of the aforementioned stops.

It’s these details and many more that have amounted to the pure excitement that my friends and I, as well as a few other hundred students, have been looking forward to for quite some time. I’m sure I’m speaking for most people when I say I’m ecstatic, nervous, mostly prepared but at the same time not at all sure what to expect. Tomorrow, all that will change as my friends and I will finally begin this globetrotting adventure. Wish us luck! 🙂

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Wanderlust (n.) – a strong or irresistible desire to travel

Confession: I have a severe case of wanderlust. I long to roam the world, meet new people, enrich myself in diverse cultures, and bask in the beauty of countless landscapes. This is not a recent desire of mine; it’s a feeling that I’ve had my entire life. In fact, it is my lifelong dream to travel as much as I can to anywhere possible. However, as much as I would love to spontaneously pack my bags and go wherever, there is a great deal of committed preparation, a long list of expenses and some hardcore planning that goes into traveling. With that being said, in all honesty I have not gotten very far in achieving my globetrotting goal. In fact, at age 20 I’ve only journeyed outside of the U.S. on three occasions!

The first time was when my family made a relaxing fishing trip to Canada. The only problem with this trip was that it happened when I was a baby, so I was much too young to remember any of it…

The second time was when three of my best friends and I spent our spring break in Ottawa, Canada.  Despite the bitter cold, we managed to have the time of our lives. We found some awesome nightclubs, bars, restaurants and even spent one evening in a casino. We met some interesting characters and definitely had our share of hilarious, strange and startling situations – all of which we will never forget. I would list them all for nostalgia purposes, but at this point they’re basically inside jokes so I will spare you the confusion.

My most recent excursion outside of the U.S. was last summer when I participated in the Rome Travel Course at Pace. I don’t know if I can even begin to explain how much of an amazing learning experience this was for me (especially considering that the final paper I handed in for the course was 40 pages total…what?! I had a lot of questions to answer…okay you’re right it was excessively long). BUT, I do now know the city of Rome almost as well as I know NEPA (Northeastern Pennsylvania for those of you who are not familiar with the area in which I was born and raised) AND I can now say that I have seen all the essential Ancient Roman monuments and then some, became a pasta and gelato glutton, visited more Catholic churches than I ever thought was possible (including the jaw-droppingly-beautiful St. Peter’s  Cathedral), and haggled for the first time at a leather market in Florence for my all-time favorite bright green tote bag.

So what am I blabbing on about? All you have to know from this post is exactly what my first sentence said: I have a severe case of wanderlust. Only now, you should have a little insight into how true that statement is. Yes, I’ve already seen some remarkable places and experienced once in a lifetime opportunities, all for which I am eternally grateful. Nevertheless, both times that I’ve reached the end of an expedition, my wanderlust struck again.  The more I travel, the greedier I become: take me here, send me there, show me this, I want to see that! Will it ever end? I sincerely hope not. My travels are what this blog is about, so trust me when I say that this is only an introduction. In fact, you should probably prepare yourself because I am absolutely certain that there are an abundance of travel stories to come.  

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