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
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! 🙂