Alumni Spotlight: Christian Novak


Why did you choose this program?

I choose Seamester because I wanted to get back into sailing. I did it throughout middle and high school. Maybe I watched too many movies, but I also had an obsession with pirates. Seamester is a very unique program there really is nothing like it. It was my first time out of the United States and I visited places I had no idea existed. Plus I became the 4th person in my family to go through the Panama Canal.

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

Seamester assists you with almost everything. They help you with flights and give a pretty detailed list of things you'd want to bring with you. Pretty much you were responsible for was getting yourself there, but they help you every step of the way.

I also learned about Seamester through a friend who completed it a year prior and told me I would love it.

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

Explore as much as you can when you have shore time. Each country or new island we visited you have time to go off and explore. Many of us looked for places with wifi so we could reconnect with friends and family back home. Use this time to really disconnect from your phone and especially social media. And really only use your phone to take photos and videos.

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

Every day is different. Yes, you do some of the same things daily like class. But you're always learning something new and the views were different each and every day. A typical day depended on your watch schedule and if we were underway or anchored at a place we would be at for a few days. Seamester really opened my eyes to what you can do in a 24 hour day.

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

A week before I was supposed to set sail, my lung unexpectedly collapsed. While I was in the hospital, I was devastated that I might not be able to go on my voyage and would have to wait until the next trip. Luckily, I made a fast recovery and despite what my doctors said I got on a plane and flew down to the Caribbean.

My biggest fear was that my lung might have collapsed again and I skipped out on a few activities in fear of that. Also, the fact that we were on a sailboat sometimes in very remote locations was always a worrying thought of mine. After I completed the 8-mile boiling lake hike in Dominica, I knew everything was going to be okay. And it was! I was very relieved about how supportive Seamester staff was and not once did they discourage me from continuing the trip. I recovered much better than I would have if I stayed home.

Why did you choose the voyage you did?

Seamester offers many different voyages all over the world. Some are longer than others. I chose to do the Pacific crossing. I chose this voyage because I wanted to do one of the longer ones. Plus, I haven't seen much of the Pacific oceans besides Hawaii.

The 90 days go so quickly and I wish they offered a whole year-long voyage circle navigating the world. I did not want the trip to end.