I have always had a passion for the ocean and getting the opportunity to experience the ocean one-on-one for 80 days was an opportunity I could not pass up. Due to me, planning on playing division one athletics, I knew that if I wanted to study abroad I would have to do it in high school. Sea|Mester was one of the only programs willing to work with me and let me join their college program while still being in high school.
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Sea|Mester was extremely willing to help with any questions or advice leading up to the voyage. I participated in my voyage while I was still in high school, so I worked with both the program and my school counselor to make sure I was covered for credits to be able to graduate when I returned. I booked my flights and transportation to and from the boat primarily by myself; they gave me advice and counseled me through the process.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
It does not matter if you have never been on a boat or have never experienced half the things you will on this trip because they will teach you everything.
If you have never spent an extended amount of time on a boat or been to a sleep-away summer camp, there are a few things to note about your new living arrangement. First, pack the necessities, space on vessels is limited and if you have to much stuff there will not be space for it. My tip for this is packing cubes. They keep everything organized and in order. Your life aboard will be significantly better with them, I promise.
My next point is living on a boat brings roommates to a whole new level. It is extremely hard to find space for yourself - you get close with everyone and it becomes a part of day-to-day life. Just embrace it.
My last thing is that it will be the time of your life, and just to soak up every second, there might be times where you are exhausted and just want to sleep, but don’t: go explore - you won’t regret it.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
There is not a day that is the same: every day will bring new places and experiences.
With that being said, there are a few types of days that we would likely have. The first would be passage; this would be when you are sailing to a new location and the whole day/s would be dedicated to sailing.
The next day would be an excursion day, which would be something along the lines of a class in the morning after breakfast then leave the boat to do the activity. Then come back eat dinner and have another class.
The third type of day would be a scuba day. This would consist of 2-ish dives at different sites as well as a couple of classes in-between dives.
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 going into this whole experience was probably in regards to my age. I had never taken a college class, let alone taking it without resources such as the internet.
I worked closely with the professors to help me get on track and perform at the college level. I had to learn how to write scientifically and write at the college level. Luckily, everyone was super helpful and willing to help me through the process.
How were classes different on the boat vs. a normal college class?
Going into any semester of school is stressful, let alone while doing it in the middle of the ocean. The thing that I enjoyed the most was that it was extremely hands-on. Everything we were learning in the classroom could be directly applied when you came up on deck. Lectures were extremely important because it truly was the only source you had to study off of. Which in a way made it nice because there were really no surprises when it came to the tests.