Semester at Sea


Semester at Sea began at Chapman University in the 60s, but the program was called "University of the Seven Seas." On that first voyage, 275 students set sail for 22 ports around the world aboard the MS Seven Seas to begin a tradition of shipboard education that continues to this day. The University of Virginia has been our academic sponsor since 2006 and we've had our current ship, the MV Explorer, since 2004. We've had many people take the lead over over the years - Bill Hughes, C.Y. Tung, Dr. M.A. Griffiths to name a few, although there have been many amazing people that have helped keep our program "afloat!"

Semester at Sea students on ship

Programs from Semester at Sea

  • Multiple Countries
    This is an awesome program for those who do not get seasick and have the travel bug! Explore multiple countries around the...
    128 reviews

Program Reviews

  • Isaiah
    Age: 25-30
    Orinda, CA
    Chapman University
    SAS Sets a Course for Global Citizenship

    Deciding to sail with Semester at Sea as a junior in college was one of the most important decisions of my life. I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking to study abroad on a global scale.

    The experience of SAS is cyclical yet it also has forward momentum. Several days at sea will be followed by 4-5 days in port. Sea days are highly structured with classes and pre-port presentations that prepare you for the upcoming country visit. Days on land are unstructured and can be spent on program-sponsored or self-arranged activities. There are countless opportunities to connect with local people and projects, and to explore the natural beauty of each country. Even though our time in each port was brief, the overall experience of Semester at Sea was rich, impactful, and complete - more than the sum of its parts.

    Semester at Sea gave me a glimpse of what it means to be a global citizen. It provided me with a unique platform for exploring the world and understanding the relationships between cultures. If you approach your voyage in a conscientious and open way, it will provide you with a truly global perspective and a lifetime of inspiration!

    (I mainly documented my experience through audio recordings rather than pictures and video. You can listen to a musical collage of my favorite recordings here: )

    How could this program be improved?

    There is a missed opportunity for guided reflection by the ship's community leaders. Post-country reflection is usually done through casual conversation or solo writing, and I wish that there had been more intentional community building through discussion and reflection after each country. I've heard that some voyages do include guided reflection activities, but this is dependent on the individual voyage staff and not standardized across voyages.

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 5 Inspiring: 0
  • Aubrey
    Age: 19-24
    Greeley, Colorado
    University of Northern Colorado
    The ship that became family in just 4 months

    The best part about SAS was the community on the ship. The people were so amazing. It was so fun to be able to share with them and have open conversations about anything and everything. Everyone was so friendly and excited to learn about the world and other peoples cultures and points of view. That was the most amazing part of the trip for me. I learned just as much about myself as I did the world while traveling around it. It was a trip of discovery and way too much fun!

    How could this program be improved?

    It honestly was perfect to me. I wouldn't change a single thing.

    Video Review:
    Welcome to Semester at Sea!
    Was this review...?
    Useful: 2 Inspiring: 0
  • Ashley
    Age: 19-24
    Portland, OR
    University of Oregon
    Recommended for Everyone

    This program changed my life more than anything else I have ever experience. Almost very day at sea is a "school day" but you don't have classes when in port. I would give practically anything to go again.

    How could this program be improved?

    Food on the ship is mediocre but the voyage makes it well worth it. You can eat AMAZING food in port.

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 10 Inspiring: 5
  • Patrick
    Age: 19-24
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Oregon State University
    Semester at Sea - There's no place I'd rather be!

    I had the pleasure of attending the Summer '13 trip around the Mediterranean. The program gave me the opportunity to meet people I wouldn't have been able to meet otherwise, and has taught me lessons in life that I hold on to to this day. It was the greatest decision of my life. The classes are fun, the Ship's activities and staff are the best, and the memories the trip created are some that I can recall like I was there yesterday. Don't just think about going on it, actually do it. As Homer put it, "The journey is the thing", and it's a journey that will stay with you forever. Take the opportunity to do the program, because you might regret it if you don't.

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 1 Inspiring: 4
  • Beth
    Age: 25-30
    Denton, TX
    Texas Woman's University
    Best Experience of My Life!

    I traveled with SAS during the summer of 2013 and it was the best summer of my life! The classes were incredible, the ship was great, the friends I made are forever friends, and the experience was truly once in a lifetime!

    Was this review...?
    Useful: 2 Inspiring: 1
View All Reviews