Why choose Seamester?

Seamester offers unique educational voyages where students spend their time sailing between countries and continents. For more than 40 years, we have consistently delivered outstanding educational experiences for students. We design our programs to provide engaging learning experiences with real outcomes in ways that are impossible to replicate in the traditional classroom. Living as part of a close-knit team on an ocean-going vessel, students learn some of the most important lessons beyond academics: teamwork, hard work, and personal responsibility. Our programs are designed to challenge students to realize that it is the journey, not the destination, that matters most.


Seamester Scholarships

Seamester Scholarships & Financial Aid

Sea|mester offers scholarships, financial aid, and tuition assistance to applicants who show great potential to succeed and grow from our unique experience yet would otherwise be only able to attend with financial assistance.

The total amount of funds available for any given semester varies. There is no scholarship application fee, and all Sea|mester applicants are eligible to apply.

$500 - $14,000


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Yes, I recommend this program

Dreams to Reality

Seamester was a trip that exceeded all of my expectations. I had an opportunity to visit places some people may never see in a lifetime and I got to make countless memories with amazing new people. I grew a bond with not only the students but also the staff that could never be replaced. We got to witness beautiful sites such as healthy coral, marine life, and beautiful islands. I gained a great knowledge of sailing which is one thing I had always dreamed of doing. Everyday I wish I could go back and relive it all just once more.

  • Seeing marine life and healthy coral
  • Learning how to sail
  • Getting out of your comfort zone
  • No ice
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Yes, I recommend this program

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience!

Being a crew mate on STV Vela was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sometimes I find it hard to search for words to encompass the voyage I had, for it has fundamentally changed who I am. Who knew I could drive a 112-foot sailboat? Who knew I could be a certified rescue scuba diver? I never could have imagined setting foot on an uninhabited island, with a never-ending supply of coconuts. My favorite parts of the trip are as small as discovering my new favorite fruit and as grand as completing a 23-day Pacific Ocean crossing!

  • Access to diving certifications in unique locations.
  • Energetic staff.
  • Amazing views.
  • Too short! I never wanted to leave.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A Dream Come True

I had such a great experience, from enrolling in the program until the very last day of the trip. First, the office staffs. One word: incredible. They are always there for any questions you have and answer very quickly. They follow the whole trip and make sure everything goes smoothly (and if it doesn't - we had a surprise - they work their heart out to make everything possible).
Second, the trip itself. For me, it was a dream coming true. As a student, I wanted to learn how to sail, and Sea|mester being a school abroad experience was the perfect match. I arrived the first day in Antigua with a mix of excitation and anticipation, but when I met a part of the group, I just became more excited for the adventure. It turned out to be a real adventure. Our first overnight passage, the staff helped us rising up the sails and when we turned off the lights, I still remember the awe that went through the group at the sight of the stars. So many, so bright. We started our 4 hours watches - 8 hours off. It was not easy at first and the crew was tired, but in longer passages, we got used to the unusual schedule. While in passages, we had two classes of one hour in the afternoon. Not everybody was focus ;). We did many activities, sometimes going on land, some other times, going diving. We swam with dolphins, turtles, rays, fish, sea lions and so much more. I can tell you that when you learn about manta rays during the trip and you get to swim with one, it's an indescriptible feeling of excitation and awe.
In my trip from Antigua to Tahiti, we crossed through the Panama canal, which was a bit intimidating at first, but was pretty fun after all. Going through the locks with a pilot onboard and seeing the water level rises and drops until the last doors finally open to the Pacific is something I never thought I would be doing. A few night after the canal, we left for the Galapagos and had the chance to see bioluminescent dolphins swimming at the bow with us. It was incredible. Two days after we left Panama, we had to turn around and go back to Panama because our propeller broke. The sailing was great and our newly acquired skills was put to use. We did end up going to the Galapagos and then to Tahiti with a few days delay.
This experience wouldn't have been such a adventure without all the challenges we went through. It wasn't always easy, but every difficulty brought the group closer. We started our trip as strangers to each other and ended up feeling like a family. Vela became our home and when the time came to say goodbyes, we had memories to brought back with us. Not everybody from the crew will go on a boat again, but for some like me, this adventure found its mark. Raising the sails, steering Vela through the waves, listening to the sound of the ocean sometimes under a scorching sun have woken up a new passion and a desire to go back, to feel the wind in the sails and to push my knowledge further.

  • Travelling around the world
  • Sailing!!!!
  • New experience and meeting new people from around the world
  • Living in a tight space (if you like intimacy, it will be challenging but you need to embrace the difference of living on a boat)
  • Unregular sleep schedule
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Yes, I recommend this program

Opportunity of a lifetime!!

We went all around Cape Town, SA, from Table Mountain to the Cape of Good Hope. We then sailed to St Helena in the middle of the Atlantic, saw Napolean's grave, and swam with whale sharks!!! It was insane!! I got to surf on some of the best/most beautiful beaches in the world in Fernando De Noronha, Brasil! We raced in a regatta too! Got last lol, but it was a blast! Jib squad best squad!! We went all throughout the Caribbean, at every island we went to I would go running to see the sites. The academics were really interesting and the professors just wanted to grow our passion for the oceans. I also completed the IYT Yachtmaster Theory portion, and my skipper Freddie, was an excellent teacher. For diving, I went from PADI Open Water to Rescue Diver!! It was a voyage of a lifetime and I loved every minute of it (most of the time :)). Every day was a great day and the people I met on board are some that I hope to keep in contact with for the rest of my life.

  • Meet extraordinary people
  • gain sailing and scuba knowledge
  • explore the world
  • eat a lot of canned/frozen foods (its still good)
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Yes, I recommend this program

Sea|mester Atlantic Crossing South Africa to Caribbean

I had an amazing time!! While on my gap year, I wanted to experience something that was out of my comfort zone and Sea|mester provided that. The staff on my trip were absolutely phenomenal, I do not think we as a group of students would have had the experience we had without them! They were such a welcoming, supportive, and phenomenal group of individuals. As a whole this trip was such a valuable experience, I believe the most valuable aspect was the connection I made with everyone on Argo. I especially loved that every night we did something called "squeeze" at the end of each meal, which allowed me to reflect on the day. Squeeze gave me time to find the little joys in the day, even if it was a rainy one in the middle of the Atlantic. Everyone on my boat still talk on our group chat, and when I started college one of my shipmates came and visited me in NYC. I can not express how much I would recommend Sea|Mester!!


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

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".

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.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Leila Barth

Job Title
Enrollment Advisor
Leila is originally from Los Angeles! After graduating from University she lived in Spain teaching English, worked for an experiential education program in Costa Rica, and lived in Australia under the work holiday visa with many travels in between! Her current favorite food is laksa; if you ever want to bribe her!

What is your favorite travel memory?

Spending New Years Eve in Havana, Cuba! The tradition in Cuba is to wash/throw water on the front steps of your home to cleanse it for the new year. Many people live in apartments so they throw buckets of water out of their windows and onto the street; it essentially becomes one big water fight! I love New Years, especially when a city comes together like that!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Although I have a lot of experience with travel, I did not have any experience with boats or sailing. Its been like learning a new language and I love it! Passing on that enthusiasm to students who are enrolling is always exciting, I can honestly tell them that I have been in their shoes and that they will gain so many new skills and friends!

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

We have had many students do Seamester as a way to get out of their comforts zone and to take a break from school but when they finish the voyage they find themselves changed. Some have completely changed their majors to Marine Biology or Environmental Studies, while others realize they want to see much more of the world!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

All of the voyages are amazing but I would choose one of the trips that go through the South Pacific! Tahiti to Australia because they get to stop off at many islands that most people will never see. Caribbean to Tahiti voyage is the best of both worlds with island hopping and an ocean passage-plus it crosses through the Panama Canal!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Seamester is soooooooooooo unique!! There is no other program where you will be on a boat for the entire length of the trip. Seamester allows a student to earn University credits while also earning professional certifications in scuba diving and sailing. It is also unique in that the students are considered crew. They cook on board for everyone, clean the boat, are on watch over night. There is no other program for University students like this!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe the biggest factor in being a successful company is listening to your staff and customer. Being receptive to suggestions of change; taking the good with the bad. Since the students are the crew on board a Semester voyage, we take their opinions in high regard. We are constantly aiming to improve because there is always room to improve!

Professional Associations

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