Seamester

Seamester

About

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.

Founded
1998
Headquarters

1075 Central Ave
Sarasota, FL 34236
United States

Scholarships

Seamester Scholarships
Seamester Scholarships & Financial Aid

Seamester offers a number of Financial Aid and Scholarship options available for those looking toward funding to make their experience possible.

Value
$500 - $10,000

Sea|mester Voyages Filling Fast

With limited space aboard each vessel, each trip typically fills up within three months of the start date. Click the link below to see our updated availability on all of our 2020 voyages.

Reviews

Default avatar
Ashley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This trip brings new experience and friendships that you just can't find anywhere else. I grew a lot as a person while I was learning tons of new things about sailing, diving, and science. The staff are wonderful and inspiring and ready to help with anything you could need. We went on crazy adventures like swimming with whale sharks and hiking to boiling lakes; and the time in between the adventures was filled with new knowledge and fun we made for ourselves (we threw a boat prom that involved trash bags full of popcorn and a potato someone's date). I recommend this experience to everyone I talk to, but it's especially great for people who want adventures that you can't find anywhere else.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Bring more warm clothes than the packing list says! I greatly missed having a cozy sweatshirt on chilly days near South Africa. Also go into everything with an open mind - you won't regret it :)
Default avatar
Blair
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was one of Argo's maiden voyage shipmates in the summer of 2006 when she launched in Thailand! Even though it was about 13 years ago, I still have very vivid memories of many different experiences on board.

It was an unforgettable experience completing night watches with my watch team, seeing pods of hundreds of dolphins riding our bow wake, navigating under the stars at night, watching the incredible sunrises... life at sea really teaches you a unique lesson of living in the moment. If you have any doubts, know that you grow so much by doing something you are unfamiliar with... and you'll also come home with some crazy stories!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
It's worth the risk. You grow so much when you do things you are unfamiliar with. You won't regret it.
Default avatar
Matt
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I did this trip in 2014 and I had an incredible time. I learned a lot about myself as a person, became a more proficient sailor, learned how to use my leadership style to my advantage, and became a good member of a team. There are so many soft skills you learn while living in this environment with this many people it's difficult to quantify. You learn plenty of hard skills around the boat that will follow you after the trip as well. You get to run the boat as a team while becoming very close with your mentors as well. The simplicity of life underway was one of my favorite parts. You're surrounded by a huge family on an incredible adventure, seeing beautiful countries and make memories that last a lifetime. I have nothing but the most positive things to say about this program and the impact it's had on my life.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most unfamiliar thing I ate was definitely Durian, one of the world's smelliest fruits.
Read my full story
Default avatar
Evan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

In my final semester at USF I was required to take an international trip with classwork for at least 2 weeks. This 20 day sailing adventure from the BVI to Antigua and back was the perfect fit! My next step in schooling was a PhD in marine geology at the University of Miami, so having the ability to dive in this wide variety of locations was truly eye opening. In addition to the extensive dive training, learning how to properly sail was an amazing experience. As a kiteboarder, I have always loved the wind and water, but have never made any large passages at sea by sailing vessel. This allowed me to do that, and learn how to sail these complex tall ships. The food was great, from cooking together in teams in the ships galley, to going out in foreign countries for dinner, this is a great experience that you want to sign up for! The friends you make will be remembered forever!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
If you have any desire to be a marine scientist, or just to see what is out there in the natural world, this trip is for you. It will open your eyes to how we interact with the oceans.
Default avatar
Ruby
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Once I landed in Tortola, carried my duffel bag down the marina to Fire Bolt and Ocean Star, I knew I was in for an incredible 20 day voyage. An experience like no other, engages me and the fellow college students to step outside the confines of their standard classroom and live aboard a boat in the middle of the ocean. The lessons I learned were life changing because I was never exposed to diving with a regulator or understanding points of sail. When I jumped in the salty water, covered many nautical miles, watched the anchor at various late hours of the night, and made a second family with the staff and other students aboard, I could feel a new door open with joy and excitement. This was a new chapter in my life and I loved being at sea with people I now call my good friends!

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly I had a great time all around, but maybe a couple of suggestions on how to maintain diving or sailing post course in your hometown or nearby.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 12

Alumni Interviews

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

Blair Williamson

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?

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 Year's 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 Year, 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. It's 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?

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 overnight. 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 onboard a Semester voyage, we take their opinions in high regard.

We are constantly aiming to improve because there is always room to improve!

US visitors, meet us in person!

  1. Saturday 25 January
    Chicago, IL Gap Year Fair
    New Trier Township High School
    Fair:
    12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
    Presentation:
    12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  2. Sunday 26 January
    Cleveland, OH Gap Year Fair
    Lawrence School
    Fair:
    1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    Presentation:
    1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
  3. Tuesday 28 January
    Houston, TX Gap Year Fair
    Strake Jesuit College Prepatory
    Fair:
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    Presentation:
    6:00 PM - 6:45 PM

Professional Associations

USA Gap Year Fairs Logo