Alumni Spotlight: Alex Greenberger

Why did you choose this program?

I had known about SeaMester for a while because of doing Action Quest. I was always interested but was planning on doing another diving program instead of the ocean crossing. In the spring, after I was already signed up for the other program, I got a letter in the mail explaining that there were a few spots open on Argo for the summer transatlantic voyage. I figured this was such a rare and unique opportunity that I just could not say no.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The main thing I dealt with on my own was booking flights. There are people who are happy to help with finding flights that will work for you, but they do no simply do it for you.

Once I got down to the Virgin Islands, there was transportation organized for the kids arriving at the airport to get to West End on the island of Tortola. This was quite helpful.

The suggested packing list was also very helpful. It lists everything you will need- try not to pack too heavy though.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Be open-minded and get excited about everything. There will be things that seem scary or daunting, but make a point of not letting them get to you. I had done sailing before, I had lived on boats, but I was nervous about being all the way out in the middle of the ocean. The oceans are so huge and powerful, but I ended up appreciating it in a crazy way.

There can't be many better places to think or contemplate life than out on the water with nothing but waves on the horizon. Take the time to appreciate everything and make friends with people you might not normally get to know.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Especially for the first couple of weeks, before you are near any type of land, things can get repetitive.

You go through cooking and eating meals together, watch rotations, getting to know people, some classes and getting sleep when you can. It is such an adventure, though. You learn about the world as well as yourself. Then, once you get across the Atlantic and begin to visit different ports, there are so many cultures and beautiful places to take in and explore. Make the most of every little (and big) thing.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was probably of being on a boat at the mercy of the gigantic ocean. Getting to truly be out in the world, away from civilization, is such a rare and unique experience for most people. It is intimidating but also liberating. It expands your view and appreciation for the world we all live in.

Do not be afraid to get way out of your comfort zone - jump at the opportunity to do so.

Is there any other advice for prospective travelers?

A major question is always about what it will be like to live with random people, especially in such close quarters. My advice would be to try not to worry about it. Just don't overthink. There will be people who you become fast friends with, those who you get to know well over time and maybe some who you are just friendly acquaintances with. The important thing is that you keep an open mind and embrace the opportunity to spend time with people from different places and cultures.