Class Afloat - Travel and Study at Sea

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Founded in 1984, Class Afloat - West Island College International is one of the world’s most incredible experiential education opportunities. This Canadian school offers rigorous and internationally acclaimed academic programs for Grade 11, 12, University and Gap year students, while sailing aboard a majestic tall ship and exploring over 20 ports of call worldwide.

Unique port programs are filled with local cultural experiences, visits to important historic sites, voluntary service projects and outdoor activities such as hiking, snorkelling and surfing. Students stand watch, hoist sails, learn navigation skills and ship maintenance as crew members on a majestic tall ship. Attaining high standards in academic excellence, community service, leadership, and personal development, more than 1800 Class Afloat students from around the world have had the experience of a lifetime, developing as individuals, excelling as citizens, forging lifelong friendships, and exploring the world.

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9.75 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • Academics 8.8
  • Support 9
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.8
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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Yes, I recommend this program

A gap year on Class Afloat

This past year has been incredible. There are no words to accurately describe nine months spent at sea, let alone in a short review. Just trust that every moment is breathtaking. From painstakingly beautiful sunsets to dolphin calls that offer a break from classes, I know that nothing will live up to my life out at sea. It is a year that takes away all your comforts and rips you from everything familiar. All this builds an environment where you live, truly live, in the rawness and authenticity of moments.
Class Aflaot allows you to travel, sail and learn all at once. You get the opportunity to delve into areas and places you would never have imagined yourself in. If you like sailing, go up to the bridge and ask questions. If you like galley, go down to the kitchen and offer help. If you're interested in any school subject, your teachers are right at hand, literally living with you, and are ready to answer any questions you have. Even the engineer is open to showing you around and teaching you what his or her job entails.
It's a massive year of growth and learning, but the strength you find in yourself and the community that becomes so tight-knit is beyond compare. This experience brings out the worst and best in you and those around you, so be ready to challenge yourself and find comfort in the discomfort.
If you want to read more about my year aboard the Gulden Leeuw, visit my blog

Read my full story
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Yes, I recommend this program

Great Time

The best experience I've had to date I still look back on it incredibly fondly nearly 10 years after the fact. Challenge, excitement, community. I made life long friendships and had experiences that profoundly shaped who I am today. I would recommend it to anyone.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Just do it

Class Afloat is without a doubt the most transformative experiential based education program I know of. You cannot get this type of learning in a traditional school or classroom. My advice is to find a way to make this opportunity available to your son or daughter. You won't regret it and it will change them profoundly.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Best Decision I Ever Made for My Son

My son Josh is an artist, curious about everything and everyone. Class Afloat opened up the world to him. He learned to love the earth and people everywhere. The world was his classroom for that year—the education invaluable.

He faced his own mortality and the loss of a dear friend on his journey on the Concordia. The opportunities and challenges have defined him.

What would you improve about this program?
I would take that journey.