I chose this program because I wanted a hands-on experience where I wasn't just on a cruise. A lot of the other programs I was interested in were the typical "study abroad" program where the tour portion would be on board buses with tour guides. I wanted a much more immersive experience and was looking to do something "different".
Blair studied onboard S/Y Argo for her maiden voyage in Thailand in 2006. She holds a 200 ton Yachtmaster Sailing Captains license and PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer license.
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?
I was attending the University of Virginia and I scheduled an appointment with the Head of the Environmental Science department. They reviewed the marine science course syllabus I was going to take on Argo and pre-approved the credits without hesitation. The credits and my grade transferred without a problem from Sea|mester to the University of Virginia.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Write a journal! I wish I had written a daily journal of the things that happened during the trip. Some of the greatest adventures ever, and I wish I had written details down of everything because now, 14 years later, the memories are a bit fuzzy.
I would love to go back and relive my experiences and also have that for my kids to read one day.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
I don't believe there are any 2 days that are the same.
When you are on passage, your day will change based on when your watch team is scheduled. One morning, you could witness an incredible sunrise if you are on the 3-6 am watch team and another could be pitch black dark sailing the entire night if you are on the 9 pm-midnight watch team.
Every day brings something totally new and different.
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 flying across the world completely by myself. I didn't know the language, I didn't know anyone who was going on the trip with me, there was a lot of unknowns going into my trip. Once I decided to just "get over it" and get on the plane, once I was actually physically there, those fears went away because I realized most everyone had the same fears.
Once I was there, all of my fears went away!
If you could do this trip again, what would you change?
Honestly, I wish I had stayed longer after the trip to travel around the country!
Some of the other students had been traveling a lot more than me in their life already...and knew they should stay after to travel a little. I wasn't really aware of that as an option.
I would have really enjoyed spending an extra week or two traveling around SE Asia.