By Semester at Sea   Reviews (146)   98% Rating

Semester at Sea: Study Around the World

By Semester at Sea   Reviews (146)   98% Rating

Explore multiple countries around the world while earning up to 15 credits! Each voyage varies in it's destinations, but will definitely provide a wide range of cultures and countries to see. Check the SAS website for lists of past trips and plans for the future ones. Hope you have your sea legs ready!

Fall 2017 Semester Voyage

  • Dates: September 9, 2017 - December 23, 2017
  • 106 Days, 11 Countries, 13 cities, 4 continents

Destinations: Germany, Spain, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Burma, Vietnam, China, Japan, Hawaii

Spring 2018 Semester Voyage

  • Dates: January 5, 2018 - April 19, 2018
  • 102 Days, 11 Countries, 15 cities, 4 continents

Destinations: Hawaii, United States, Japan, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), India, Suez Canal, Croatia, Morocco

Fall 2018 Semester Voyage

  • Dates: September 9, 2018 - December 23, 2018
  • 106 Days, 11 Countries, 13 cities, 4 continents

Destinations: Germany, Spain, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Burma, Vietnam, China, Japan, Hawaii

Program Type
Provider
Subject Areas
Advertising
Art History
Communications
Creative Writing
Cultural Studies
English Literature
Geography
Geology
International Business
Liberal Arts
Marine Biology
Philosophy
Sociology
Women's Studies
Timeframe
Fall
Spring
Inclusions
Accommodation
Classes
Meals
Some Activities
Wifi
University
Colorado State University
Language
English
Steps
Online Application
Cost
Our program fees include up to 15 academic credits, housing, buffet style meals, medical insurance, one in-port field trip for each course, and a full-time shipboard residential and student services team. We have full scholarships, service and journalism fellowships, need and merit grants, and skill based work study financial aid awards available. We award $4 million in financial aid each year!
Starting Price
0.00

Questions & Answers

Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until you're enrolled at an accredited university / college. Hope that helps!
All courses are taught in English. To help prepare you for in-port experiences, SAS will give you a cheat sheet of common phrases for the local language in each country. Additionally, sometimes brief...
Yes. Onboard the ship there is a vegetarian option at every meal.
Yes. In the ship it is always available. Also, in every port you can certainly ask for no meat or any resctrictions you have. Anybody that speaks the local language and English would be happy to help.
Yes. There is a salad bar and vegetables at every meal. Also their are potatoes that are meat free and typically the pasta and soup served were vegetarian as well. My roommate was vegetarian and had n...

Rating Values

  • Academics
    79%
  • Support
    92%
  • Fun
    92%
  • Housing
    96%
  • Safety
    93%

Program Reviews (146)

Mariana
Female
27 years old

Morocco tour, Camel trekking in Sahara Desert during SAS

Overall
10

We were travelling as a group of four (all students) and we were all really excited for our desert trip during SAS, we used Morocco Excursions Company, but not quite sure what to expect. We did the four day trip from Marrakech to Fes and it was fantastic. I would highly recommend doing at least four days as we thought that covering the same distance in three days would be a bit too much driving each day.

In terms of reviewing the trip itself, it couldn't have been any better. The places we saw were absolutely breathtaking – the stunning ksar of Ait Benhaddou, Ouarzazate (the "Hollywood of Morocco"), the Erg Chebbi dunes, the Todra Gorge and many other amazing places. Morocco has such a diverse range of landscapes and we saw so many of them on the Morocco Excursions trip.

The best thing though was the places we stayed on the trip. Although we paid for the budget option, we were really impressed with the quality of accomodation. Our rooms were large and spacious and the breakfast/dinner provided was very good. The locations were incredible though. In Merzouga, we stayed right on the edge of the sand dunes, which was absolutely breathtaking. Whilst dunes are the stereotypical image of the Sahara, they are only found in two places in Morocco and to have them just two hundred metres from your hotel window was so unexpected and a really fantastic experience.

Our guide, Aziz, was friendly, funny and insightful. He was also an excellent driver and over four long days of driving we never once felt unsafe with his driving skills. He definitely made our trip better than it would otherwise have been and his helpfulness and local nous were much appreciate by us all. Likewise, Hassan was really responsive to all of our emails and was very helpful with any questions we had before the trip.

We had a fantastic experience with Morocco Excursions and couldn't recommend them more.

Amy
Female
20 years old
Hong Kong
Other

Semester at Sea Spring 2016 -- Wanna do it all over again.

Overall
10

Semester at Sea
Semester at Sea is an overseas exchange program overseen and administered by the nonprofit organization of the Institute of Shipboard Education. The program has a long history of partnership with top US universities in offering students a global comparative education.

Every year, SAS embarks on two voyages which take place either during spring (Spring Voyage - January to April) around the world and autumn (Fall Voyage - September to December) around the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean.

Between the two options, I have opt for the Spring 2016 “A Voyage Around the World” which circumnavigates the globe in 102 days, traversing the waters of 12 countries, namely, the US, Mexico, Japan, China, Vietnam, Burma, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco and England.

“The World Campus Afloat”—The MV World Odyssey
The MV World Odyssey is the 6th ship to sail with SAS. Meticulous maintenance had been carried out to remodel the German-built luxury cruise liner so as to better accommodate the academic aspect of SAS. With a tonnage of 22,400 and 10 decks, the ship carries approximately 50 faculty staff members, 150 crew members and 600 undergraduate students from all over the world.

How did I study on the ship?
• Academic Structure
The standard SAS course requirements include enrolling for 4 courses, of which one of them must a Global Lens course. The days spent at sea sailing between different countries are normal class days, alternating between Day A and B without breaks. Occasionally, designated “Study Days” are arranged before mid-terms, special activities and finals, providing students either with some downtime to relax or to catch up with schoolwork. This rigorous academic system allows students to complete all 12 credits by the end of the semester and their courses with the equal level of depth and class time compared to on-land campuses, if not more.

Additionally, each course is paired with a Field Lab (a field trip) in one specific country of the professor’s choosing to learn more about local customs. Afterwards, students are expected to put pen to paper a “Field Lab Report” to reflect on the day trip and in what ways did the Lab relate daily textbook concepts and class learnings to a country’s history and practices.

• How do we study on a ship?
To much of my surprise, prior to my departure, I was informed by a 2012 SAS alumni from HKU that Wi-Fi is not available on board. The principal reason for internet restriction is due to SAS’s goal for students to pay greater attention to forming actual human nexuses rather than clinging onto distant, virtual friendships.

Nevertheless, to assist with on-ship and external communication, students are provided with email service (“Seamail”). Given Seamail only authorizes text messages and attachments, it had challenged students like myself to come up with ingenuous methods to stay connected to our families e.g. I attached pictures to Word documents and converted them to PDFs before sending it to my friends and family. Also, the academic platform of Moodle and a public drive were used extensively to turn in assignments, attempt quizzes and share information.

Extracurricular Activities
You may wonder: without internet access and other forms of entertainment, what were our pastimes for 4 months at sea? In fact, as aforementioned, studying had already taken up the majority of time and kept us occupied throughout the day. For the rest of the time, one could work out at the gym to maintain physical fitness, sunbathe or swim in the pool, host or participate in student clubs on board. Here are a few examples of what I did on board:



• The Amazing China Cultural Club

Me and nine other Chinese students on board have co-founded “The Amazing China Cultural Club” to present the intriguing side of Chinese culture to foreign students, prepare them for the possible culture shock before visiting Shanghai and Hong Kong and teach them basic survival Chinese/Cantonese phrases.

Ballroom Dancing Club
Apart from hosting a student-directed club, I was also an active member of the Ballroom Dancing Club. 

Our student instructors have taught us the basics of four latin dances: Cha-Cha-Cha, Rumba and Samba and Tango. As part of club showcase, we have performed a dance number during the Talent Show.

Places Visited: Favorite and Least Preferred Country
Students gathered at San Diego, CA to be bused over to board the ship at Ensenada, Mexico. We ventured out from the Americas, setting sail across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii and finally, after the longest stretch of 18 days, the MV World Odyssey docked at Japan (Yokohama, Kobe).

From then on, we sailed through the waters of many Asian countries: (Shanghai) China, Hong Kong, (Ho Chi Minh City) Vietnam, (Yangon) Burma, (Cochin) India and to (Port Louis) Mauritius, a tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean.

For the third part, we continued with our journey up and around the African continent to (Cape Town) South Africa, (Takoradi, Tema) Ghana and (Casablanca) Morocco before disembarking at (Southampton) England, officially ending our around-the-world endeavor.

• Favorite Country: South Africa
Cape Town (South Africa) was definitely one of the best ports of call I have visited. It was the epitome of both education and new experience. For my Gender and Society class, we got to visit the Blikkiesdorp Township just 30 minutes away from downtown. It was a place where we obtained extensive insight about HIV/AIDS, poverty and crime among the grass-root class as it was plagued with problems as such. This posed as a drastic contrast to the façade of Cape Town’s prosperity, especially when compared to what we have seen at the Waterfront area close to where we docked, a district that radiates a sense of establishment and affluence.



Apart from the knowledge (Apartheid and South Africa’s current development) that this country has to offer, it had also proved itself to be one diverse, thrilling and incredibly hospitable travel destination. To begin with, I have had the privilege to go on an phenomenal safari trip organized by SAS to meet “The Big Five”, skydive out of an airplane at an altitude of 9,000 ft., climbed 3,558 ft. back up the world-renowned Table Mountain and finally, got to sample some of South Africa’s native game meats such as ostrich, kudu (a type of antelope), Springbok (another type of antelope) and warthog (an African wild boar). 


• Least Preferred Country: Ghana
Intriguingly, the other country that I would like to evaluate is also in Africa. Upon my first day arriving in Ghana, I could already sense the economic hardship this country is in from the highly prevalent occurrences of graft.

During our 4-hour drive to and from the Kakum National Park, we stopped at 6 police checkpoints. Every time, our driver would utter an excuse to shake the policemen’s hands and pay them 1 Cedi each time (about HKD$2). On the right shows a discrete snapshot I took of a Ghanaian policeman ordering our taxi driver to pull over before an instance of corruption took place.


The locals have given me such polarized impressions of this country. On one hand, we did receive a lot of warm welcomes and hospitality from students of the University of Ghana as well as from University of Cape Coast. They had magnanimously helped us navigate our way around the cities of Takoradi, Tema and the capital of Accra and provided much valuable information useful in completing our academic research papers.


Yet, on our Field Lab with Introduction to Social Psychology at the Oxford Street Market, unfortunately, most female participants, including myself, had experienced some of the worst cases of sexual harassment over the course of this voyage, usually directed from local street vendors. For me, I was verbally harassed by stall holders as I was about to get on the bus and depart for our ship. It is very commendable that our course instructor, Mikki had tried her very best in shielding us from the vendors’ distasteful comments and unprovoked aggression during the Field Lab and took quick precautions such as swiftly reporting the incidents to the SAS administration and relocated the Lab to a different venue the next day. 


Difficulties and Special Moments
• Preparation

SAS as a sobering and enthralling experience certainly did not occur with ease for me. One cannot believe the mounting pressure the program bestow upon you as there was so many items and so much detail to esteem for such as financial considerations, health and safety, packing and constantly overcoming the obstacles that preparation throws in your way.

As a case in point, the application for visas was indeed a very close call pushing all time limits and effort. As a Hong Kong citizen, I have to complete 3 entry visas and among them, the one for Ghana deemed the most vexing. Since Hong Kong no longer has a Ghana Consulate that process visas for visitors, I had to make contact with the Ghana Embassy in Beijing that redirected me to an honorary consular in Hong Kong. The official gave me his word the visa would be completed in two weeks’ time but it ended up taking three working weeks before I rushed over to collect it in one afternoon and with only 10 minutes left on the clock, dashed off from one end of Wanchai to another towards the India Consulate to apply for the remaining visa.

It is indescribable how relieved I was when I finally made it to the India Consulate out of breath, profusely perspiring, with precisely 2 minutes to spare but finally filed all documents in just in time. Nevertheless, I have heard visa stories from my fellow shipmates that completely humbled me: Chinese students were required to apply for 7 visas and even more ludicrous; for Lebanese students, a jaw-dropping number of 10.

Bracing Ourselves for Finals

If you think SAS is an extravagant 102-day lavish vacation around the world with sumptuous food, free-flowing wine and pleasure in all of its forms, you cannot be any more mistaken. As the voyage drew to a close, during the last 2 weeks before the final exams, I had lived a dreaded routine of passing out from exhaustion at 1am and springing back to life at 7am the next morning, meanwhile spending the rest of my waking hours studying, writing and revising. But I am fortunate to say that I have a group of friends that worked hard together with me every day at the Berlin Restaurant to leap over whatever hurdles that came in our way.

How to make use of this experience?
Why should one take part in this costly undertaking? My response to that is: it is a life-changing process that helps to define yourself. Not only does SAS nurture independence more so than any other exchanges as it encourages its students to travel independently in so many different countries. But it also fosters incomparable problem-solving capabilities in due course by allowing them to handling unfamiliar situations e.g. itinerary planning, locating transport and dealing with the most unexpected predicaments one might encounter in entirely foreign cultural backdrops.
The most pivotal calibers that I have sharpened throughout this journey are open-mindedness and adaptability. SAS had trained us prolifically with observing, experiencing, accepting and finally adapting to various cultural differences around the world. These alone, I believe, are traits that will continue to serve me well whatever settings I find myself in in the future.

Abram
Male
25 years old
Paulden, Arizona

INCREDIBLE but not always easy.

Overall
10

I have four journals filled with unique stories: praying with a MYANMAR monk, a monkey stealing my dinner in ZIMBABWE, a karaoke battle with locals in MOROCCO, taking an exam while in a PACIFIC storm with 30 foot waves, and I could go on. Semester at Sea is, without a doubt, the ultimate travel experience.

It wasn't always easy. In Myanmar, while walking through valley of 10,000 temples, we stumbled on a factory that utilized child labor. They graciously invited us in and I watched 20 young girls sit around in a room where they worked dawn to dusk, 7 days a week, 365 days a year so that their families could have enough meager food to live. Only a few weeks later I met a Ghanaian school teacher on the street who proudly told me of an ex pupil who was graduating University.

A trip around the world shows you the world and the world is incredible and beautiful and rich but it needs our help. You will not be the same after Semester at Sea. You will be traveled, you will be informed, and you will be more than you were before.

Pakinam
Female
22 years old
University Heights, Ohio
John Carroll University

A voyage of a life time

Overall
9

Semester at sea made me sea the world from different perspectives. Comparing and contrasting the different places we visit every week added a lot to my experience and my knowledge about the world. It broke many of my stereotypes and I can't tell how grateful I am to have been part of the Fall 2015 voyage. Being isolated from the world yet travelling the world is a magical feeling and has been very crucial to teaching me about myself and my shipmates. I highly recommend it.

Brittany
Female
27 years old
Charlottesville, Virginia
Western Illinois University

My Most Influential Experience

Overall
10

Sailing on a Semester at Sea voyage was the most influential experience of my life. I visited places I only read about, met life-long friends, and gained a global prospective.

Visiting multiple places in one semester and comparing each to each other and to my own county is a very effective learning technique. We were constantly moving, exploring, and discovering new things everyday. Living on a ship and being part of the shipboard community was my favorite part of the entire experience. Eating with a professor and their family is not uncommon and actually encouraged. Everyone on the ship has the desire and passion to learn about the world through experimental learning. I would learn about the Egyptian history in class and the next day, I was at The Pyramids of Giza and looking at the face of The Sphinx.

Most people sign up for a study abroad program to see new places, experience a different culture, or to eat better food - afterwards they realize the most valuable part is the people you meet along the way. For the first time I felt like I found my "tribe". When you travel and live on a relatively small space with a group of people, you become extremely close quickly. It's been almost 6 years since I've sailed and I still consider my Semester at Sea group of friends my best friends.

Overall, Semester at Sea is a way to see a lot of the world in one semester. If you're not sure which country to pick, why choose? With Semester at Sea you can see many countries and be a part of a thriving shipboard community. Be prepared to return with a whole new outlook of the world and an incredible group of people you will call family.

How can this program be improved?
The program could benefit from providing resources and support after the students disembark. The experience is so powerful and life-changing, I know I would have appreciated a place where I could connect with past alumni or be more informed about opportunities to connect with my local alumni chapter.
Tony
Male
22 years old
Chicago, Illinois
Other

World Traveler

Overall
10

Imagine traveling the world with newfound friends on a ship sailing around the world. This is by far the most significant and eye-opening experience of the world. Semester at Sea takes you to legendary cities around the world; St. Petersburg, Paris, DUBLIN, Havana, Casablanca, with the ease of sailing. When stopped at port the students are allowed to travel to anywhere they wish; provided that they have the means and logistics to make it back to the ship. What is unique is that Semester at Sea provides teaching and college courses on the ship itself. Complete with overhead projectors this ship is a floating classroom lead by the most prostegious faculty members worldwide. The staff is very friendly and welcoming. They are going through the same experience as the students; traveling the world!

The nights spent lying on the beach at night looking at thousands of stars on the sands of Lagos, Portugal with friends and camel trek riding through the Sahara desert to meet the Nomads will forever remain the most amazing experience of my life. Semester at Sea provides many avenues for scholarships. They themselves help you out A LOT. As long as they see that you are serious and willing to put in work, they will do their best to provide you with the funds to achieve this dream to travel the world.

How can this program be improved?
The food! My goodness everything was carbs carbs carbs. Pasta is the staple subsidy for us college students and will be disgusted after a month of eating it. Nonetheless the food is always fresh; just wish there's more variety. A small price to pay to see the world.
Emma
Female
22 years old
Flagstaff, Arizona
Northern Arizona University

Semester at Sea Sp '15

Overall
10

SAS gave me ability to go to countries I never thought I would reach, and helped me determine who I want to be as a traveler and global citizen. It taught me how to be culturally sensitive, not only for places that are unfamiliar, but also for the place I call home. I was able to form friendships with people that were different from me in many ways, and create a bond I didn't realize could exist in only four months. Plus the wide range of emotions from the laughter to the tears resulted in the most growth I have experienced in my 5 semesters of college.

How can this program be improved?
The only thing that would be better was if it was a whole year!
Kimberly
Female
29 years old
Washington, DC
James Madison University

Semester at Sea is the best decision you'll ever make

Overall
10

Just do it. Four months on a ship that goes around the world?! When else will you have a chance to do something so cool? Every day is something new and exciting! You get the chance to meet people from all over the U.S. and all over the world. The professors teach super interesting courses in a wealth of different subject areas. The food is terrible (or was when I did it), but bring food with you and buy stuff in ports and you'll be fine. Go on as many excursions as possible, as they often get you further away from the port then would be feasible on your own. They can also help you get visas to secondary countries, because you can't leave the country on your own- you must be on an excursion.

Heather
Female
23 years old
Los Angeles, CA
University of Southern California

Most Amazing Experience of My Life

Overall
10

I would recommend this program to any individual that has a passion to travel and see the world. The experiences I had on Semester at Sea opened my eyes to the possibilities that life has to offer as well as gave me insight into new cultures. This program also challenged me to step out of comfort zone and explore places I have never even heard of. I made the most amazing, lifelong friends on my voyage and loved every second of my time on the MV Explorer.

Erin
Female
24 years old
Austin, Texas
University of Texas- Austin

The best 4 months of my life

Overall
10

This was an epic experience and I had some of the best times of my life while on this study abroad program. It was eye-opening, inspiring, exciting and made me see the world in a different light. I would highly recommend this program to anyone!

Hayley
Female
23 years old
Beverly, Massachusetts
Ohio University

Semester at Sea: The Best Decision I've Ever Made

Overall
10

While traveling to 13 different countries in 4 months is incredible in itself, it is the unique shipboard community of Semester at Sea that makes it one of a kind. I will never forget the ship cutting the lights in the middle of the Indian Ocean so the on-board astronomy professor could captivate us with the legends and stories of ancient gods and goddesses, all while underneath a captivating night sky that words will never truly describe. There's no feeling like being in the middle of the ocean with the nearest humans hundreds of miles away, and the stars are just the beginning.

How can this program be improved?
The price is the obvious setback for most potential SASers but it is to be expected when the cost of tuition, multi-country travel and fuel is considered. If I could truly change one thing, then I would want to find a way to reduce this somehow, or find sources to provide more students with bigger financial aid packages.

Truthfully, I have sat here and racked my brains. I don't think I would ever want to change a thing about Semester at Sea. It changed my life.
Maria
Female
21 years old
Madison, WI
University of Wisconsin- Madison

Learning about other cultures enriches our own lives.

Overall
10

It is incredibly fun to travel the world, on a ship, with over 600 students from around the world. Every day is a new adventure, both in the ship and in ports. Most of the time we did not speak the native language of a country and it was very hard to communicate, but we were always able to figure out a way to express our feelings and needs in each country.
We were a group of six friends in Myanmar and we had the opportunity to get in touch with relatives of my aunt's friend. They were three and they took us sightseeing, took us out for dinner, and they invited us to the pool at their condo. It was a beautiful experience because we got to connect with locals and see their life styles. We were able to ask any questions and they were also interested in learning about our culture.
Even though we had never heard about each others, we did not make plans ahead, and we are from different continents and have different likes and dislikes, we had a great time, and it was a very valuable and enriching experience I will always remember.

How can this program be improved?
It would be great if the program was cheaper for students. I know SAS always tries to get more funding to give out more scholarships to students, so it would be great if more alumni, schools and programs can contribute to make many more students achieve their dream of going on Semester at Sea.
Brian
Male
22 years old
Knoxville, Tennessee
University of Tennessee- Knoxville

Semester at Sea Summer 2014

Overall
10

An incredible summer, visited 9 different countries around Europe all while living on a ship with other college students. The classes were well structured and the teachers excellent, but the real fun was being able to explore different countries and cultures with people who had been complete strangers just days before. I still stay in constant contact with several of the friends I made on the trip, and it has allowed me opportunities to travel all around the United States to visit them in the last couple years. I could not possibly recommend semester at sea more highly than anything to a student interested in travel.

How can this program be improved?
Better food, but there were very few complaints
Lindsay
Female
26 years old
Denver, Colorado
Metropolitan State University of Denver

Semester At Sea: Exceptionally Unique

Overall
10

Semester at Sea really was an exceptionally unique experience. I was convinced that if I didn't study abroad in college I would be missing out on a huge opportunity, but I was having difficulty deciding on just one country to go to. I was initially attracted to the idea that Semester at Sea traveled to multiple countries but that was just the beginning of its uniqueness. I found a "home afloat" in my ship accommodations which gave me a comfortable home base to decompress and familiarity that became so important to my mental health among all the new locations and culture shock. Semester at Sea took its time in picking the best of the best staff and faculty, so my education came from people I would normally not of had the opportunity to learn from. An overall theme of sustainability gave us a global lens to view all our lessons and experiences through, and something very applicable to take home and unique to put on my resume. Finally the in-country excursions set up by the program were absolutely once in a life time experiences I wouldn't find anywhere else, such as canyoning through the mountains in Spain, seal watching on rib boats in Sweden, and kayaking through the Fjords in Norway. If you are on the fence about doing this program I hope my review has convinced you to go. This is something you don't want to miss out on.

How can this program be improved?
I was very saddened to hear that Semester at Sea is no longer offering Summer semesters. The summer semester was so appealing to me because I had obligations at home that couldn't be left for longer than the two and half months I was gone for. The summer semester was also a more affordable option than the spring or fall semester which was also very appealing because this program is certainly on the pricey side. I didn't have my parents to help me with finances, I had a job that was important to hold on to, and a family that I had already built a home with so the summer semester was my only realistic option. Bring back the summer semester SAS!
Kaiulani
Female
22 years old
Hilo, Hawaii
University of Hawaii- Hilo

My Family in India

Overall
10

I met so many beautiful people in India. One of those people was my tuk tuk driver. He made me and my friends feel comfortable and safe from the moment we went into his tuk tuk and who knew we would end up such great friends. He took us anywhere we wanted. We went to shops where we bought spices and a sari. After I bought my sari and went to another shop he told us he would be right back and when he came back he had a string of jasmine flowers that he put in my hair making me look like a beautiful Indian princess. I loved it, at that moment he felt like my father and although I come from somewhere on the other side of the world we had a connection and I trusted him. After I bought and immediately wore my sari we went to get some local Indian food. At this restaurant the waiters helped us order the foods we must try not he menu and we did. While we waited for our food I looked up and noticed an older Indian woman looking at me and smiling. I smiled back and she pointed to her sari and then at mine and gave me a thumbs up gesture. This was another amazing moment for me. This older Indian woman just approved my Indian outfit which meant more to me than just looking good. I felt that with her approval I was culturally acceptable and didn’t look like a tourist wearing an Indian outfit because it was cool. I was falling in love with India, the people, the culture, and soon enough the food. When the food came I was awestruck. It was amazing! So amazing that we ordered another plate of it. It was some type of masala but it was so different than the ones in the United States. After eating our driver asked us if we wanted henna tattoos and when we said yes he explained to us about his mother in laws where they can do it for us. This day was getting better and better. We got to the house and immediately neighborhood children and aunties came over. They were so nice and reminded me of my family back home. They wanted to make my hair, give me chips, and tea. It was one of the most memorable moments for me. We sat down and they started doing henna’s on us. While they did henna’s they were talking and asking us questions all while laughing because most of the time we had no idea what they were saying. Although there was a language barrier our body language and laughter was more than sufficient. We stayed there until the sun was going down. We had so much fun that they invited us to a Hindu celebration in Kerala where there would be food, elephants, music, and fireworks. That was an automatic yes! Our driver took us back to the ship where we showered and got ready then came back out and went with our driver to the event. It was a unique experience. We were the only people not from India at that event especially because most of the Semester At Sea students were at the Taj Mah Hall. As we walked through the crowds with our driver all eyes were on us. It was different but I knew our driver had our backs and he reminded me so much hot my father that I knew if anything would happen he would step in. It was amazing. We watched the elephants all dressed up march through the area with loud music, It was so exciting to witness for the first time. After we met up with his family and watched the fireworks together. I loved being with this family. We loved them so much that we pretty much went with the same driver everyday where we went to his families house about 2 more times. I am so thankful that I met a wonderful tuk tuk driver who I built a relationship with. He was more than our driver he was our father, bodyguard, and friend. After the last day in India when we had to say our goodbyes I got his mailing address and I am currently working on a package to send to him and his family with toys for his kids, books, and pictures of our time in India. One day I will make it back to India and reunite with this amazing family.

How can this program be improved?
It should be longer.
John
Male
22 years old
Virginia Beach, VA
University of Virginia

Life-changing Experience

Overall
10

Semester at Sea was by far the best experience of my life thus far. It's been over a year and a half since I embarked on my Summer voyage, but I still bother my friends and family with stories and allusions back to the trip. Honestly, I don't even know where to begin the praise. Instead of telling any specific story that won't fully capture my experience I will describe what I was thinking the day I arrived back in the US after the voyage: I wasn't sure how I could acclimate back to my normal life after experiencing so much in such a small amount of time. I came out of the trip with friends from not just all over the country, but also the world. I learned more in those 66 days then I ever could have expected. Not only were my classes intellectually stimulating and fun, but I also got to apply what I was learning to the countries I was visiting. Whether I was discussing the possibility of Scotland voting for its independence with locals at a highland festival and writing about it in my Economics of the European Union class or learning how to start and run a franchise from the head of franchising for all of the Hard Rock Cafes in Scandanavia. I learned how to travel in a smarter, cheaper and safer way. Lastly, I never stopped having fun. I got to surf in San Sebastian, eat dinner elevated above all of Helsinki, Finland with Dinner in the Sky, watch the US play Portugal in the World Cup while in Lisbon, and sit on the edge of massive cliffs on Aran Island off of Ireland (to name a few of my favorite memories). All in all it was the trip of my life and I will forever recommend the trip to anyone interested.

How can this program be improved?
The food could have been better on the ship, but food can only be but so good for college kids on a massive ship (so I don't really have a problem with it).
Jackson
Male
20 years old
Washington DC
University of Colorado- Boulder

Traveling Big and Small

Overall
10

There is something to be said for having almost 700 other travel mates. Semester at Sea gave me the opportunity to find any one to travel with, or no one. Being in port, surrounded by a foreign country there was a safety net of a community around us. I could always find a fellow SAS-er if I needed to. One time in Vietnam I had found myself on an island get away in ha long bay, which turned out to be an Aussie filled booze cruise of havoc. Not my scene. I had to leave early the next morning to catch my flight so with less than 50 dollars worth of Vietnamese dong I had to find my way, 5 hours from Ha long bay to Hanoi. Along the way I would face hard ships, like that one cab driver that almost assaulted me, but when ever it was most needed a familiar face from the ship would pop out of no where and bring a deep sigh of relief to me. I am grateful for the experiences I could have while traveling to such a diverse number of ports, but also the people I met along the way. Semester at Sea aloud me to have all of the self discovery, independence and adventure that comes with solo travel but also the connectedness and community of our ship.

How can this program be improved?
The ship did have its issues. Some issues that we faced are facing many land colleges campuses as well. A sweeping wave of uber political correctness and extremely hostile anger towards proclaimed dominate cultures. I my self being a white male felt there was a lot of anger towards me strictly for being a white male. The staff did little to address this and even stoked the flames of this anger with inappropriate rhetoric. Also the staff at times took their rolls too liberally and scandals, such as having our Dean sleep with the married wife of a professor, did not contribute to a healthy and trustworthy environment.
Victor
Male
23 years old
McLean, Virginia
University of Virginia

A Semester of Sea and making the most out of that Semester

Overall
8

To speak frankly, this was not my most influential or most rewarding experience abroad. That is not to say that I did not benefit from this or did not learn a lot. I am the kind of person that prefers to be immersed in one place as opposed to sampling several different countries in a whirlwind kind of fashion. Three to seven days is not nearly enough time to get to understand a place, a culture, to get used to hearing a foreign language, or to accustom oneself to the cadence of a different place in the world. As a result, I made sure that I made the most of my time in each country. I still made my best efforts to meet locals, to see as much as I can, and to use my senses to get a general idea of a new place. I was touched by the numerous encounters I had with hospitable locals in various countries of the world, I just wish I could have stayed in one spot to return the favor or to delve deeper into understanding where they are from and who they are. That was my experience with Semester at Sea.

Isaiah
Male
28 years old
Orinda, CA
Chapman University

SAS Sets a Course for Global Citizenship

Overall
10

Deciding to sail with Semester at Sea as a junior in college was one of the most important decisions of my life. I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking to study abroad on a global scale.

The experience of SAS is cyclical yet it also has forward momentum. Several days at sea will be followed by 4-5 days in port. Sea days are highly structured with classes and pre-port presentations that prepare you for the upcoming country visit. Days on land are unstructured and can be spent on program-sponsored or self-arranged activities. There are countless opportunities to connect with local people and projects, and to explore the natural beauty of each country. Even though our time in each port was brief, the overall experience of Semester at Sea was rich, impactful, and complete - more than the sum of its parts.

Semester at Sea gave me a glimpse of what it means to be a global citizen. It provided me with a unique platform for exploring the world and understanding the relationships between cultures. If you approach your voyage in a conscientious and open way, it will provide you with a truly global perspective and a lifetime of inspiration!

(I mainly documented my experience through audio recordings rather than pictures and video. You can listen to a musical collage of my favorite recordings here: https://soundcloud.com/crumble/the_surrounding_waves )

How can this program be improved?
There is a missed opportunity for guided reflection by the ship's community leaders. Post-country reflection is usually done through casual conversation or solo writing, and I wish that there had been more intentional community building through discussion and reflection after each country. I've heard that some voyages do include guided reflection activities, but this is dependent on the individual voyage staff and not standardized across voyages.
Aubrey
Female
23 years old
Greeley, Colorado
University of Northern Colorado

The ship that became family in just 4 months

Overall
10

The best part about SAS was the community on the ship. The people were so amazing. It was so fun to be able to share with them and have open conversations about anything and everything. Everyone was so friendly and excited to learn about the world and other peoples cultures and points of view. That was the most amazing part of the trip for me. I learned just as much about myself as I did the world while traveling around it. It was a trip of discovery and way too much fun!

How can this program be improved?
It honestly was perfect to me. I wouldn't change a single thing.
Ashley
Female
23 years old
Portland, OR
University of Oregon

Recommended for Everyone

Overall
10

This program changed my life more than anything else I have ever experience. Almost very day at sea is a "school day" but you don't have classes when in port. I would give practically anything to go again.

How can this program be improved?
Food on the ship is mediocre but the voyage makes it well worth it. You can eat AMAZING food in port.
Patrick
Male
23 years old
Corvallis, Oregon
Oregon State University

Semester at Sea - There's no place I'd rather be!

Overall
10

I had the pleasure of attending the Summer '13 trip around the Mediterranean. The program gave me the opportunity to meet people I wouldn't have been able to meet otherwise, and has taught me lessons in life that I hold on to to this day. It was the greatest decision of my life. The classes are fun, the Ship's activities and staff are the best, and the memories the trip created are some that I can recall like I was there yesterday. Don't just think about going on it, actually do it. As Homer put it, "The journey is the thing", and it's a journey that will stay with you forever. Take the opportunity to do the program, because you might regret it if you don't.

Beth
Female
31 years old
Denton, TX
Texas Woman's University

Best Experience of My Life!

Overall
10

I traveled with SAS during the summer of 2013 and it was the best summer of my life! The classes were incredible, the ship was great, the friends I made are forever friends, and the experience was truly once in a lifetime!

Crystal
Female
23 years old
Boston, MA
Boston College

Once In A Lifetime Experience

Overall
10

If you love traveling and don't get motion sickness, you should definitely consider SAS. It was by far the coolest program I have ever, or will ever, be a part of and I would do it over 100 times if I could! You have to be ready for certain things, like eating pasta 3 nights a week, or crossing the Atlantic (12 day trek) on the ship, but all things considered, it's a pretty great living situation, you are on a cruise ship after all! You have total freedom to do whatever you want in port cities and there is never a dull moment. You can travel with different groups of people all the time and still maintain a solid friend group on the ship. So many pros that they outweigh any cons.

How can this program be improved?
I would try to get more food options and a more lenient alcohol policy.
Maryum
Female
23 years old
San Diego, California
University of San Diego

Once in a Lifetime

Overall
10

Semester at Sea was undoubtedly the best four months of my life and truly a once in a lifetime experience. I had the chance to visit 13 countries in 111 days while taking classes and making lifelong friends & memories. On the Fall 2011 voyage we traveled to Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Japan, Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Honduras (changed from Cuba last minute). The diversity of the shipboard community is spectacular, as I was surrounded by people with the same adventurous spirit from all different backgrounds, ages, and countries. You wake up every morning with the world to look forward to and a new country on the horizon. Dreams are turned into reality and even bigger aspirations are formed in the meantime. You learn to live a simple life. Your friends and peers become your family. You forget about technology and focus on the moment. Food isn't the best, but you get used to it - taco nights make up for it. Sleep becomes a lost luxury of the past. The world is such a big & beautiful place and experiencing it firsthand changes you in ways you cannot even imagine. It takes you out of your comfort zone and alters your perspective on everything. Even though at times you will feel helpless about the conditions you come across in underdeveloped countries, you become extremely grateful for what you have and learn how you can give back to those in need. You will be driven and inspired to do wonderful things in the world. A semester abroad in Europe would have been great, but not many people can say they circumnavigated the globe on a ship in a whole semester. The opportunities are endless and the journey is what you make of it!

Steven
Male
23 years old
Eugene, Oregon
University of Oregon

Trip of a Lifetime

Overall
10

Semester at Sea was my favorite semester of college. Life on the ship is about academics and socializing with other students. You take classes and attend guest lectures. They bring in speakers from all areas of expertise such as CIA personnel and former ambassadors. Life off the ship is about experiencing the various cultures with the locals. Smoking hookah with Turks in Istanbul was an amazing experience. In addition to individual travel, students attend field labs depending on the class they take. I took a Gender Politics class, and we met with a Moroccan feminist organization and visited an illegal women's shelter. I still keep in contact with other SASers and visit them even though they live all over the world.

How can this program be improved?
Semester at Sea is very expensive.
Dylan
Male
23 years old
Murphysboro, Illinois
Southern Illinois University- Carbondale

A Life-Defining Experience

Overall
9

The semester was the most challenging, yet rewarding, most exciting, most frightening, and most eye opening experience of my life. Imagine waking up in the middle of the ocean, going to the most interesting classes you've ever taken. You then eat lunch, listen to an announcement about daily activities and the current depth and temperature of the ocean, head to class or study, and hang out with your new best friends the rest of the night. You even get a free snack time later.

How can this program be improved?
This program is too expensive, but it is worth the cost.
Mariah
Female
23 years old
Colorado
University of Virginia

Best part of college

Overall
10

if you love to travel do semester at sea! I loved this program, loved the people, loved the ship, and had one of the best experiences of my life. You learn so much about how to travel and become a seasoned traveler in just a few months. Perfect for college aged students

How can this program be improved?
I was not crazy about a few of the ports but that depends on what voyage you pick.
Nicole
Female
23 years old
Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan

The greatest experience I have ever had!

Overall
10

I love to travel, so I was excited at the prospect of a study abroad program that would allow me to visit many different countries in a short amount of time, rather than just immersing myself in one country.

The Semester at Sea experience is one of a kind - not many people can say they lived on a ship for months while taking classes and seeing the world! In the classes I took, the course work often related to the countries we were visiting, which made the lessons more applicable and relevant. I would say the only difficulty I sometimes found was keeping up with the reading in the course work, just because there were so many other things to do in port and around the ship, and there never seemed to be enough hours in the day.

But I think my biggest takeaway from Semester at Sea are the wealth of friendships and memories that I made that summer. The shipboard community becomes incredibly close because you're surrounded by the same people all of the time and going through this amazing journey together. And not only did I form strong friendships with students, but I was able to get to know professors, staff, and their families, too.

I would definitely recommend Semester at Sea to anyone looking for a phenomenal study abroad experience. All I can really say is: do it! You won't regret it!

How can this program be improved?
I believe in the fall and spring semesters of Semester at Sea, students have their classes every other day. I voyaged in Summer 2013, and because of the short time frame, we had class every day. This led to some difficulty in keeping up with the course work because there was no one-day buffer between class days to be able to catch up on work if you were behind.
Marissa
Female
23 years old
At sea.
Other

Semester at Sea is more than a study abroad program

Overall
10

Semester at Sea is more than a study abroad program; it's the first chapter of a new life, a new way to look at the world and the people who inhabit it. At its core, the program boasts the promotion of an international education in which cultural exchange, adventure, and formal education merge to provide a uniquely enriching experience abroad. Unbeknownst to the program however, alumni would disagree. The breadth of impact attributed to moments and experiences abroad with Semester at Sea are innumerable, immeasurable and frankly, unbelievable. The program spans a mere four months of a student's life, yet its influence is resolute. Lifelong friendships are unavoidable.

Dreams are fulfilled, and replaced with new bigger ones. Visions of change are realized. A short visit to the Wikipedia page for Semester at Sea will illuminate a small few of the achievements made by notable alumni. The truth is that Semester at Sea turns dreamers into believers, and believers into achievers. If you want to visit a few countries, take some pictures, and then return to the life you left at home, Semester at Sea is not for you. If, however, you want to see the world for what it truly is, and never be the same again as a result, sign up now for the voyage of your life.

Paola
Female
23 years old
West Haven, CT
University of New Haven

Best experience of my life!!

Overall
10

I went on the Fall 2013 voyage, and SAS truly changed my life as well as my global perspective. I made life-long friends with whom I still keep contact and I now have memories that will one day make great stories for my grandchildren, if I ever have any. Studying abroad in general is a must, but only the Semester at Sea program will make a global citizen out of you!

How can this program be improved?
Maybe if the costs were lower then the program would have absolutely no flaw.
Emily
Female
23 years old
Elon, NC
Elon University

Life Changing

Overall
10

Before the voyage I had no idea what I wanted to do with my future but after my service experiences and traveling I was able to realize that I want to be involved in the Peace Corp, and make a change.

How can this program be improved?
I believe that my voyage had a great balance of locations but the voyages since then have become limited in the types of experiences that the students are receiving and I would like to see the diversity re-expand.
Jay
Male
23 years old
Orono, Maine
University of Maine- Orono (main campus)

Best Experience

Overall
10

The classes were great the way that they incorporated the travel. The food was sub-par, but not a big deal. The security was sometimes annoyingly tight, but it is understandable. The crew are amazing, the professors were great, and the entire ship community is awesome. You get to see so much in such a short amount of time- there is nothing like it. It opened my eyes to traveling in a new way. I had amazing experiences exploring and learning about different cultures. I would do it again in a heartbeat if I could!

How can this program be improved?
Have more of the administration do consecutive voyages
Dani
Female
23 years old
Colorado

Study the World on a Ship

Overall
10

Semester at Sea is the experience of a lifetime and is something that SASers will most likely credit as being the best part of their college experience. Not only do you get to travel the world while taking classes, but you will also meet students and staff from all over the world!

Natali
Female
23 years old
Cerritos, California
Chapman University

It is what you make it

Overall
8

This program was a spectacular way to get a taste test of countries all around the world. We didn't stay in one place long enough to really get know it, but it was definitely enough to get a feel for it and to leave with a knowledge of what areas in the world you would want to return to.
Anyone with an adventurous spirit and a curious demeanor about the world and the cultures that make it up will love this.
You will quickly learn if you have stronger land legs or sea legs. I had the former, which meant I had to readjust when hopping back on the ship but was totally fine stepping off of it. I knew I had a history of motion sickness (even on trains, and I can't read in the car), but that didn't stop me from going on this - it shouldn't to anyone hesitant because of that. And the ship's size helps so it's not too intense.
My roommate was a perfectionist and didn't enjoy herself as freely as most people I encountered, and it was sad to see her complain constantly - if you go on this trip, see the beauty around you and the incredible opportunities that you have just by being able to literally sail around the world. Be grateful and don't cut yourself short of this experience.
The community that naturally happens on this ship is amazing, simply by looking at the vast range in age you get. Also, having your professors bring their families is comforting as well, and bridges the gap between professor and student - I loved hanging out with my professor's son and daughter, and running into them in different countries. The youngest voyager on my trip was 4 years old and the oldest was in her mid 80's.
So it is what you make of it, but you start with a spectacular blank canvas, a ship that circumnavigates the globe. The possibilities!

How can this program be improved?
Cheaper program adventures - haha. And more scholarship options for lifelong learners :)
Samantha
Female
23 years old
London, UK
Saint Mary's College of California

Life Changing

Overall
10

Semester at Sea was the best decision I ever made. I travelled on the Summer 2013 Voyage which included Europe and North Africa. The staff is so supporting, and always available. I also met some of my lifelong friends. The environment created on the ship is one of community which helps each student open up and create memorable experiences and friends. At the same time, the academics are challenging and directly related to the countries you visit. I found everything I learned to me applicable to my surroundings. I have already, and will continue to recommend people for Semester at Sea.

How can this program be improved?
I would have liked to see a wider selection of courses. It may have been because I was on a summer voyage, but more classes to chose from would have been nice.
Nancy
Female
56 years old
San Luis Obispo, CA
California Polytechnic State University- San Luis Obispo

The best there is!

Overall
10

While my experience with SAS was almost 40 years ago, my daughter recently did a semester so I know the quality I had back then is still present. There is nothing like the SAS community to support a look at up to 12 cultures in a relatively small period of time, one semester. The faculty tailor classes to the experiences you may have and sights you will see. But unlike tours, you can make your own way once in port. Nothing in my life, short of motherhood, has had such a profound impact. NOTHING comes close to what I learned or how I grew as a human to my experiences with SAS.

Colin
Male
23 years old
Laguna Beach, CA
University of Oregon

SAS - Travel the World in 4 Months

Overall
10

Semester at Sea was by far the most amazing experience of my life. People are scared by the fact that you have to live with upwards of 500 other students in such close proximity, but that's what makes it so great. You become such good friends with everyone and get to embark on so many amazing experiences with so many different people. What really lured me in was the fact that you get to travel to so many destinations. My voyage started in London then went on throughout Europe, Africa, and South America. We were lucky enough to be the first group of SAS students able to go to Cuba (FA13 represent) which was amazing. The experiences you have, the people you meet, and the places you see make this program one of the best out there. It couldn't be done without the hard work of all of the Semester at Sea employees on the ship and in the states that work so hard to make it this way.

How can this program be improved?
I really cannot think of anything that could improve the program. Maybe the food (carbs on carbs on carbs), but really it just comes down to what you make of it and nothing is truly holding you back from making it the best experience you can.
Carol
Female
23 years old
Kansas City, MO
University of Central Missouri

A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

Overall
10

Semester at Sea (SAS) is the single most beneficial and positive life changing experience I have ever had. If you have major trouble with motion sickness it probably wouldn't be the best program for you. SAS is a sampler platter of the world. Whether you are in port exploring a new culture or sailing on the ship to the next destination you will never be bored. This program is a catalyst for springing people into a world they didn't know existed. SAS has a unique edge over all other study abroad programs. Day to day life on the ship can range from attending class, working out in the gym, sun bathing on the deck, having a prime ocean view while doing yoga, participating in groups/discussions that promote civic engagement and positive change to relaxing all day getting to know friends. I can't stress enough the impact this program will leave on your life!!!

How can this program be improved?
I would offer a better variety of meals on the ship, but it also would not be the same if you didn't have the food to comically complain about!
Audrey
Female
31 years old
Boston, MA
Saint Mary's College of California

Like no other program

Overall
10

Amazing opportunity to learn about a wide variety of cultures as you visit twelve (or so) different countries around the world. The classes adjust their learning to incorporate the countries visited and include fun field trips which provide unique experiences. The freedom granted to students to travel within each country is phenomenal and the experiences unforgettable. The onboard community is tight-nit, inspiring, and diverse. You will never make closer friends faster, and they will become travel companions for the rest of your life. The post SAS community is also amazing, and the alumni bond will be strong no matter what year you sailed. SAS for life!

How can this program be improved?
The onboard food gets a little old, but that makes visiting each country that much better!
Josh
Male
23 years old
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin- Madison

The world really is your campus!

Overall
10

Semester at Sea takes you on a voyage to a dozen or more world ports over the course of a semester - where normal study abroad programs place you in one country, on SAS your ship is your country! You'll live on the beautiful MV Explorer with 500-700 other students from around the country and around the world; I've sailed twice and now have friends in India, Morocco, Singapore, Turkey, and all across the US. The ship has everything you'd expect of a college campus - classrooms, study areas, cafeteria, and even a pool! Classes are challenging but also rewarding, as you'll get to learn about the countries you'll visit, and go on field trips for hands-on experience. For example, I took a marine biology class where we got to visit the world-famous Lisbon Oceanarium, including a behind-the-scenes tour. And don't be deterred too much by the price tag, which is understandably high; many schools will let you use your financial aid, and SAS also offers a number of scholarships and work study opportunities to help you pay your way (I know they helped me tremendously!).

How can this program be improved?
The program can at times be fast-paced - it can be tough to keep going between homework and travel and social events. SAS is beginning a different itinerary schedule, with longer port stays, so it'll be interesting to see if this helps alleviate some of the stress from all the go-go-go.
Brian
Male
23 years old
Buffalo New York
Bentley University

Becoming a Global Citizen

Overall
10

On Semester at Sea you have the opportunity to travel the world. Before visiting each city you're informed through lectures on history, culture and more enabling each student to be maximize their time in port. This understanding of life within the country enables to students to absorb more of their surroundings. They can plan out trips and make conscious decisions of how they would like to spend their time on land. A greater understanding of why people are different around the world creates a sense of excitement and compassion towards citizens around the globe. Semester at Sea makes students realize we live in a diverse world full of beauty. While going through this life changing experience you have the ability to reflect on what it means to you with fellow classmates on the ship. With limited drinking, no internet/ cell phones, and being stuck on a ship together it creates a unique atmosphere for bonding.

How can this program be improved?
This program would be better if it was less costly, being able to spend a full week in each port, and making sure that each student spend a full day with locals at each port.
Stacy
Female
23 years old
chicago, il
Northwestern University

SAS: Best Study Abroad

Overall
10

Can't decide on one place for study abroad? Want the greatest experience ever? Go on SAS; you will not regret it. Time is spent lounging on the ship and exploring in ports. Very high energy & always fun.

Rachel
Female
23 years old
New York, NY
Montclair State University

Greatest experience of my life

Overall
10

Whirlwind of adventure. A new port every 2-3 days, tons of culture, tons of learning, tons of fun. Not for those who want to get into the nitty gritty of one place, but a perfect sampling appetizer for those just getting started on their traveling life! Typical day in port was hours of walking and exploring the local things to do, sometimes big cultural sites, and then nights were spent checking out the nightlife scene. I don't think I slept for 3 months, and I still think about it every day!

How can this program be improved?
I would have loved more freedom with my life on the boat. Very strict rules about what can/cannot be brought on board, very strict curfew laws before class days. I get why it happens, and I get that some things were to keep us safe, but as an adult I felt a little bit insulted that I can't be trusted to plan my time and live with my own consequences.
Ina
Female
23 years old
Oakland, California
University of California- Berkeley

A Cosmopolitan Experience Incomparable To Anything In This World!!!

Overall
10

The choice to study with Semester at Sea was by far the best decision i have made in all my educational choices so far. In no other program, will I have the opportunity to enrich myself in global issues (ranging from economics, health, science, religion, etc.) while witnessing a taste of every culture firsthand in over 15 countries around the world. After this program, I am more aware of global topics related to business, politics, science, and continue to apply what I've learned in both my personal and professional life. Upon completion of Semester at Sea, you will undoubtedly become a global citizen of the world with life-changing revelations, series of self-actualization and newfound ideals/values.

How can this program be improved?
The benefits of this program is greatly "you'll get out of it what you make of it", meaning this program is perfect for individuals who enter countries with an open-mind and is accepting towards learning from/about what deviates from a typical American culture. The program itself is not structure to TELL you want to learn but expect a lot of independent learning, which I loved. The only thing I would change is to have a higher standard for professors to include greater classroom global enrichment or hands/on opportunities.
Leah
Female
23 years old
Toronto, Canada
University of Western Ontario

Semester at Sea, Growth in Travel

Overall
10

Semester at Sea is an unbelievable experience and I would recommend it for anyone interested in expanding their horizons and learning about the world and themselves in a way you cannot match in a classroom. You must be willing to get outside your comfort zone and enter many situations that may make you uncomfortable but you will be better off for it. Sometimes living on the ship for four months can feel stifling, but the ship is necessary for students to visit an incredible number of location in a brief period. The program's academics are of a high quality, with an immense global perspective and in country programs to add to your learning.

How can this program be improved?
This program could be improved with greater preparation and guidance for incoming students. I believe speaking to a past student about their personal experience, including specific things to watch for, pack and prepare for, is invaluable and should be a real part of the school program.
Georgia
Female
23 years old
Elon, NC
Elon University

An Unforgettable Experience

Overall
10

Semester at Sea was the most worthwhile four months of my life. I traveled to three different continents, lived in the middle of the ocean at times, and made lifelong relationships. The classes are engaging and relevant. As your professors live on the ship with you, it's not uncommon to have a class with a professor and then go to lunch and share a meal with them. Semester at Sea is as involved with your traveling within country as you want them to be. You can either get off the ship and explore completely on your own, or sign up for one of their many field programs. I gained a new sense of independence that I wouldn't trade for anything.

How can this program be improved?
There's no getting around the fact that it is expensive. However, fuel is costly and the program isn't charging you more than they have to.
Sarah
Female
23 years old
San Antonio, TX

Changed My Life

Overall
10

This was by far the best decision I've ever made. Everything that I am now can be directly related back to my 4 amazing months aboard the MV Explorer. SAS opens your eyes, opens doors, and opens so so so many possibilities. Hands down recommend to anyone with a passion for meeting people, a love of the great unknown, and a desire to change your life.

How can this program be improved?
The price is hefty, but that can't easily be changed. There are ways of subsidizing the cost if need be, but regardless, it's worth it.
Lindsay
Female
23 years old
Gainesville, Fl
University of Florida

Greatest Experience of My Life

Overall
10

Since you live and travel on a ship, everyone becomes very close. It is a friendly community that evolves with students, teachers, the crew and ship kids. The ship becomes your home while you travel. Every couple of days you wake up in a new country and get to explore with new people. The ocean is your backyard as you study or eat breakfast everyday.

How can this program be improved?
I would bring back the summer voyages and make it more affordable for the semester ones if possible.
Samantha
Female
23 years old
Minneapolis, Minnesota
College of Saint Benedict

Semester at Sea

Overall
10

Semester at Sea was the greatest experience of my whole life. While at sea, we would attend all of our regular classes and have the normal homework load, then when we were in port the time was our own. We would occasionally have certain 'field trip' requirements when we were in the countries, otherwise we could explore and experience the cultures of the countries we were staying in. You can't pass up the amazing experiences that you get on Semester at Sea.

How can this program be improved?
That you could leave the countries that you were visiting. For example, if Semester at Sea was in port in Spain, you could not take a train to France. But it is a very small complaint!
leanna
Female
23 years old
Raleigh NC
Elon University

22,000 nautical miles, 14 counties, counties memories

Overall
10

Living on a cuise ship for 4 months and traveling the world. Don't have you sold yet? Just imaging being in South Africa and a week later in Vietnam. Then off to Costa Rica. All different cultures with different histories and you get to experience them all! Semester at sea is really good at preparing you for the next countries, suggesting what to do some there and even providing excursions to immerse yourself in these rich cultures.

Ship life is amazing too! Living in such close quarters you get really close with your shipmates. And it helps when you can bond over a hike on the Great Wall of China or a camel ride in Morocco. You even get a shipboard family to support you through your journey. There are events like Sea Olympics and The Amazing Race that always keep things interesting.

As for the academics, the professors are all very encouraging and helpful. They also have all had personal experiences with the countries and cultures you visit so are great resources!

If i ever got the opportunity to get back on the ship i would do it in a heartbeat. The friends i made there are some of the best i have and the memories are incomparable to anything else. I highly recommend this program! Can i come with you? ?

How can this program be improved?
They can't change the length of the Pacific Ocean haha
Maybe if i had had a little more guidance before i left i would have known not to pack as much. It's a little pricey but they are very helpful with financial aid and scholarship.
Katie
Female
23 years old
Denver, Colorado
University of Colorado- Colorado Springs

Most memorable semester of my entire life!

Overall
10

Semester at Sea is the best study abroad program ever! Especially if you want to study abroad but aren't sure what country you want to go to. This program allows you to see almost the entire world within one semester. The classes were interesting and relevant, they were challenging but the professors understand that you might be too busy travling to Paris or hiking Table Mountain, to write that paper they assigned. Semester at Sea allows you to travel solo or within pre-planned group outings so no matter what you have options and flexibility. My mom met me in Ireland and the ship staff was super helpful about letting her come on the ship and see where I have been living for the last couple of months. There is always something going on when you are at sea. They had clubs a lot like any normal university would have, although some were unique to Semester at Sea as well. While at sea we had a couple of dances that were really fun, my favorite events while we were sailing was when we crossed the equator and everyone who wanted to shaved their heads and we had to kiss fish, and the Sea Olympics. When I did Semester at Sea I was in my last year of college and one of the things I found most helpful was that they had a specific work study group that would help me with tips on my resume and job searching after school which is more then I can even say for my normal university. The places and things I got to experience were unreal, once in a lifetime things that I will never forget. I met some life long friends from all over the country and the world. The program is a little pricey but I think the amount of value it added to my life definitely makes up for it. Now that I am out of school everyone is so impressed that I did this program that it has actually helped me get my first real job. This seriously is the best program and I would recommend it to everyone.

How can this program be improved?
I wish the program wasn't as expensive, although at the same time I don't think it would have as much quality if it were cheaper. I wish we could have gotten a little more time at each country,some countries it was the perfect amount of time and some countries I felt like I barely got off the ship. For example, most countries we were there 4 days, but some countries we were only there 2 days. Also the food on the ship isn't the best but what else can you expect from them when they have to feed 1000+ people for 4 months. Nothing that needs to be improved are make or break things though for the most part this program is absolutely amazing!
Amy
Female
41 years old
United States
Pennsylvania State University

One of the highlights of my life!

Overall
10

Doing Semester at Sea was one of the best decisions I've made. Unlike the programs that invite students to live in one locale for several months, my study abroad journey allowed me to see 10 countries on 3 different continents and to experience the world. It awoke the travel bug in me and that continues to be one my most cherished passions.

Kelsey
Female
23 years old
Tempe, Arizona
Arizona State University

Semester at Sea - No place I'd rather be

Overall
10

Living on a ship for 66 days sounds like quite the experience and trust me, it was! For 66 days, my life consisted of this. Rolling out of bed 10 minutes before my class started, putting on my bathing suit under my clothes and walking to class with an ocean view. In between classes, I would lay out on the top deck before grabbing a delicious (with 100% sarcasm) lunch of pasta, potatoes and hopefully a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Then I'd have class in the afternoon with some of the best professors I've ever had. Nights would be filled with hanging out by the pool and getting our drink on...of 3 beverages. Every 2-3 days we would arrive in a new place with desire to explore and get as much in as possible.

If I could do Semester at Sea again, I would drop everything and head back to the MV Explorer in a heart beat.

How can this program be improved?
The food gets repetitive but that's what makes it unique!
Kevyn
Female
23 years old
United States
University of Tennessee- Knoxville

my once in a lifetime!

Overall
10

Semester at Sea truly is a once in a lifetime experience! 16 countries, 4 continents, 20+ cities and countless memories! Living on the ocean is one of the many perks, but this program is so unique in its community building ability. The students, staff, faculty and their families become a true community, building bonds unlike any other program can. The classes aren't too hard and the field trips are amazing! It is pricier than many programs, but it is well worth it to see so much of the world. Apply for SAS, sail around the world, join the Wanderlust club :) you will NOT regret it!

How can this program be improved?
If the price was more affordable, I know I would sail again. And it is costly for fuel and such to keep the ship up and running, but if ISE (the Institute for Shipboard Education) could lower the tuition some, that would be awesome!
Victoria
Female
23 years old
Williamsburg, VA
College of William and Mary

Equal Parts Amazing, Equal Parts Horrible

Overall
8

Semester at Sea is a once in a lifetime experience that should be taken advantage of. You will experience the best adventures with some of the most unique people. Unfortunately living on a boat is not as amazing. The food is horrible and is pretty much the same throughout the entire voyage. In addition, the rules enforced by SAS are a bit harsh; I had a friend get drunk tanked (put in a room if you come back to the ship too intoxicated) for having a .09 at the age of 22, which is ridiculous. Also, you can't bring a majority of food products onto the boat or take any food from the dining areas to your room, not even a banana can be found in your room or you get points (10 points=kicked off). Then again, it's not the difficult to follow the rules and finish up the voyage with zero points.

Although ship life can be rough, it's definitely not worth passing up the opportunity of participating in this incredible experience. You will meet lifelong friends and have the best semester of your life.

How can this program be improved?
THE FOOD!
-allowing people to bring fruit and cereal to their rooms
-being more lenient about what food can be brought on the boat
John
Male
31 years old
Twain Harte, CA
University of California- Davis

Semester at Sea is a once in a lifetime experience!

Overall
10

Openned my eyes to the world, how big and how small it feels after the trip. I would strongly recommend this trip, it gives you a much more accurate view of the world (and it makes reading news a lot more fun too).

How can this program be improved?
Make it more accessible to more people, find more sources of funding so that more students can afford this experience
Bethany
Female
23 years old
Charlottesville, Virginia
University of Virginia

Best Experience of my Life

Overall
10

I fell more deeply in love with travel, education, and gaining immeasurable experiences than I could have imagined while traveling with SAS. I made the best memories and amazing friends. SAS was my home.

How can this program be improved?
I think a bit more outreach pre-voyage could work.
Mandi
Female
31 years old
San Francisco, CA
California Lutheran University

Greatest Experience in College

Overall
10

I cannot recommend Semester at Sea enough. It was an absolutely life-changing experience that everyone should have. During the program, you visit 10+ countries, experience cultures and activities around the world and receive world-class education from top professors.

On SAS, I made friends and memories that will last a lifetime.

Shiloh
Female
23 years old
United States
Winona State University

SAS is an incredible journey

Overall
10

There was a lot of anticipation going on Semester At Sea. I knew I would be seeing the world essentially and I'm so glad I did it. Unlike many students on the ship, I only (kinda) knew another girl upon embarking. When you step into a group of 575 people not knowing any one, it's a little intimidating. It's easy making friends though, since each of you have at least one common interest: traveling. Students are always hanging out in the cafeteria, on the upper deck levels, and basically anywhere on the ship. The trip I went on specifically was the Atlantic Excursion, which took us through Europe, parts of Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Cuba. Never in my life did I ever expect to go to Cuba and SAS was able to provide that for me. As a history minor I LOVED seeing Cuba in person. Learning about the history and the impact of European nations was something you just can't learn in a textbook. It's still leaves me in awe that Cuba seems to be living in the 1950s with such grand architecture and I'm a complete advocate for studying abroad and I don't think there is a right or wrong program for students. If you want to see the world, live on ship and make friends that last a lifetime, SAS is for sure the way to go.

How can this program be improved?
I wish it would have been required for all students to take a journaling course so that we would have been able to look back on all our adventures abroad.
Abbey
Female
23 years old
Tempe, Arizona
Arizona State University

A taste of the world in 4 months

Overall
9

This program was a great introduction to international travel and a nice way to get a taste of many different locations. While moving around so much meant that we didn't get to fully immerse ourselves in every country, it was amazing what we were able to learn and experience in just 2-5 days in each place. The stability the ship offered meant consistent food (without food poisoning and taking into account food allergies), small but comfortable, clean living spaces, and medical care regardless of which country we were in. Also, pre-ports and other optional lectures were an incredible, invaluable way to learn about each country before arrival.

Some things to beware of:
-Minimal connectivity to home (just emails while on the ship) and it's very difficult for family/friends to visit because we move around so much. This made relationships challenging, though not impossible.
-There are few, if any, alone times or places to escape on the ship. This made me stir crazy and gave me "cabin fever", especially during long stretches at sea.
-The gym on the ship is not great for cardio lovers.
-Be sure to have extra funding. There were several unexpected charges that came up mid-voyage that threw off my careful budgeting.

How can this program be improved?
-Better study spaces.
-Upgraded gym, esp. more treadmills.
-More choices of low cost field programs.
-Fewer unexpected charges mid-voyage.


Jeremy
Male
31 years old
San Francisco, CA
Washington State University

The most impactful experience of my life

Overall
10

I've been staring at this box for an hour, trying to think of the best way to put my experience into words. Let's start at the beginning:

In college, I'd wanted to travel abroad for years, but never had the finances or fluency in a necessary language or credit match to make it worthwhile. Senior year rolled around, and I was 9 credits shy of finishing a second degree, so I figured I'd stick around for a summer session after my final semester and knock it out. As fate should have it, I sat down in a lecture and a poster on the wall caught my eye: Semester at Sea.

To this day, I remember texting my Mom after class and asking if she had heard about Semester at Sea. I certainly hadn't heard of it. She exclaimed that she had, and nearly got into the program in college herself. So I did some research and was blown away by the experience offered by the Institute of Shipboard Education. Digging deeper, I realized that Semester at Sea offered a ton of financial aid and scholarship opportunities and did have classes that would align with the credits I needed to finish my degree. (At this point, it's important to note that I jumped into the Semester at Sea program VERY last-minute, so I'd suggest not waiting until your final year in college to start researching...)

After making sure everything checked out financially and academically, I did a massive pile of paperwork to apply for a position in the program, as well as for scholarships and aid to make it more affordable. Luckily, I was granted a position on the Summer 2011 voyage around the Mediterranean, and even more luckily, granted a work study position as the Communications Coordinator's assistant, as well as a small scholarship.

Enough about my good fortune, though. I had never traveled outside North America, so I was giddy with the opportunity to finish my college education on this "floating campus," as they dubbed the MV Explorer.

I still remember the anticipation of boarding the ship. The nervous energy around arriving in Nassau, Bahamas (where we boarded) and seeing hundreds of unfamiliar faces who I'd eventually get to know as well as lifelong friends from home.

The guy I split a hotel room with on that first night in Nassau is still one of my closest friends -- he lives 20 minutes from my office in San Francisco. The first person on the entire trip that I met was a girl at the hotel check-in line -- we still talk and have seen each other a handful of times since 2011. I've driven 20+ hours through the snow from California to Colorado with two guys I became close with on the trip -- we met up with 8 other people from our voyage who lived as far away from Colorado as Boston and Virginia and spent four days partying, skiing and reminiscing.

This is the most important memory of my time on Semester at Sea. As cliche as this is bound to sound, some of my best friends were scattered among those hundreds of strange faces in Nassau. It's the most important takeaway from my time on Semester at Sea, because I truly believe that you'll learn as much about life and love and, most importantly, yourself, in a summer of traipsing around Europe, Asia and Africa with 500 strangers as you will in four years of lectures.

For the sake of the review, let's talk about logistics here. First, the academics:

I took four classes on the ship (most people take three, but I needed that last class to finish my degree and the administration allowed it upon request). Poetics of Travel, Travel Writing, Ethnomusicology and Global Studies. The latter is required of every student on every voyage, but it is pretty interesting, honestly. I was a Journalism/Creative Writing major, so the writing classes were write up my alley. I still trade writings with some people I got to know in those classes and keep in touch with the professors. In Ethnomusicology, we essentially studied musical practices of global cultures and it was absolutely mesmerizing!

You only go to class and study and turn in assignments when the ship isn't docked, and besides the way to your first port and the way back home, that's rarely longer than three straight days. Sometimes, you'll have minor assignments at port, but who is going to complain about having to write a paper about what visiting Pompeii meant to them? That's just awesome.

All in all, the academic aspect wasn't extremely aggressive and most of the professors are just as interested in traveling and experiencing new things as the students, which is why they're on the ship in the first place.

Second, the travel:

My voyage embarked from Nassau and traveled to Barcelona, then Naples, then Rome, then Dubrovnik, then Athens, then Sofia, Bulgaria, then Istanbul, then Casablanca, before returning home to Boston. I won't go into too much detail about each place because I want you to experience it yourself, but I can vouch for every single one of those places being just as amazing as you'd expect. When I returned home and people asked me, "What was your favorite country?" I literally had no answer. They all were so fantastic in so many different ways that it would be impossible to choose.

For example, our port in Bulgaria was a last-minute scheduling change from Egypt due to conflict arising in the latter. Needless to say, everyone was a little bit disheartened by that news. But, one of my favorite memories was going on a field trip to a remote Bulgarian village, to which no foreigner had ever been before. We took a tour of the town, met the "Mayor," and were treated to singing, dancing, food and drink for hours.

Lastly, the ship life:

Everyone from the crew to the staff to the faculty to the fellow students were truly a joy to be around. You could stay in your room with your roommates and watch movies together or just wander aimlessly from deck to deck and either way you'd find someone to strike up a conversation with and exchange travel plans.

The administrators did a good job of creating fun activities for us too, including the infamous Sea Olympics and an orientation-day scavenger hunt. I'm still Facebook friends with a crew member named Edward, who was the friendliest, fistbump-giving person on the whole ship. From a small gym, to a pool, to a basketball court, there were always activities to do, which were very necessary when you were feeling cramped and away from land for too long.

It's been more than three years since I finished my voyage in August 2011 and I don't exaggerate when writing that I still think about Semester at Sea every single day. I think about all the friends I've made -- both the ones I kept in touch with and the ones from whom I've drifted -- and long for more adventure in the Italian countryside or the Grand Bazaar in Turkey.

Semester at Sea isn't just a study abroad experience, it's a life-changing study in human relationships. I can't possibly put into words exactly what the trip meant to me, but I can recommend it higher than anything I've ever suggested, for those looking to travel, study and meet new people along the way.

In sum, Semester at Sea made me a better, more opportunistic, happier person. I've forged lifelong friendships and created endless memories that warm me on a daily basis, even years later. Someday, I hope to return as a teacher, administrator or lifelong learner.

Please, if you have the opportunity to do so, GO on a Semester at Sea. It'll be the best decision of your life.

How can this program be improved?
The trip is pricey, but well worth it if you can swing it. Put the work in to apply for aid, scholarships and work study. Find a way to make it happen.
Amanda
Female
23 years old
San Diego, CA
Baylor University

SAS

Overall
10

Semester at Sea (SAS) is an incredible program that allows students to travel all over the world while studying on a "floating campus". After learning that students travel via cruise ship to different countries around the world, I was sold. Other important factors that drew me to SAS was that it's not a major specific study abroad program, students have free travel in every country, and it is very affordable.

I was lucky enough to sail with one of my best friends from high school. Looking back, I still would have decided to participate on Semester at Sea even if my friend didn't go. I met so many different types of people while on board the MV Explorer. In fact, I met one of my best friends on my voyage! Every person was just as excited as me, if not more, to set sail in the Mediterranean. Getting the names of my roommates the day we boarded the ship made me a little nervous, but we all got along just fine. I never had an issue with my roommates and there was enough elbow room for everyone in our cabin.

The rigor of the classes wasn't what I was expecting. At the time of my trip, the hosting institution was University of Virginia. I was prepared to do lots of studying but was happily surprised to learn how casual the classes were. The homework and exam load is very do able and the professors understand students don't want/ have time to study while in port. The Field Programs (mandatory class field trips) were worth my time and money. An example of one of my Field Programs: going to a winery in Spain to learn about their winemaking process then had a 6 course lunch overlooking the vineyards. It was amazing! In general field programs never took up more than half a day, were fun, and somehow never interfered with my travel plans.

A highlight of the trip was backpacking Italy with my friend. We had 1 week, 2 backpacks, and 1 laptop to get us through 4 different cities. We had made plans to do most of the site seeing by ourselves and then take advantage of a full day Rome tour offered by SAS. I wouldn't have done it any other way. It was so much easier to take our time in the cities we liked and hop on a train whenever we wanted to leave. Utilizing the SAS Rome tour was the best decision we made in that country. We were exhausted at the end of the week and I don't think we would've visited half the museums and tourist spots if we were on our own. The Rome tour included tickets to every "hot spot" in the city, a tour guide who spoke English, and an air conditioned bus ride back to the ship. That's a win in my book.

Ultimately I would definitely recommend SAS to everyone. There are plenty of financial aid opportunities offered through the program and some universities will give you aid as well. Take advantage of this amazing program! You won't regret it!

How can this program be improved?
Bring back the summer voyage. I heard it was cut because of the budget, but I think most students would like to travel during the summer. It's much harder to miss a whole fall or spring semester at the home university.

I would also suggest that the hosting institution have academic credit that transfers to ALL universities. My university is very strict on transferring classes so I ended up with 9 elective units instead of 9 units towards my majors.
Chelsea
Female
23 years old
Austin, TX
University of Oregon

Semester at Sea

Overall
10

This is the best program if you want to see multiple different countries! On days when you are at sea, you are in classes and days when you are in port, you are exploring...what is better than that!

How can this program be improved?
The food on the ship was a little repetitive with there being a pasta every day. Other than that, this program was great!
David
Male
23 years old
Columbia, Sc
Medical University of South Carolina

Semester at Sea 2013

Overall
10

The program is great for people that are more interested in overall exposure rather than immersion. It gives you the opportunity to observe and experience many different countries and cultures while taking classes.

The professors are amazing and you live with them on the ship. This gives you the opportunity to build the professor-student relationship beyond the classroom. They work really hard to help students see the world through a global lens and develop a cross-cultural awareness.

The best part of the time off the ship is that you have to think on your feet. You can go anywhere in the country of port so you learn to roll with the punches and make the most of it. Its also great to be able to travel in groups of other students so you never feel lost.

I would recommend Semester at Sea to anyone. Although do be advised that the trip is very pricey, the students are almost all American and mostly white. The trip is what you make it, you can either party you butt off or pursue cultural aspects of each county. In my trip we managed to do both.

How can this program be improved?
Sometimes they have to change ports on the fly due to things out of their control in certain countries. For instance, in my trip we could not go to Istanbul due to the student riots of 2013 and had to go to Crete instead which was not nearly as exciting.
Erin
Female
23 years old
New York, NY
New York University

Opened my eyes to the people of the world

Overall
8

I sailed on Semester at Sea during the Fall 2013 voyage around the Atlantic. I was actually on crutches for the first month of the voyage, and then in a boot for the rest, so I had a very interesting experience. That being said, I am very grateful that I went and have grown so much because of it. A typical day on the ship will include breakfast, then a class or two, then lunch, then I would be done! I'd often do homework on an outside deck in the sun, or read while sunbathing. I read a lot of books while we were at sea. I would also attend special seminars in the evening that would be about the next port we were visiting or about a professor's expertise, including a session on favelas in Brazil, and even a talk about living and working in space by our two astronaut professors. When we were in port, there is no typical day, and every day is a new adventure. I saw theatre in Dublin on a whim, met phenomenal people in a township in South Africa, traveled through the Amazon, saw baseball in Cuba, the stories go on and on. Some people experienced sea sickness but I loved the rocking of the ship at night as I fell asleep. I met some incredible people who are very passionate about exploring and bettering the world who I remain in contact with. I had the travel bug before Semester at Sea and since the voyage I only want to continue exploring the world. While this program is very different from a traditional immersion experience, there was no other way I would have been able to see so much of the world in so little time.

How can this program be improved?
The food on the ship was not my favorite, and that was the biggest drawback. We were able to bring snacks on board, and that was helpful, but in general the food services were disappointing.
Kathryn
Female
23 years old
Pennsville, NJ
Rowan University

sas is the best!

Overall
10

I had always wanted to study abroad in Europe, but when I found SAS instead I knew it would be so much better. I can always go to Europe on my own, but the experiences I would gain with SAS would be much more difficult independently. I went to countries that I would probably never imagined traveling to on my own. Even better I was there with the safety of a company over me. SAS really preparea you for each country, from making sure you know the exchange rate to also knowng how to contact all relative authorities (police, hospital, embassies). Inforation that would have been more difficult to find on my own.

How can this program be improved?
I would make it a longer program so that we could spend more time in each country.
Jessica
Female
23 years old
Hoboken, NJ
Stevens Institute of Technology

Best Test Taste Ever

Overall
8

Semester at Sea is great for getting a taste of different cultures and different countries. I would recommend the program to anyone! I hope to return as an alumna one day!

The only complaint I have is on the Summer 2013 Voyage our Academic Dean forced our Professors to give more deliverables. I needed a B to get credit; thus balancing schoolwork, traveling, and socializing was a struggle. Sometimes I wonder if I ever recovered from sleep deprivation that summer. For example, when I was in France and Barcelona, I spent a lot of my time working on a research paper.

The crew members are amazing, the experiences are unforgettable, and the giggles never stopped.

How can this program be improved?
Less stress on class deliverables. Participation is class should be stressed.
Erin
Female
23 years old
Middletown, CT
University of Connecticut

Life-changing Experience

Overall
10

Semester at Sea was an incredible was for me to experience around 17 different countries, while still getting an eye-opening education and making friends. Living on a cruise ship with 400 other students is a great way to branch out and throw yourself into completely different cultures alongside your friends. Since the teachers live on the ship with you, you really get to know them and see them all the time. The program wants to make sure you don't have time to feel homesick by constantly planning fun events and activities in between ports. I would highly recommend this program and it has definitely made a lasting impact on me.

Taylor
Female
23 years old
Keene, NH
Keene State College

Can't imagine doing any other program!

Overall
10

Semester at Sea gives you the opportunity to live with college students from around the world, along with your teachers and their families, travel the world via oceans and seas, all while taking classes. I went on SAS without knowing anyone, now I have lifelong friends all over the country and the world. I went to markets in Morocco, volunteered at a cultural youth center, went on hikes, went on a jeep tour, went to Pamukkale, partied in Barcelona, along with SO much more I NEVER thought I would get the opportunity to do. I thought I would never be able to go on SAS because it was too expensive, but I got almost the whole tuition in scholarships and traveled as cheap as possible while still having the best time of my life. I learned so much about myself, other cultures, tried SO much new food, saw DOLPHINS & WHALES, and had the most influential teachers. Advice: wake up for sunrises, they're the most amazing sunrises youll ever see, don't spend all your money on partying but definitely experience the nightlife & explore cities LATE at night with a group!

How can this program be improved?
I have been thinking long and hard about this one and the only think I can think of to be improved is the food. I don't think anyone else really minded it but as someone with celiac disease there wasn't always many options for me. It definitely was manageable though and once I talked to the kitchen staff they were more than happy to work with me! Advice: bring bread or crackers for "snack time" when everyone else is eating cookies and PB&J !!
Alana
Female
23 years old
Boston, MA
Boston University

Unbelievable Experience Tainted by Bad Reputation

Overall
10

Semester at Sea has a reputation among some institutions as being a party cruise. While there are a population of students on each voyage whose first mission in each and every country is to find the closest bar (love those USD kids), it is also an unparalleled experience not offered anywhere else. 11 countries in 4 months with true freedom given to students to explore is a breeding ground for party-seekers on a parent dime. However, as in my case, it is also bred a traveler who found her independence, determination and capability of wonder.

Academics were rigorous. Living conditions were-yes- extremely nice, being on a renovated cruise ship. But, hey, it's still a big step for a lot of people to crunch down living space to approx. 30 square feet and call a boat home for 4 months.

I recommended SAS to everyone. 3 friends took me up on it. We each had amazing and different experiences, but were able to relate to so much of each other's experiences. Both regarding ship life and traveling.

To be improved: Financial aid should match whatever student is receiving at university. On the flip side, would have loved opportunities for students without financial aid or work study to work on board. Working on board- for those who sought a job or needed the money, despite receiving no official work study- would have been a great way to support travel and integrate into the ship community.

How can this program be improved?
See above.
Alex
Male
23 years old
San Diego, CA
University of San Diego

SAS

Overall
10

Semester at Sea is hands down the best way to see as much of the world as possible during a study abroad experience. The variety of cultures, both on the ship and in the various ports, is unmatched. I considered Semester at Sea the best decision I have ever made, and it has transformed me into a global citizen.

Samantha
Female
23 years old
Newton, MA
University of Maine- Orono (main campus)

Strong academics, great professors, lots of drunk freshmen.

Overall
10

I was a senior in college when I did this program (which went to Europe and North Africa). It was great that I got to meet people that were Juniors and Seniors, but social wise people were more into being of drinking age, going out, and getting completly wasted in port. The professors were great, some of the staff were nice and some really unhelpful- however, the staff changes every voyage so don't let that keep you from going! If you go out and explore, do a mix of SAS programs and not. For the countries I didn't feel as comfortable in I did a city tour the first morning or day to get my berrings with a group, THEN went out with friends. There were good, bad, and downright ugly times but overall I'd definitely go again. Best part? Over a year later and I still talk to my ship friends everyday. Once in a lifetime experience.

How can this program be improved?
Some of the higher up staff on the shil were terrible at handling issues, and the home office was incredibly rude to my mom and myself on more than one ocassion.
Meredith
Female
23 years old
Charleston, South Carolina
Other

The most gratifying experience I have ever had

Overall
10

Semester at Sea is, as they all say, a truly life changing experience for all of the right reasons. Looking back, I have no regrets except for sleeping because if I didn't absolutely NEED sleep SAS would've been my reason not to. There is not one moment where there isn't someone interesting and exciting to talk to, something fascinating and eye opening to see, and even a dull moment. I would live on that ship if I could and be totally and completely happy with my life.

How can this program be improved?
Although there was always something yummy to eat, I kind of wish they didn't give so many carb options
Paige
Female
23 years old
Los Angeles, California
Columbia College Chicago

One of the Most Memorable Summers of my Life

Overall
10

There is so much to be said about Semester at Sea. First off you live, travel and study on an incredible ship (don't make the mistake of calling it a boat). And this ship becomes home and everyone on board becomes extended family. Teachers and their families become life long friends and life long learners become mentors and travel companions. The back deck is a study room, a ping pong palace, a pool side resort and frequent reading nook all wrapped in one. There is something to be said about studying outside and looking up to see the never ending blue of the ocean. You will have to train yourself to walk, work out and play basketball on swaying grounds but after a while you learn to love the movement as it rocks you to sleep at night. And don't under estimate Taco Night, PB&J Sandwiches and the Chocolate Chip cookies, all of these things will develop a new meaning in your life.

Traveling with SAS is really great because you are provided the freedom to pack a bag and take off on your own/with some friends or you can sign up for the awesome trips that SAS has already planned out. As long as you make it back to the boat before it leaves the port you have complete freedom to make each stop your own personal adventure.

Traveling with Semester At Sea was one of the best decisions I ever made and I would do it again in a heart beat. Who knows maybe I'll wait and go as a life long learner in the future. If you are looking for a unique and rewarding experience definitely sign up for Semester at Sea.

How can this program be improved?
hmmmmmmm.... This is hard because I really can't think of many. Maybe having more events to meet teachers/ life long learners because they all have such a vast experience in not only life but in travel as well and I would have loved to meet more of them to have absorbed all their wisdom.
Kelsey
Female
23 years old
Eugene, Oregon
University of Oregon

Semester at Sea Review

Overall
8

It was the best summer I have ever had. I would do it again if I could. I highly recommend it. It was amazing. I met so many people that I am still good friends with today. It was so fun. I got to experience so many things that I otherwise wouldn't have.

How can this program be improved?
I would change the price.
Anna
Female
23 years old
Connecticut
American International College

Having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world...

Overall
10

Semester at Sea has changed my life by making me comfortable with the uncomfortable. At first, the idea of spending an entire summer with complete strangers is nerve wrecking, but by the end of the voyage, the SAS community became a lifelong support system in itself. There is no one way to explain what SAS is and no one will understand what you experienced. For me, the best thing that SAS offered was opening my eyes to my future career. While visiting a small village in Bulgaria, I realized that I wanted to be an occupational therapist. When asked why OT? I immediately am brought back to that one day in Bulgaria, a day that would not have happened without SAS. At the same time, its very assuring to know you have met life long friends who you may not see everyday or talk to everyday but you know you can count on them. You immediately have a unbreakable bond because they understand what you've experienced. Semester at Sea also changes you as a person. What you think you believed in, your values and opinions change or develop even more so when experiencing different cultures. You become more appreciative and caring and more globally driven.

How can this program be improved?
I would of loved to have the opportunity to take a variety of classes. I know one of the reason's why I did not do a longer voyage was because of courses offered. As a science based profession, having more opportunity to participate in SAS would be a great benefit for more students.
Alice
Female
23 years old
Plattsburgh, NY
State University of New York- Plattsburgh

Enrichment Voyage! Short Term Study Abroad

Overall
10

I was so lucky to have had the chance to experience a study abroad! As a nursing student, it's difficult to take a whole semester away from studying, but Semester At Sea offered a short term abroad program over the winter break to travel to 8 countries over 23 days. I absolutely loved the ship life and the voyage of meeting new people, learning new things, and seeing many different cultures. Unfortunately, the program is discontinued now but I'd recommend the full semester to anyone who has the strong desire to travel and experience the world and has the head and stomach for a rocking ship every now and then. The support of the ship was a family and the experience to study while away at sea was breathtaking and serene. The professors were incredible speakers and the students were invested in learning and exploring. I dream of returning one day soon!

How can this program be improved?
BRING BACK ENRICHMENT VOYAGES!
As someone who has a major that has such a structured and rigorous program, the short term abroad gave me an opportunity I never thought possible.
Bridget
Female
23 years old
Oregon
University of Oregon

AMAZING EXPERIENCE

Overall
10

Semester at Sea was by far the most amazing experience I have had in college. I studied on a cruise ship with 600 other college students, and every few days we arrived in a new country, where we explored!

Miles
Male
23 years old
Columbia, Missouri
University of Missouri- Columbia

Best Semester(s) of My Life

Overall
10

I have been fortunate enough to sail with two Semester at Sea voyages. Each of the voyages were absolutely phenomenal experiences leaving my with a changed perspective and broadened mind. While I have had the pleasure of traveling to over 40 countries (with more trips currently in the works), I can honestly say that no adventure has impacted me in the intimate and incredible ways that Semester at Sea has. The academic environment and students only compliment this incredible program. I am a proud alumnus of the program and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone!

How can this program be improved?
The program is fairly expensive for participants, which can certainly be a limiting factor. Additionally, the Semester at Sea program is a large financial burden and this can lead to complex issues such as internal finances and academic affiliation/sponsorship.
Stephanie
Female
23 years old
Forked River, NJ
Georgian Court University

Semester of a Lifetime

Overall
10

Semester at Sea was the best semester, and experience, of my life. It allowed me to do what I love, travel, on a way that met my specific needs and interests. Any major can be incorporated into the program because there are so many lectures, guests, clubs, or trips that incorporate every interest available. In addition, it was an endless learning experience because everything I learned in class, I was able to apply in the places we visited, and vice versa.

How can this program be improved?
I cannot think of something I would really like to improve. If I had to pick something, maybe a variety in the food selections. Although the food is based on the ports of call and what's available there, try to switch up some recipes more.
Danielle
Female
23 years old
Ventura, California
California Lutheran University

Life changing experience

Overall
10

semester at sea was a once in a lifetime, life changing experience. By traveling to so many countries you really develop a world view and appreciation for others and their cultures. It was a fun, difficult, and exciting challenge to try to communicate with the locals in each new country and new language. Ship life was equally as amazing. The community of students, staff, crew, families, and lifelong learners was one I have never experienced before. Everyone is so kind and caring and you are never afraid of being who you truly are.

How can this program be improved?
This program could only be improved by more students signing up for it and the program then receiving some more of the needed funding to run it.
Abby
Female
23 years old
United States
University of Denver

Awesome opportunity

Overall
6

Great way to see so many different places. Ship life wasn't my favorite, but there are fun aspects to it if you make the most of it. There is definitely no better way to travel to three different continents in less than four months, but the trip is not cheap. My biggest complaint was the food. Overall, there are pros and cons - some people loved it and some really struggled.

Nicole
Female
23 years old
philadelphia
Saint Joseph's University

Open your eyes to the world around you

Overall
10

If you're looking for a different abroad experience and want to really open your eyes to the world around you, than this program is for you. You will have the chance to gain a cross cultural lens and experience first hand a large variety of cultures.

How can this program be improved?
It would be nice to have a longer amount of time in some ports.
Ali
Female
31 years old
Boston, MA
Pace University

Changed My Life

Overall
10

Choosing to go on SAS was one of the best decisions of my life. I have met lifelong friends, learned more things than I did in all my years at schools, and I met the love of my life. What more can you ask for? The vibe on the ship is like camp, but even better. You are surrounded by amazing people and staff who are adventurous, smart, and passionate about the beautiful world we live in. I am thankful every day for going on Semester at Sea!

How can this program be improved?
This is a really hard question! I would say maybe to be able to stay at ports longer. Oh, and taco day to be more often ;)
Taylor
Female
23 years old
Fort Collins, CO
Colorado State University

Semester At Sea Changed My Life

Overall
10

Traveling is something that I've always loved to do, visiting many different countries and even living abroad for a year and a half with my family. So imagine my excitement when I realized that I could study abroad with a program that visited 15 different countries on four continents! I saw and experienced people and places that I will never forget, but also built a community unlike any other on the ship itself. The MV Explorer became my home, my safe haven, my sanctuary. Semester At Sea allowed me to open my eyes, and my heart, to the world.

How can this program be improved?
I would add one more port in Africa and one more port in South America.
Brittany
Female
23 years old
Charlottesville, VA
Western Illinois University

Gained a Global Perspective...forever changed!

Overall
10

Semester at Sea is the single most influential experience of my life. I've never learned so much in one summer. If I could wish something for everyone, it's to sail a voyage with this program!

How can this program be improved?
More students to participate! When I sailed we were at capacity, recently it's been a hundred or so less.
Ryan
Male
23 years old
United States
University of San Diego

Semester at Sea

Overall
10

Semester at Sea is the time of your life. You will become closer with a group of people than you ever could have imagined. The adventure of being in a new place with new friends every single day is the best part. Do it.

Brianna
Female
23 years old
Denver, CO
Jacksonville University

Semester at Sea - Best 2 Months of My Life!

Overall
9

SAS is the best because you get to travel the world instead of staying in one place! You may not be as immersed in culture but you get to see everything. Lots of rules on the ship, classes are challenging, but it's all worth it because the things you experience off the ship with your shipmates are unforgettable.

How can this program be improved?
The rules and disciplinary system are obviously necessary for safety and efficiency reasons but there needs to be a better review process and bigger review committee. Punishment was very quick to be handed out.
Lauren
Female
23 years old
Tampa, Florida
University of Tampa

It will change your life

Overall
10

Life changing is the only thing I can say that encompasses my experience traveling the world with Semester at Sea. The program pushes you out of your comfort zone while allowing you to do things, see things, eat things, and experience things that you never thought you would. You becoming uniquely close to the people living with you on the ship, the people who are experiencing the world around you. No one else will ever understand what you experienced. There is no other program where you can stand under the Eiffel Tower, eat a belgian waffle in Belgium, surf in Portugal, sleep under the stars of the Sahara Desert, watch a lion eat a buffalo in the bush of South Africa, see one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and piranha fish in the Amazon all in the span of four months. The academics are more unique than studying in one location because you are able to live the culture you just learned about. If you want to see the world, expand your mind, understand cultures and people, push yourself, and return a different person then this is the perfect program for you.

How can this program be improved?
Make it longer!
Andrew
Male
23 years old
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Semester at Sea is the best choice I ever made!

Overall
10

You spend 4 months on an educational voyage to over ten different countries while taking classes taught by experts in their respective fields. You discover so much about the world, but even more about yourself! This is the absolute best opportunity to discover the world and find yourself in it!

How can this program be improved?
Well, my suggestion would be to spend more days in each port, but they announced a few months ago that that is something they will be doing now! I guess I would just encourage students to take advantage of the opportunities and maybe some more partnerships from Semester at Sea with national and international NGOs and governmental agencies.
Kristy
Female
23 years old
San Diego
University of San Diego

Experience of Lifetime

Overall
10

Semester at sea is once in a lifetime. I have made lifelong friends, traveled to countries I never imagined going to, and now have memories to last a lifetime. I have gained experiences that very few will have and even everyday ship life was a blast. If I could go back right now I would.

How can this program be improved?
The food variety is limited and not very good. It is especially hard for those without peanut allergies (which I have).
Sam
Female
23 years old
Monmouth Junction, NJ
Rutgers University

Best Experience of My Life!!

Overall
10

Going on semester at sea was the best life decision I have ever made. I was able to connect with people from around the world and make life long friends. All of the professors are more than willing to help and encourage you to not be afraid of trying new things and seeking new experiences. They give you enough freedom to make the voyage your own while giving enough guidance to keep you safe. The ship becomes your home, and everyone becomes your family. This is more than an academic study abroad program but something that you will take with you for the rest of your life. It is like a way to start new and, for me, was a great way to end my undergraduate career and get a jump start on life in the real world.

How can this program be improved?
Offer more science/environmental/zoological courses and field programs
Michael
Male
23 years old
San Diego, CA
University of San Diego

Best Decision of My Life

Overall
10

By far the greatest experience Ive had! Everything from ship life to being in port to the classroom experience was Incredible, 10/10 would go right now if I could. Highly recommend SAS to anyone and everyone who wants to not only see but experience the world

How can this program be improved?
You say no program is perfect? Well this one is
Danielle
Female
23 years old
Fort Collins, CO
Colorado State University

Experience Multiple Cultures and Make Lifelong Friends All While Living on a Ship

Overall
10

It's a ship, not a boat. It's starboard, not right. It's port, not left. Dock time, pre-port, post-port, A days, B days, port days, pasta, potatoes, 2230 snacktime. These are all terms that become part of a "SASers" vocabulary. There are students, lifelong learners, professors, professor's families, and the crew. Everyone becomes a family. It is an experience of a lifetime in which you get to live on a 590 ft ship renovated to serve as a floating university. You will make friends from all over the world while experiencing over a dozen countries. Over a year later and there's not a single day that goes by that I don't think about my experience on SAS and wish I could have those same adventures again. Do yourself a favor and apply to have the best abroad experience of your life.

How can this program be improved?
I would give students more opportunities to apply for scholarships/work study.
Kathy
Female
23 years old
Isla Vista, California
University of California- Santa Barbara

All Around the Atlantic in 100 Days

Overall
8

I was lucky enough to do the Semester at Sea program during my junior year of college. I loved the sense of adventure and community everywhere I went, both in countries and on the ship. As a WOC, I wish I got more support in that sense since people of my ethnicity and socioeconomic background don't typically get the chance to travel abroad as often. We had limited time in each country so we really did try to make the best of it! I wish I and the program itself tried our best to really build community and connections in the countries we were in, rather than just doing a quick few volunteer projects (that seemed a bit White Savior, esque) or just simply trying to do everything at once. I wish we just soaked in the culture and the city.

How can this program be improved?
More support to different demographic groups
Interactive faculty selection
More insight on each country (less superficial)
Sammy
Male
23 years old
Denver, Colorado United States
Our Lady of the Lake University

IF YOU WANT TO LIVE, YOU HAVE TO READ THIS! - 4 Semesters Abroad with Semester at Sea

Overall
10

You are probably here because you desire to Experience The World, Undergo A College Experience Unlike Any Other, Find your passion, Meet Amazing Individuals, Actually Learn And Retain What Your Studying, Get Away From Reality, Get Transferable Credits, Be Able To Afford To Study Abroad, Get The Best All Around Study Abroad Program, Make A Positive Change In The World, Become More Of A Global Citizen, and Live Life To The Fullest! I was in your shoes four years ago seeking to embark upon the adventure of a lifetime by attending a study abroad fair on campus. I now am a FOUR SEMESTER ALUMNUS (4 Voyages) of Semester at Sea (SAS) and have attended TWO of their Enrichment Voyages ever since to try to keep living the dream of what it was to be on that ship during a semester in college!

Experience The World

The word "study abroad" should not limit you to one country, as the word abroad should indicate the exposure to the world you can obtain from studying outside of your country. With traditional study abroad programs you select a country in efforts to try to immerse yourself and become a part of that culture and country for that semester. In your spare time you may visit surrounding places, areas, countries and cultures within your capability and budget. Now, with Semester at Sea you select from the available itineraries that depend on the semester, political issues, fuel planning, safety, and educational opportunities for being in those places at the time of your study. Common itineraries have been The Mediterranean & North Africa, Northern Europe & The Atlantic, Central & South America, Asia & The Pacific, and AROUND THE WORLD! You travel anywhere between 8 to 15 countries countries during the semester, averaging about 3 days in them, and live onboard of a Cruise Ship reconstructed to create a university atmosphere and community. I underwent most of their itineraries, encompassing a total of 50 different countries in 6 voyages, amounting to about a total of 1.25 years of travel time. Now, being in a country for minimum of a day or a maximum of a week of course does not compare to an actual semester in one place, however, the culture shock that you receive from constantly traveling to new places every couple of days truly gets you out of your comfort zone and forces you to adapt and experience the world, enhancing your overall global perspective. This allows for students to visit and experience an array of places, out of which they can ultimately decide if they ever wish to return to any of those countries, perhaps on their second semester abroad. I mention this because as a student in mostly all universities, you are allowed a year of studying abroad, not including summers. WIth all this said, my favorite semester itinerary was the Around The World, since you truly got to see most of the world and its diversity within those three and a half months living and studying at sea.

Undergo A College Experience Unlike Any Other

One of the main reasons your probably wanting to study abroad is to undergo such a unique adventure because maybe your college life lacking something, or you feel there is so much more in to college than what your presently experiencing. I know this was a strong influence for me, and Semester at Sea is by far the BEST COLLEGE EXPERIENCE I've had! There are so many factors that contribute to your ultimate semester with SAS. You live amongst a range of between 500-800 students, 100-200 Faculty and Staff, and about 200 Crew Members. You literally are on a floating campus and you are inclined to interact and create some of the best friendships of your life due to the atmosphere and lifestyle you are to live and study in for the semester. You are always traveling which is what studying abroad should be about, especially since you are spending all that money. Your meals are included (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), although sometimes repetitive, in a buffet method, which for a college student is heaven since you don't have to worry about cooking or spending money. Your classes are spread out between A and B days, minimum of 4 classes maximum of 5 in a Fall or Spring semester, which gives you ample time to catch up your movies and tv shows, sleep, tan, physical fitness, artistic projects, port planning, social life, and of course homework and studying :) You honestly have so much freedom on board the ship, with so many meeting areas and hang out spots, and there is even a nightly event called Pub-Night that allows 18 year olds and over to enjoy a maximum of three beverages (beer, wine, wine cooler) per night. The lifestyle you have on the ship is definitely not as technologically dependent as it is in our modern world, since you are only given 2-4 hours of free internet time during your semester, mainly used for research projects, and its expensive to buy minutes. However, if you have the money and need the internet, it is there, but not strong enough for skype or anything that consumes heavy bandwidth, yet there is unlimited free emailing. But in all honesty, it is this seclusion of the technological world and introduction into the real world that makes this program what it is. You'll have enough time later for catching up with friends and family, posting pictures, and keeping all your followers updated on your travels. Your time on Semester at Sea is so unique in its atmosphere with so much free time on your hands that you'll decide to try out new things you didn't have time to do before. You might learn how to make video projects, play an instrument, learn a workout routine, become involved with a philanthropic organization on board, and actually have time to be involved in school organizations onboard the ship. Lastly, the accessibility you have to people onboard the ship is insanely awesome, since you can hang out as much as you want without having to drive or travel far to reach them, they are a a phone call away, and you live with your professors and their families. This is by far one of the best things of the programs since the professors are experiencing what you are experiencing and can relate that into the classrooms, they are also always there to assist their students due to their proximity to them, and they cater their courses to the itineraries and that which is happening throughout the voyage. You have all the basic necessities and departments on board the ship, like doctors, phycologists, snacks, a library, a computer lab, IT, an auditorium, a spa, a gym, a pool, campus store, etc.

Find your passion

With so much time in your hands and so many talented individuals around you, you can definitely pick up on a few things by the end of the semester. You may learn an instrument, become politically active, learn about subjects otherwise unknown to you, begin doing service projects, study an elective that will change your life, or like many hope to do by embarking on this program, find who you are and where you want to be in life after college. This seems to be a huge question that students face before going on Semester at Sea, or even college. THey wish to know what they want to do the rest of their lives, and a part of doing that is experimenting and exploring options. It took me a lot of exploration and experimenting to find something I was passionate about, but after my fourth voyage I found what it was. Passions then become careers, and some of them become globally impacting, like Adam Braun, alumnus of 2005, with Pencils of Promise, or Jeff Steitz, alumnus of 2011, with Serengetee. The diverse pool of students allows for an intermix of ideas, projects, and activities that spark passions amongst the students. My passion was traveling before I began this program, and out of that passion surfaced many others through Semester at Sea.

Meet Amazing Individuals

I know it sounds like a cliche to say some of your strongest friendships form on this ship. This is because just like you, there are hundreds of other students looking to have the best experience of their lives during the semester, and for the most part you all experience the same kinds of culture shocks, challenges, cultural events, life on board the ship, and exhilarating traveling scenarios. In terms of student life, the beginning of the semester holds a lot of introductions and networking, as students seek to find their place on board the ship, and meet people with similar interests and aspirations. The student life department facilitates this by hosting an array of events and activities on board to encourage this kind of interaction amongst students. As time progresses though, students begin to form their friend and travel groups, which is good but as a prospective student reading this, you should always aim to meet as many people and travel with as many different groups in order to obtain the most out of your experiences. There are more than 50 campuses that are represented on board the ship, most students came by themselves, and some of them came with their colleagues. This creates a interesting atmosphere because there are different ideals and views from all these students with vastly different backgrounds, and the professors also come from different institutions, so their methods of teaching and hosting a class can vary. Also, there are many opportunities throughout the voyages to meet outstanding individuals, sometimes they live with you for some or most of the voyage. They can range from students to staff, faculty, inter-port lecturers, lecturers, crew, special guests, and life-long learners. Some examples I can think of have been, Desmond Tutu, Bill Nye, Adam Braun (Pencils of Promise), Jeff Steitz (Serengetee), Paul Muldoon, and everyday heroes like professor John Boyer (Plaid Avenger), and many more. This is solely on board the ship, but that is not including the people you meet outside the ship during your travels. You become so intrigued and excited throughout your travels that meeting locals and interacting with them becomes inevitable and some of your classes require those interactions for your coursework or research project. During these interactions you may find yourself meeting some of the most interesting or inspiring individuals or groups. I'll finish this section by mentioning one of the hot topics, being that of dating on board the ship. There are three types of dating scenarios on board the ship: couples before the voyage, couples that form during the voyage, and singles that are ready to socialize. Relationships, no matter what type they are, form a stronger bond between them after being together during the voyage and undergoing life changing events and moments together. I like many, met the most beautiful person inside and out through the program, and went from knowing nothing about her to moving to her city for her because of the bonds we created and the memories that will forever be carried with us.

Actually Learn And Retain What Your Studying

Most people select electives to be taken through this program, but for me out of 16 courses (48 credits) only 2 were electives (6 credits). I chose to do core classes on the ship because you are applying what you are studying to the real world, and you actually get to practice your discipline, making as they say "the world your classroom!" This is one of the reasons I kept coming back since your studies went beyond the textbook, and your classroom was always adapting to its surroundings and making the most out of your experiences and your time in ports. Needless to say, the electives I took were amazing too, and by far the most impacting for me. One of those electives was Geography of Wine, and aside from being an appealing course itself, I can honestly say that this elective has allowed me to find a career path and a desire for further continued education in what I studied on Semester at Sea. Since your education coincides with your memories while traveling the world, the lessons you learn leave an everlasting impression on you that you will always remember and cherish. Some courses even have a philanthropic aspect, almost like service learning, in which your lessons allow for your involvement in a local community and consequently allow you to make a difference while the class makes a difference in you.

Get Away From Reality

Being on Semester at Sea is unreal! I know when I first heard about the program I was like there is no way you can live and study on a cruise ship while traveling the world. But I took a chance and applied and six voyages later am very proud I took that chance. You are like I had mentioned, isolated in a floating campus traveling around the world, and you are facing the world and the challenges of traveling by yourself. An experience such as this enhances your personal independence, allows for you to mature, enables you to become involved in global issues, and expands your global perspective. Many programs suggest they mold students into global citizens through their programs, but in my experience, there is only one program that does that, and it is Semester at Sea. Your reality during your travels and semester abroad is never ending fun, constant learning both internally and externally, and is based on you and what you wish to accomplish and how far you wish to be adventurous.

Be Able To Afford To Study Abroad

The biggest challenge students have of doing this program is primarily based on financial aid. This program can be up there in terms of the price for the semester, however, DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED BY THE PRICE! I know it seems like so much money when you first see it, but take it from me, a four time voyager that is more broke than your average broke college student. I'll be upfront and explain my situation to hopefully give you some insight into how you can make your dream of going on semester at sea come true. My mother passed away right before college, her being my sole guardian and financial supporter. I decided to not give up and go to college, worked 2 jobs, was an A/B (3.5+ GPA) student, and had a lot of financial burdens due to the loss of my mother. Nonetheless, I saw the opportunity of sailing with Semester at Sea and decided to apply. I applied with time because there are many logistics to take care of before sailing and I needed time to financially plan my trip. I applied to almost all the scholarships of Semester at Sea, along with about 5-10 outside scholarships per voyage, and received a substantial amount through those outlets, and the remaining amount I negotiated and talked to my campus's financial aid office to transfer any available amount to Semester at Sea. My last resort was loans, but I also obtained those. In total for four voyages I ended up with a 23K loan, so about 6K per voyage. I also took out extra for personal expenses I was to do while traveling. So my advice would be to 1) apply to semester at sea early 2) apply to as many SAS scholarships you can 3) apply to as many outside scholarships as you can (its better to spend a couple of days working on an scholarship than paying off a loan) 4) talk and work with your school's financial aid office to see how much you can transfer to Semester at Sea 5) work your butt of saving money for the trip so you can have as much fun as you can 6) talk to semester at sea about your situation if things come up to see how you can work to remedy it 7) and lastly, get loans if you have to (these loans are going to be the best investment of your life).

Get Transferable Credits

This is a huge topic amongst prospective students since they are wanting to make sure their time abroad counts toward their curriculum. In college I studied International Business, Anthropology, Spanish, and General Liberal Arts Courses, and I was able to find equivalents for all my degrees. There are many different disciplines being taught by Semester at Sea, and students from all kinds of majors find ways to relate a course or find substantial coursework that adapts or qualifies for courses being taught back at their home campuses. Aside form financial aid, this is another one of the biggest burdens of the program since some schools are very particular about their courses and are not as friendly about the idea of their students taking core classes abroad. Nonetheless, it can be achieved, one must just apply themselves to make it happen and find substantial evidence with course syllabi, expectations, goals, and negotiations with department chairs, registrars, and faculty.

Get The Best All Around Study Abroad Program

This program has been around for more than 50 years, and is becoming more and more well known around the world. It has surfaced in our pop culture through such outlets such as Buzzfeed, as well as in movies like 22 Jump Street, and TV Shows like MTV's The Real World. You are never going to regret going on Semester at Sea as it is a program that has so much to offer to you personally and academically. The program takes you to popular destinations as well as destinations you'd never thought of going but are glad you got to witness and experience. Faculty and staff are top notch, lecturers are phenomenal, student life is bar-none, housing and meals are all taken care of for you, and living at sea is something so amazing and beautiful that cannot be easily described. Just imagine a serene sunsetting afternoon outside feeling the breeze while reading a book relating to your next travels in port, all while the whistling waves crash against the ship and at a far distance dolphins chase the MV Explorer (the ship), and you pause to take a deep breath and admire the view while snuggling in your cozy Semester at Sea hoodie and blanket and drinking a delicious hot tea, all while being excited that tomorrow you reach the port of Cape Town, South Africa. This is just one of those everlasting memories that will linger in your mind after undergoing the program.

Make A Positive Change In The World

Many people come on board with projects to help communities in need around the world, others are looking into aspects of foreign service and global politics, some just came for the free donuts and coffee. But no matter what you do in the program you will be given many opportunities to make a change in the world, and its up to you to take advantage of them. Semester at Sea is a gateway into finding opportunities of getting involved with local communities revolving around the areas the ship visits, as well as other programs for students seeking more of a political aspect, such as visits to the United Nations, local embassy home-stays, or lectures from globally influential individuals inclined toward social or political change. The most important aspect, I believe, is to know about the issues that are being faced by the people of this world, and discuss ways in which to address and solve them. Knowledge is power, and through the lectures, opportunities and exposure given to students on Semester at Sea, it is more likely that as a student you will feel inclined to make a positive change no matter how small that change may be. From my experience, about 70% of students who do Semester at Sea continue to do projects abroad, or continue to travel avidly after the program finding ways to make an impact in the communities they visit.

Become More Of A Global Citizen

The only way you can be an active global citizen is by traveling and learning about the places you are traveling to. Semester at Sea is the only program that truly allows for the individuals undergoing the program to become global citizens. There are many ways to get involved in the communities you visit even after you have left and your travels there have ended. On board you learn about the issues the countries you are visiting face, and you first handedly experience them. You are exposed to the beauty and sometimes harsh realities of our world, but travel amongst many moved individuals whom wish to make a positive change and actually go on to do so.

Live Life To The Fullest!

No matter what you do or seek from this program your goal should be to live life to the fullest and try to find a passion you can continue to foment. No matter how lost you are in a port, chances are you'll run into one of the 800 or more Semester at Sea students, staff, or faculty. Safety is a top priority of the program, and students tend to always travel in groups, allowing for support of each other during their stays in ports. You are going to take the program for granted once you are on board, but it will honestly be the one experience you can never seem to describe yet always imagine and wish to relive every day of your life. So just to recap, with this program you will travel the world, live on board a cruise ship, meet amazing individuals, encounter good life-changing moments with others, eat so much amazing food, see breathtaking views, monuments, and natural environments, see a world unlike anything you've ever seen, learn from exciting and interesting professors that care and understand, live a low stress life, hike majestic trails, swim in crystal clear waters, learn so much about different disciplines, be a part of a unique college experience, shop till you drop in ports, enjoy nightlife with others with Semester at Sea, eat healthy, sleep healthy, live healthy, and make the best memories of your life!

There is so much to tell you about the program, so please feel free to contact me and I can help answer any of your Semester at Sea questions. Also, if you wish to have a small peek into my travels look up Dance the way I feel - DJ L3opard on Youtube and you will see me dancing around the world with Semester at Sea. You can also email me at [email protected] or call me at 956-212-7848 and i'll assist in the best way that I can!

I hope this helped you a bit on your decision and process in studying abroad and I hope you one day also experience what I experienced and continue to help others achieve their dreams and allow for them to witness this world we all share and live in.

How can this program be improved?
The program is amazing, the only thing would be to bring back the Summer Voyages as well as the Enrichment Voyages, but understanding their financial situation allows for me to understand the inability to do so at the moment. Hopefully in the future! :)
Jamie
Female
31 years old
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
University of Colorado- Boulder

Be the change you want to see in the world!

Overall
10

This trip was hands down the trip of a lifetime! It expanded my mind culturally as well as intellectually! Plus it was pure fun! I have made lasting friendships from this journey. Some of my classes were life-changing, whereas a few others were less memorable. All told, I learned more than I ever have in a 3-month period of my life! Learn to grow with your peers and see the world in a way that you will never have the opportunity to do elsewhere! Start your journey as a tourist and end as a world traveler :)

How can this program be improved?
The only thing that I would change is the screening process for professors. Some were outstanding and really worked to help us grow, whereas others seemed as though they just came for the trip and did not care about our learning potential.
KM
Female
31 years old
San Francisco
Emerson College

Incredibly Rewarding Experience + Great Alumni Community

Overall
10

I spent 100 days on Semester at Sea - 50 days at sea, 50 days on land. You just can't get more value for your money. I spent the same on semester at sea as was the cost of my private inner city college for a semester and I got to literally see the world. SAS did a great job of adjusting the curriculum so you would learn about a country before you arrived. It was incredible to go from one country to the next and see the contrasts. It really changes your world perspective.

I've also made a lot of life long friends from this program. I keep in touch with friends I was close with on the voyage, and have made a lot of new life long friends through alumni meet ups and reunions. Go Fall 05!

Katelyn
Female
31 years old
Washington, DC
University of Wisconsin- Madison

Changing Perspectives

Overall
9

Any abroad experience should change our perspectives, but SAS allows students to experience so many countries, take in so much difference that students spend the next year processing their experiences. Even months after I left the ship I hadn't know exactly what had changed about me. Joined the Peace Corps and spent an additional two years living abroad, and journey I never would have had if not for SAS.

How can this program be improved?
More scholarships for students who can't afford the experience would be very helpful. And having a better variety of classes on board would have been enjoyable.
Lauren
Female
23 years old
Charleston, SC
College of Charleston

Semester At Sea--journey of a lifetime, circumnavigating the world

Overall
10

Living on a ship with hundreds of college students, international guest speakers, world class faculty from the USA, life long learners and the ship crew is the most amazing indescribable experience and I would pay millions of dollars to be able to send my sisters and children on this in the future. My trip was a spring voyage traveling the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans, crossing the equator to stop at 12 amazing countries. The excursions with the Semester at Sea program were amazing as well as the freedom to travel alone in the countries. My trip started in San Diego to Hawaii, Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, and London. After I had the experience of traveling alone in Europe for a few weeks before returning to the states. I saw and experienced the greatest things that I would never have done on my own without SAS. I met lifelong friends and connections that will travel with me into my future. I could go on for days. Just look up people's go-pro youtube videos! The classes always related to the upcoming country visits and the best part ended up being living at sea.. not even stopping in country! Sitting on the pool deck, being rocked to sleep by the sea, star gazing and watching the waves splash the porthole in my room while 10 new friends pile in to watch movies. Best experience of my life.

How can this program be improved?
I would have stayed for longer!
Colleen
Female
23 years old
MN
Other

I'm on a ship!

Overall
10

Experience the world while sailing on your own floating campus! Deciding to take a Semester at Sea was the best decision I have ever made and I honestly wish I could have studied on the ship for all four years of my college career. From August-December 2012 I traveled to 16 different countries on 4 continents and was able to gain a truly global perspective. On board the ship were not only 500 other college students but professors, staff, their families, Life Long Learners (people who are retired who are auditing classes while traveling with us), and the ship's crew. Semester at Sea offers many courses that fit with multiple majors, on my voyage there were over 60 courses offered to students and each course is tailored to the specific countries/continents that will be visited over the course of the semester. While the ship is docked there are no classes or class requirements (outside of the odd field trip) and you are free to travel around the country as you wish. Semester at Sea offers many planned trips and experiences you can participate in or you can travel on your own or with friends. Classes are taken while the ship is sailing, though there are some fun days thrown in to celebrate crossing the equator or playing in the Sea Olympics. Additionally, there are many clubs, sports and activities available and the freedom to create a group for almost any interest you may have. Semester at Sea is a unique and rewarding program for anyone who wants to travel and truly experience the world.

How can this program be improved?
If I could make one change to Semester at Sea I would lengthen the amount of time spent in each port of call. Understandably, there needs to be a designated number of class days where students are focused on academics. However, it can sometimes be difficult to truly experience a country if you are only there for two or three days. Overall, we were in each country an average of 4 days but it does vary from voyage to voyage and country to country.
Lauren
Female
31 years old
Chicago, Illinois
Miami University

This will change your life.

Overall
10

If you are thinking about doing Semester at Sea, do it, don't look back, and do anything you have to do to make it happen. Your eyes will be opened the beauty and realities of the world. You will forever have a connection with anyone who ever went on Semester at Sea, whether they are from your voyage, or a voyage 40 years ago. 4-5 days sounds like a very short time to be in a country, but you'll be amazed by how much you can see, experience, and learn in such a short period of time. No one else can possibly understand the experiences you will have, and this will be frustrating, but you'll be forever connected to your shipmates. The staff is also unbelievable. It's an amazing community that cannot be duplicated.

How can this program be improved?
Can they offer a 4 year degree program? :)
Tiffany
Female
23 years old
Saint Clairsville, OH United States
Ohio University

SAS Changes Lives

Overall
10

Semester at Sea was literally a chance and opportunity to leave my comfort zone and experience cultures of the world. It was a learning experience culturally on ship as in country and the most significant semester of college I experienced. I learned to cook new foods, speak new languages, dance, laugh, and so much more. In 107 days I was able to travel and experience fourteen different countries and cultures as well as learn to live life as a college student at sea. I made friends around to world and was forever changed into a global citizen with wanderlust in my heart.

How can this program be improved?
I think it would be great to open the program up beyond undergraduate and life long learns after they obtain a certain age. I think this program could be beneficial to graduate students as well.
Alisha
Female
23 years old
Saint Charles,MO
Lindenwood University

If you don't do SAS, you will miss the opportunity of a lifetime

Overall
10

Well, well..

having grown up in Europe, traveling to foreign countries isn't new to me.In Europe you just jump in a car and drive a couple of hours and voilà you're in a different country with a different culture. When I learned about SAS I was...in awe. This was probably the coolest thing on earth and exactly what I wanted to do, but I wasn't sure if I could financially afford to make this trip. Fortunately, SAS offers financial aid to everyone in need - even Non-Americans - which I will be forever grateful for because it made my trip happen. (So dear Non-Americans reading this, please do not hesitate to apply!)

Well, the traveling part was obviously the best part. We went to places I've always wanted to go (Japan,South Africa, India) and places I had never dreamed I'd be able to see (Mauritius) and I loved every second of it, even if not everything went smoothly. You will grow so much during these months, learn things you could never possibly learn back at home, and just do crazy things that will make your friends jealous.

The thing I was most surprised about is the quality of education.We all had those teachers who are seemingly bored of their (career) life and simply drag their students through their classes. However, on SAS I felt like that the teachers were more than 'just teachers' - they were all professionals who worked in their field for quite a while and therefore had more to tell you than just what your school book said. The staff was really friendly and helpful,especially when you needed help.

So honestly, why,why why would anyone ever consider doing a different study abroad program if you're able to see so many countries,cultures, world wonders, blue oceans, dolphins, sunsets and sunrises and meet the most awesome, helpful and generous people?

I am still blown away by what I've seen, done and experienced. I wish I could put it into words without writing War-and-Peace-length novel, but let me tell you: Do not look any further, SAS is the best that will ever happen to you.

How can this program be improved?
Make it even longer??? I loved every second, even the bad moments (in hindsight haha.) Just be aware, this isn't a luxury skiing trip to Switzerland. You can make the best memories of your life, but only if you want to. I've experienced that it is humans nature to complain, but why not focus on the awesome opportunity that is ahead of you? I would always choose to do it again if I could.
Jenna
Female
23 years old
Hilo, HI
University of Hawaii- Hilo

Life Changing

Overall
10

Semester at Sea changed my life. The person I left home as I did not return as her. I got to see things most people and students only get to learn about in textbooks. Instead of just writing papers on Right Whales we got to see Right whales and then wrote papers on them. This is not a normal study abroad program...It's a million times better.

How can this program be improved?
More time in countries and less time on the ship
Allie
Female
31 years old
Washington dc
Syracuse University

Greatest 100 days of my life

Overall
10

Semester at Sea was the greatest 100 days of my life. It shaped the remainder of my college career and shaped what I do in my professional life. I saw the world and made life long friendships. The academics were amazing because you would learn about something one day, then visit it the next. The closeness of living on a ship and traveling with your peers and professors made everyone so close. Professors weren't just teachers but mentors, travel guides, friends and dinner companions. It is a great opportunity for anyone curious about the world and other cultures.

How can this program be improved?
Longer program. Add another few weeks so there is another port of two.
Valerie
Female
41 years old
Washington DC
University of Nevada

Discover your World!!

Overall
9

Sleep in advance because for 100 days you will live out one of the most amazing experiences of your life. You will be at school every day you are at sea, and exploring the globe every day that you are on land. Discover far flung destinations, enjoy debating with your professors over dinner, and do it all with elegance and style while traveling onboard a cruise ship. If you are looking for an easy way to navigate the world and get college credit for your adventures, this is the program for you.

How can this program be improved?
I would allow a bit more time in some of the ports of call.
Megan
Female
41 years old
Pittsburgh, PA
University of Pittsburgh

Life Changing

Overall
10

I was looking for a study abroad opportunity that allowed me to visit more than one country/location - without relying only on weekend/personal travel. Semester at Sea was the perfect program to truly open myself to the world. Your courses are geared to helping you learn and appreciate every location you stop - even in a course as simple as creative writing! And your professors come from every corner of the world - making for an environment that encourages information exchange and learning support. Semester at Sea was both my most rewarding and most academically challenging semester in college. It has changed the way I think and act and has made me a better world citizen. Plain and simple, there's nothing like going to bed and waking up in a new foreign land that is just waiting to be explored. Don't let the idea of living on a ship deter you... I doubt you can find even one person who has sailed with Semester at Sea that regrets it!

How can this program be improved?
I'm not gonna lie... this program really does hit all the right things! If I had to change anything? I'd make the semester longer so that you can explore even more countries!
Brenna
Female
23 years old
New York, NY
University of San Diego

BEST decision you'll make in college!

Overall
10

Semester at Sea is a truly unique program; it's unlike any other study abroad experience available. Deciding to go on Semester at Sea was kind of a no brainer and easily the best decision I made during college! This comparative cultural experience allows you to experience the world in a new way and truly gain insight into each culture. While this program may be a nontraditional study abroad experience, that's also what makes it so amazing! The way I see it, you can always go to Europe and travel, but how often are you going to have the opportunity to circumnavigate the globe with a ship full of AWESOME people and go to countries in Africa, Asia, Latina America, and more! In addition to being an incredible program, SAS also forged lifelong friendships because sharing this incredible experience has a way of bonding people like none other!

How can this program be improved?
Given the nature of Semester at Sea, there is a lot of turnover from semester to semester because the professors and staff rotate. In some senses that was good because everyone aboard the ship is experiencing this unique experience together (many for the first time), but at times there was some confusion on policies.
Laura
Female
31 years old
Lexington, KY
University of Kentucky

Semester at Sea, a trip of a lifetime!

Overall
9

I really enjoyed Semester at Sea. I didn't know anyone when I started, and I left with lots of friends, four of which I have visited in the past few years.

Most days on the ship were very full. I ate 3 meals a day with friends. I would also go to class, work on homework, sit on the deck, exercise, nap, and read a bit. In the evenings, I often played cards with friends. I had a lot of time to read and I enjoyed completing lengthy books.

I liked the pre-port lectures and Global Studies class because it prepared me for what I would see in-country. My favorite countries were South Africa, Thailand, and India.

I am very glad I did Semester at Sea. Several years after completing the program, I got a Masters in International Relations. I also worked in Cambodia for a bit.

How can this program be improved?
I would make the port stays longer.
Allison
Female
41 years old
Denver, CO
University of Maryland

Amazing Exposure to Various Cultures

Overall
9

In-Country Stops:
Visiting 10 different countries in one semester was the best thing about the program. Each country had unique opportunities, and gaining exposure to so many cultures and people was wonderful. Some students used this time to goof off because you don't have classes while in port, but I tried to take advantage of many of the planned activities or to explore on my own. I'm really glad that I did! Especially memorable were the activities that involved direct interaction with the locals - homestays, volunteer activities (orphanage, etc.), discussions on local or international topics of interest. There is a huge range of prices for in-country activities, and you don't have to pick the most expensive activities to have a wonderful experience.
Ship Life:
A lot has changed since I sailed in 2000 (including the ship itself), but living on a ship was an adventure. We didn't have internet on board at the time, which was difficult but I think a benefit overall. It required us all to disconnect and spend time in the moment. It took a while to get my sea legs and we experienced some bad storms crossing the Pacific (end of voyage). In retrospect, I probably should have spent more time on a boat prior to committing to SAS so that I knew how I would do at sea, but ultimately I made it through and am glad I went, even though I was seasick a decent amount.
My voyage was about 30% male/70% female, which made the social scene interesting. Many females just decided to bow out of the dating game and enjoy the time with girlfriends since the odds were against them. Alcohol was very strictly controlled on the ship, but served to 18+ in international waters. On the nights when alcohol was served, most people spent their time drinking in the very long line at the bar while waiting for the next drink - not a very fun way to drink, in my opinion, but it seemed to be very important to a lot of people.
The rooms and bathrooms are small, but have the basics that you need.
Packing:
Laundry service is provided on the ship, so you don't have to take a ton of clothes. My recommendation would be to pack one suitcase of the clothes and personal items that you want to have with you and one suitcase with things to barter/give away; this will give you an empty suitcase to use for souvenirs on your way home. I brought new t-shirts and socks to barter in Africa. Wish I had brought some fun things to give to kids in-country. The poverty in which so many live is unbelievable compared to our standard of living, and the smallest gift can bring them a lot of joy!
Summary:
Overall, SAS was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. I was very homesick and seasick at first, but am so glad I stuck it out! I learned a ton about myself and the world, and it gave me the courage to get out and explore the world every chance I have.

How can this program be improved?
In my opinion, the major downside of SAS is that you are not immersed in a language for the semester like you would be in a single country study-abroad program. This is a trade-off and a decision each individual needs to make for themself, but that is the only thing I felt was lacking from the SAS experience.
Marilyn
Female
31 years old
Va
Westminster College

Sas

Overall
7

Amazing journey, I always wanted to travel the world and w sas I got too. Made lifelong friends through the program. Wish I would have taken advantage more of the nw opportunities while I was abroad.

How can this program be improved?
Provide more financial assistance for hardships. I found out I was pregnant abroad, and I was told they would help my dr's visit since I didn't have insurance. However, I was then told since I had received 50 through the emergency fund that they wouldn't help me. They charged me 20 for the pregnancy test, so I was only able to use 30 towards my tests, ultra sound and dr visit. Ease of access to discounted Internet would have been helpful, since I was abroad and pregnant and didn't have much access to outside resources to help w my pregnancy.
The food during lunch and dinner could have been vastly improved as well. They only had pizza days 5xs on the ship, the rest of the time the food was recycled. Breakfast for the most part was decent.
The organization process to pick members of the yearbook team could have been better. I was an chief and section editor for my high schools yearbook, and I was still not selected to be part of the team.
The professors could have been vastly improved. My labor bus mgmt teacher was horrible. He did not provide any assistance to help me better my grades. The global reqd class was horrible. She made the tests difficult, and it was very hard to follow the material.
Kristina
Female
31 years old
Tempe, AZ
Arizona State University

Been Around The World Na Ya Ya- Semester at Sea

Overall
9

Hands down best way to travel and study. Travel anywhere from 5-15 countries and get up to 12 credits for college, what is better then that!?! You will get the opportunity to spend 4-5 days exploring a country, partying, and making friends! You will learn to love new cultures and leave with so many friends from around the world. I went as a student in my masters program and wouldn't trade it for the world- that's because I had the world at my hands! I wish you the best of luck when you choose where to study, but how many people can say the lived and studied in the ocean!?

How can this program be improved?
It is expensive, but you have to remember your housing, food, and schooling is included!
Rebecca
Female
23 years old
Brattleboro, VT
Springfield College

Semester at Sea, There's No Place I'd Rather Be

Overall
10

Semester at Sea is one of a very few study abroad opportunities for undergraduate students to have a truly comparative international experience. There is something so magical about waking up every few days in a new country, new culture, and ready to have some of the most intense and thoughtful intercultural dialogues. SAS is for the student who has been blessed with wanderlust, who has a desire to learn, grow and take a risk. This program is for the student who understands that the world may seem big, but through intercultural experiences, it is getting smaller and deeper each and every day

How can this program be improved?
Ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to access this once-in-a-lifetime-program.
Elaine
Female
31 years old
Boston, MA
University of Massachusetts- Boston

Great way to catch the travel bug!

Overall
10

As a student without a language focus, this was a great way to see many different parts of the world without having to commit to one culture and language! Life on the ship is structured with classes, activities, groups, meetings, etc but when in port you have be option to explore on your own or do field programs through Semester at Sea. Each class requires certain field programs, but they're easy to get done so you can spend time doing things that internet you.

How can this program be improved?
Global studies has two classes, so half of the ship is in each class. It was one of the most challenging courses with little support from
the professor since it was you and 300+ other students!
Megan
Female
31 years old
Minneapolis, MN
University of Minnesota

Do this. You will absolutely never regret it.

Overall
10

I have such a hard time trying to describe SAS to people. There are many great study abroad programs out there...but SAS is not just simply another "study abroad program." It's an all-encompassing, life-changing, introspective, and personally challenging experience that will stretch you as much as you allow it to.

Every personal boundary, opinion, bias, and perspective will be tested as you sail between 10+ countries. As you're confronted with so many different cultural intricacies and challenges, all right in a row, you have no choice but to compare experiences and re-evaluate yourself and your role in society. So much change and travel means there is never enough time to become stagnant or comfortable. You're patience and flexibility is constantly tested, and you'll grow so much personally because of it.

There's the big, not-to-be-missed sightseeing opportunities: hiking Table Mountain in South Africa, being yards from a wild lion on an African safari, standing at the base of the Taj Mahal. There's the unique local experiences: sliding down sand dunes in Namibia, sampling street food everywhere, wandering markets and bartering. There's the personal, reflective experiences: the feeling of staring at the horizon for days on end while sailing the ocean is something I will carry with me my entire life. There's the social experiences: learning a ton about yourself and your ship friends as you're sequestered on the ship for days on end. They will become and remain some of your best friends for a lifetime.

You will see the good in the world and the world's people. A friend and I were once stranded at an internet cafe late at night in a giant thunderstorm in a tiny Guatemalan town, a 35 minute drive away from where the ship was about to leave port that night. There were no taxis or transportation in sight. We asked the cafe owners (who spoke broken English) for advice. They easily could have let two clueless Americans fend for ourselves. However, they instead offered to personally drive us back to the ship, which was clearly out of their way. We tried paying them as a token of thanks, but they refused to accept any money. Everybody I know from SAS has a similar story...there is lots of good left in the world, if you learn where to look.

Bottom line: SAS changes you, in the best way possible. It's everything a study abroad program should be. Please contact me with any questions; I can't begin to describe how SAS has personally affected my life.

How can this program be improved?
The cost is the biggest barrier; there's some sticker shock when planning. I was lucky enough to have help from my parents. However, my best friend on the ship had to scrape up enough money through various loans, scholarships, and odd jobs. Even though he is still paying some of his loans off nearly five years later, he still recommends SAS wholeheartedly. In the end, the cost means nothing compared to how this program stretches, changes, and inspires you. Do everything you can to save up in advance, and stretch your dollar by planning your own in-port travels. Years later, you won't remember the money. One of those things where you just have to take a leap of faith and make it work. It's worth it, promise.

Also, I know SAS has a bit of a party reputation. Sure, there are those people on board, just like at any college. But partying certainly doesn't define most people's experiences. You will have a lifetime of fun, but the type of fun is what you make of it.

S
Female
56 years old
Boston
Boston University

College Credit for Crusing Around the World

Overall
9

I highly recommend this program for your junior year/semester abroad. Unlike most programs where you go to one place, this program is on a cruise ship which travels either around the world or to various continents (depending on the semester). This has several advantages. You leave your property on the ship while you go out to explore the country, this is much better then having to lug your things from place to place. Most meals are included on the ship so you dont have to worry about finding places to eat everyday although many students tend to seek some authentic meals in each of the countries) You get to see a lot of different countries, for those of you who cant decide this solves that issue. Also the ship goes to several ports where most people could not go by themselves, some are exotic, others USA citizens might not be allowed to go. Not only does the cruise go to many distant and interesting ports but you get college credit for doing so (most colleges will give you credit need to check with your specific college). The classes are held on the days the ship is at sea. the courses are in english another plus for those who do not speak and understand a foreign language

How can this program be improved?
The cost of the cruise, the cost of excursions, the extra charge for single supplements, price of email, the quality of the food (it is college dorm quality not cruise ship quality)
Jenny
Female
23 years old
Waukesha, WI
Carroll University

Semester at Sea is the place to be!

Overall
10

I was the only one from Carroll University to go on the summer 2013 voyage. I was scared out of my mind with not knowing anyone and traveling on my own. I was worried about the process of making new friends again and essentially starting all over again. Everyone on the ship was so welcoming! My roommate is from Chicago so living in Wisconsin its great to be able to see my roommate quite frequently. I made so many new friends from all over the US and the world. Getting to explore places as diverse as Morocco to places such as Malta with this group of amazing people truly made the trip so much better. Faculty, crew and students were all so welcoming and it was truly amazing to be surrounded by people who were all interested in being or becoming global citizens! With going so many new places it was hard to get into a routine and really get a true understanding of each culture but getting to experience a variety of cultures was truly incredible! I suggest this program to anyone wanting to become more global, independent and a variety of other traits that will help further you as an individual and also within the job market.

How can this program be improved?
If I could choose a way in which Semester at Sea could be improved I would say longer days in the ports would be better. I would have liked to have some more time in the countries we were traveling to so that I could experience more.
Robin
Female
41 years old
Austin, Tx
Northern Illinois University

It really is the voyage of a lifetime

Overall
10

Is there sea sickness? yes. Are there days you are going to wish that you could see land? Yes. Is the first sight of Japan on horizon the most exhilarating celebration on the deck with classmates? YES.

Great aspects are that you will make friends on this voyage that will you will stay in contact with forever. There is something spectacular about traveling to any city in the United States and knowing someone who lives there from your voyage or another SAS voyage. SAS Alumni stick together.

This isn't just a study abroad program its a life altering, life long friend gathering, mind blowing, cultural immersion. You will be witness to some of the world's poorest populations and some of the most successful alum and lifetime learners.

What other program allows you to have your own cabin/room, which is your home base, all while traveling to 10 uniquely different countries? Living on a ship for 3-4 months is an experience you will not be able to capture with any other program.

You will sleep under the stars, celebrate the equator crossing, have Thanksgiving dinner with your professors, learn from instructors who are industry leaders or the forefront of creativity. There are clubs to join, grandparents/life long learners to adopt, and children to mentor.

On my voyage we had the opportunity to meet Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro. Being in the presence of world leaders and Nobel Prize recipients can't be put into words. I went skydiving in South Africa over Table Mountain, whale watched, drank wine, sailed across the harbor in Hong Kong, toured the worlds largest copper buddha/wooden buddha/tallest buddha etc, spent 3 days in a beach chalet in Malaysia, saw anti-american propaganda still present at historical Vietnam war sites, smelled some of the worst smells at local markets, witnessed a boy with elephantiasis of both legs, went on safari, booked a hotel room in Rio that overlooked Ipanema and Coco Cabana Beaches, saw the biggest spider that should ever be allowed to walk the planet, ate an ostrich burger, sang songs with friends, bare witness to genius, debated and chatted with instructors over eggs, watched a Maasai warriors offer a welcome dance, stood at the base of the Taj Mahal and was in awe of this wonder. Setting foot at some of the most momentous and oldest historical sites in the world, that you've only viewed in pictures, changes EVERYTHING.

This program imprints on your soul and your wanderlust will never be stronger after stepping off the ship for the last time.

How can this program be improved?
Biggest issue is ship communication to home can be expensive
Amber
Female
31 years old
United States
University of Michigan

Adventure of a Lifetime

Overall
10

Semester at Sea is an absolutely amazing opportunity to see the world and have educational experiences in the classroom at sea with on site activities during port stops. Anyone who has ever taken a journey with this organization can attest these were the best days of their lives! Coursework is interesting and matches the destinations with on-site activity opportunities. Locations visited allow students to broaden their horizons and become a member of the global community. I have no negative comments about this program or experience. Highly recommend!!

How can this program be improved?
Cost is a negative factor, but well worth the expense if you can obtain financial aid or know your future career will allow for easy repayment of the loan.
Kelsey
Female
23 years old
Cheongju, South Korea
Arizona State University

Suite Life on Deck (Reallife)

Overall
10

Semester at Sea is the ultimate travel study abroad. You take amazing classes while at sea and have free time in port. While you will have a few small projects to do at a variety of different countries they are never overwhelming and most of them are things you would take in anyway. This is true global education with learning from experiences. The professors are amazing and you spend so much time with them, they become a part of your family. You'll make amazing friendships and have amazing experiences. Yeah the wifis a little spotty, and at times, you might long for land on the longer stretches between countries but a deck side dinner will make you realize what an amazing experience it is. The second you leave you'll be trying to figure out how to go again. Worth every penny.

How can this program be improved?
The ships food is meh. (Port food makes up for this... Indian curry in India, yes please)
Heather
Female
23 years old
United States
University of New Hampshire

Semester at Sea- Spring 2012

Overall
10

You will leave Semester at Sea without the right words to describe your experiences. You will not have another opportunity quite like this one. Though you may not be fully immersed in one single culture, you will learn a lot about a lot of cultures and develop you own ship culture with your peers on your voyage. This unique group of students will become some of your best friends for life!
The hardest part was getting the paperwork done for visas and your home university. Once you're past that, it's smooth sailing..... (well sometimes!)

How can this program be improved?
Their shipboard run excursions could be improved as well as their funding!
Julie
Female
23 years old
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
University of Florida

Experience of a Lifetime

Overall
10

I would (and do) highly recommend this study abroad program to anyone! I had the most amazing time and it opened my eyes to so many new experiences. I never thought I would be comfortable experiencing this journey alone, but I met the most amazing people with the same passion--traveling!

Zachary
Male
23 years old
Lafayette, Indiana
University of Toledo

The World at Your Fingertips

Overall
10

Semester at Sea is an incredible, global comparative study abroad program that allows participants the ability to interact and experience many different countries and cultures all within one semester. While the voyages change a bit each semester, many of the same countries are visited, allowing for feedback and tips from alumni and program staff. For example, my voyage in Spring 2012 left from the Bahamas, then traveled to Dominica, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Singapore, China (Hong Kong and Shanghai), Japan (Kobe and Yokohama), Hawaii, and ended in San Diego. We spent 1 to 7 days in each country. Students take classes on board the ship while at sea, but have great freedom within each country to explore and do independent travel. This freedom allows you to create your own unique semester at sea experience. While some of the major highlights of each voyage involve the incredible sight-seeing, the truly amazing aspect of this program is being able to interact with different cultures and people all around the world. You also form life-long bonds with your fellow voyagers and develop better friendships than you may have ever had with people back home. The food on the ship can get monotonous, but I always found it perfectly fine (lots of potatoes, pasta, and pork). One other major criticism for the program is the fact that you don't really IMMERSE yourself into any particular country or culture, due to the short duration of time spent in each place. However, this is not the intent of the program; rather, the program puts a higher emphasis on the global comparisons and helping to expand students' minds to think as global citizens. So, if you really only want to focus on one country or culture, this program isn't for you, but if you love to have incredible experiences, see the world and travel, and see multiple countries in one semester, you should sign up! My voyage was truly life-changing and has somewhat defined who I am going forward in my life. My Semester at Sea experience almost always comes up at some point in conversation with new people. It helps make me more marketable in any area of life I choose to pursue, as I have demonstrated that I have an understanding of other cultures from my own and have experienced different ways of thinking only possible through the first-hand interactions that are part of the Semester at Sea program. If you are able to go on a Semester at Sea, the world will truly be at your fingertips.

How can this program be improved?
I honestly cannot think of other major that I would want to change with the program. The only minor area that could be improved is some of the pre-voyage communication, especially in advice, deadlines, etc. While the information is certainly all there, it wasn't always incredibly easy to find all the information that may have been helpful.
Evan
Male
23 years old
Boston, MA
University of Pittsburgh

The best thing to happen to me...so far!

Overall
10

Today is my birthday. As I reflect on past experiences, I realize that the greatest gift I have ever received was the chance to travel around the world with Semester At Sea. It literally changed my life in a way so comprehensive that it's not explainable with mere words. SAS is a mentality, it's a perception, and it's a sense of purpose. It's the best thing to happen in my life so far.

There is nothing like it elsewhere in the world. Your eyes are opened up to a multitude of experiences that make you a more insightful and caring person...a person that is on track to change the world in very big ways.

I mean...you're on a freaking ship! It's a community full of people that you study, sleep, eat, play, travel, (and definitely stink, as we did in Brazil) with. It's the pinnacle of any travel adventurer.

But the even more amazing thing is is that it doesn't have to be the end, and it certainly hasn't been for me. It's the greatest foundation of a life well traveled, and a life that is prepared to take on the world's myriad challenges.

How can this program be improved?
I think SAS has already improved since I've been on my voyage. I just wish I could go again.
Michael
Male
23 years old
Jacksonville, Florida
State University of New York- Old Westbury

Best Experience of my life

Overall
10

I studied abroad on semester at sea's spring 2012 voyage around the world. I can not say enough good things about the program. It exposes you to various cultures, ethnicities, backgrounds, and unmatched experiences that you will not find on any other study abroad program. We travelled from the Bahamas to Dominica, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Japan, Hawaii, and debarked in San Diego, California. In what other study abroad program can you wake up to some place new every single day, while living on board a cruise ship for 4 months? I have seen more and done more than most people will do in their entire lives, thanks to Semester at Sea. GO SAS!

How can this program be improved?
I wish we had more time to spend in the ports. 5-8 days in each port was definitely not enough time. But as we gained experience, we managed our time and fit as much as possible in our short port stays.
Alexa
Female
23 years old
Washington D.C.
Northern Arizona University

SAS Has Been the Best Decision of My Life Thus Far

Overall
10

Semester At Sea is truly an amazing program. I think nearly every person that has done a voyage (whether a student, professor, or other faculty member) can say that SAS has changed or greatly impacted their life. This program is worth every penny. Also keep in mind that the Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE) is very generous when it comes to awarding students scholarships and grants for SAS. If you don't think you can afford the program, apply anyway! You never know what might happen...

As someone who was studying International Affairs during my undergrad, I wanted to do a study abroad program that would give me a better perspective of the entire world - not just one country. I had already studied abroad twice, but I wanted a more worldly view. I felt like Semester At Sea was the only way I could obtain this perspective while finishing my bachelor's degree, and I was definitely right. Although I'm not an expert in any of the countries I traveled to during my voyage (and am not an expert in the countries I studied abroad in either), I feel like I have a better understanding of the world as a whole.

A Semester At Sea voyage is really what people make of it. I've heard some people criticize the program and say that SAS students don't learn anything. I would absolutely disagree with this. I think some people are more likely to immerse themselves in other cultures more so than others. If you go abroad, I would challenge you to immerse yourself as much as possible. I think some people took academics more seriously (such as myself) than others. Your SAS journey really is what you make of it, but I DO think there are a few things that inevitably come with sailing on SAS. The voyage will change the way you perceive the world around you, and you will learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible.

Ann
Female
41 years old
Zurich, Switzerland
Marymount University

SAS changed my life

Overall
10

Living with amazing college students from all over the USA, learning from professors who have great passion, seeing so much of the world - what more could you ask for! If you have an adventurous spirit, this is the place for you. I saw so much and met great friends and really tasted the life of travel and adventure and I have never turned back - still living overseas now, currently in Switzerland!

aaronatb
Male
31 years old
Went to CU.. now in Berkeley.
University of Colorado- Boulder

Semester At Sea - A Global Perspective

Overall
10

I was a college senior, who had never left the country. I had dreamed of studying abroad but couldn't figure out - of all the countries in the world - where I wanted to go. Enter Semester at Sea. A unique opportunity where you live on a cruise ship converted into a university campus and circumnavigate the globe while taking classes from some of the world's most distinguished professors, interacting with ambassadors, and foreign dignitaries (Desmund Tutu spend the entire voyage on our ship), and stopping at over 13 different countries along the way. The experience gave me a truly global perspective, one that I had never had before. (Along with a heavy dose of wanderlust.) I cannot think of a better experience for someone who wants to see the world, and change your life.

tnsslosc
Female
31 years old
Vail, Colorado
College of Charleston

Semester at Sea - the best time of my life!

Overall
10

I attended the Semester at Sea program through the University of Virginia. It was, BY FAR, the best time of my life. The professors, ship staff, and fellow students made the program a complete life changing experience. I would do it over again 100 times if I could, and I recommend that every undergraduate consider applying for the program!

Kae
Female
23 years old
Tempe, AZ

Most Surreal Experience of My Life

Overall
10

Whenever I look back to my program on Semester at Sea, I have to remind myself that it actually DID happen. The combination of traveling the world, living on a ship, taking intellectually challenging courses, and being surrounded by a supportive community was almost too good to be true... almost. Somehow, Semester at Sea became one of the most definitive life experiences I could have ever had.

To get to the sad-but-true parts out of the way: first, it's pretty expensive. Although the value is second-to-none (think of going on a cruise for 3.5 months, plus the cost of a full course load of tuition, plus what it would cost to get to 10+ countries on your own, and SAS pays for itself 1,000 times over), the actual cost is substantial. I was able to raise the funds through a lot of hard work, but another thing I did not consider in advance was that the socio-economic status of a many of the students was above what I was used to and the shipboard community was not as diverse as my home institution in the U.S. I consider this a bit of a drawback, and I sometimes I had a difficult time relating to my peers. Some students won’t even notice this and it’s actually probably a reality in many study abroad programs, but for some students who really appreciate diversity you might notice this. Next, it was difficult to stay in touch with friends and family back home. I observed that students who were juniors and seniors on the program handled this much better than those who were sophomores (I never encountered any freshmen) and I was glad I already had some established independence so it made separation easier.

Now, to the good stuff (and most of it is GOOD):

Before we even departed, Semester at Sea advised us how to get visas, gave us options for field programs, and thorough descriptions of courses. I traveled to the program completely by myself and didn't know anyone else who was going, but Semester at Sea helped me feel comfortable with the unknown that lied before me. Whereas many people traveled with their parents, friends, or families before embarkation, I went to the Bahamas on my own to meet up with the voyage and I was completely fine with it because of the pre-departure advice SAS offered.

In my situation, my courses were a mix between challenging and easy. I was one of the few students who stuck through the infamous Global Studies course (required of all students, but too difficult to take attendance for 700 people so many ended up skipping) and I actually liked what I learned—I’m kind of a nerd, sue me. For other classes, some of the professors were really amazing at creating course curriculum that complemented where we were traveling on our voyage and it was some of the most interactive learning experiences I have ever had. On the other hand, some professors of mine were also just as excited to be on Semester at Sea as me, and it was somewhat evident that their lesson planning was lacking while they focused on other things. In the end I was grateful that some of my courses were easy; even as a really good student, I had a hard time balancing all the course work with the overall experience. It was difficult to do homework where there wasn't always a quiet place to "hide" and study and research was sometimes a nightmare (when I was on the voyage, we had strict internet restrictions) and the on-ship library only went so far. There was also the several aspects of time to adjust to that weren’t standard: at sea you attended classes, at port you had an open schedule; we didn't have weekends, we had new countries. Instead of schoolwork we often wanted to take the time to plan what we were going to be doing with our friends in the next destination. Additionally, my voyage (Spring 2008) went eastward around the world, which meant we lost an hour every few nights as we crossed time zones. I didn't get enough sleep in college when I had 24 hour days, so imagine how tired I was when days would last only twenty-three hours! In the end, I was so grateful I only took 12 credit hours, even though back home I was used to 15 or so credits in a semester.

Before each new destination, we were given information about customs, money conversions, etiquette, recommended places, safety & emergency procedures, and more. Semester at Sea worked with local tour operators for added field trips (sometimes they were incorporated into a class) or you could go travel on your own. The only restrictions were international travel (at least for my voyage—we didn’t go to Europe or anything) but otherwise students could travel anywhere nationwide while the ship was docked. I personally stayed close to the ship most of the time to keep within a budget, but you don’t necessarily have to travel anywhere to find great museums, bars, beaches, mountaintops, coffee shops, and new friends. I could talk for days about all the different countries, but given that voyages vary and there are plenty of guidebooks to read, I’ll speak more to life on the ship. Daily meals are prepared on board, and even in port you can always come back to the ship for lunch or sleep in your cabin if you’re on a budget (although the meals did get repetitive after a while and “Taco Day” is infamous”). There were cabin stewards who straightened up your room every day (you’re expected to tip) and the crew were some of the nicest people hailing from around the world—many became good friends of ours. The staff members and professors are all carefully selected and all are amazing and brought something to the shipboard community. Activities were planned, professors would give bonus lectures or seminars, people would teach yoga or dance classes—it really was up to the students, faculty, staff, and family members to make what they wanted out of the experience. One of the coolest aspects of the ship is how close-knit of a community it became and it’s something that can’t really be recreated anywhere else. There’s a unique sort of bond you form with 700 people sailing around the world together. Before I went on Semester at Sea and I would interact with alums of the program I thought they were all ridiculous in their obsession about the program it was over, but now I get it; you have to somewhat be indoctrinated into that way of thinking. There really is nothing like Semester at Sea, and there’s only so much anyone can say before you just have to experience for yourself.

Chelsea
Female
23 years old
Elon, North Carolina
Elon University

A Living Story

Overall
10

One Field Trip that I went on in Japan represents an extremely profound memory during my time on Semester at Sea. On the second day in Kobe, I went to Hiroshima with my International Relations class. When we arrived in the city, our guide told us that the people of Hiroshima don’t have any resonating feelings or attitudes towards anti-Americanism, but just hope and prayers for world peace and understanding. As a developing world citizen, this inspired my commitment towards learning how to appreciate different perspectives and cultures; it also helped me shed any ethnocentric views that I had about World War II and allowed me to go into the day with a totally open mind.
After a full day of touring the memorial museum, the monuments, and the t-shaped bridge that was the atomic bomb’s target location, the students, faculty and I were completely emotionally and spiritually drained. The memorial museum displayed informative photographs that helped explain World War II and shed light to foreigners on how the atomic bomb devastatingly destroyed Hiroshima’s people, culture and infrastructure. It was difficult to read through the sections describing the Untied States’ justification for dropping the atomic bomb and why Hiroshima was the target location. Even though I didn’t feel any bitterness towards me from the local people because I am American, I felt a need to show the Japanese, who were around me, how moved and touched I was by their suffering. I hoped that they would consider me a global citizen part of a united teamwork, rather than an American student who is just studying for school.
When I got on the bullet train that evening to travel back to Kobe, I sat down in my seat and within five minutes an elderly Japanese woman came and sat down right next to me; I learned later that her name was Kekune. We exchanged smiles and had our own two seats together, isolated from the bustling of the other passengers around us. Right away I could tell that she didn’t speak a lick of English, and I thought that maybe we could communicate through writing words and drawing pictures in my journal. As I was flipping through the book, she saw the stamps from the Hiroshima Museum that I had pressed onto one of the pages earlier that day. She started pointing to the stamps and tried so hard to tell me something.
After an hour train ride, body language, drawings, and a translator to help us communicate, I found out that she was thirteen living in Hiroshima when the bomb dropped. Both of her parents were killed the day of. She spent two days after the bomb dropped looking for her parents’ corpses; officials finally found them and delivered them to her. She suffered a lot of radiation sickness and so did her siblings, whom she raised herself after that day. She showed me her survivor booklet, which we had seen at the museum earlier that day and that all survivors carry with them at all times. Now, she is a widow with two children, one of them named Hiroshima.
This experience was incredibly meaningful. The energy between us was so powerful, despite the language barrier. After a full day of learning the importance of becoming a global citizen and caring for the cultures and economies outside of America, and then sitting next to a survivor of that source, instilled the values of worldwide compassion, understanding and learning into me. I was provided with a living example of the need to push us out of our comfort zones at home and learn how to make our own contribution towards making the world a better place.

Chelsea
Female
23 years old
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Aruba

Experience of a Lifetime!

Overall
10

I was a member of the Fall 2008 voyage and even 3 years later I think daily of my time aboard the ship. Not only will you get a chance to see the world, you will meet the most incredible people both on the ship and in port. The shipboard environment encourages openness and promotes an environment where learning is exciting.

The faculty is diverse and their teaching styles will not appeal to everyone as they all come from different universities. However, if you do find a professor you like, the ship provides an opportunity to connect with them on a level you wont get at any university. Eating dinner with faculty ever night is a great way to score amazing recommendation letters and incredible advice on succeeding in academia.

kaylenleigh
Female
18 years old
Bronxville, New York
Other

The Best Three Weeks Known To Man

Overall
9

I went on a Semester at Sea Pre-College program as a part of an enrichment voyage in December 2010. It was a three week voyage leaving from Mexico and journeying through the Panama Canal, ending in Fort Lauderdale. I had an absolutely amazing time on the voyage, so much so that I describe it as some of the best days of my life. Not only did I experience the world and other countries, I also made some amazing friends and learned so much! I can only imagine what a semester journey would do for me. I would recommend any form of this program to anyone, because it truly is amazing. It may be pricy, but in my opinion is worth every penny! You will not regret it.

lydia
Female
23 years old
Virginia Beach, VA
Knowledge Systems Institute

Semester at Sea - Life-Changing Experience

Overall
10

Semester at Sea was incredible. I went on the Summer 2010 voyage, and my only regret is that I did not go for a full semester! SAS is so unique, not only because you get to see the world and take courses on a ship, but there is also an amazing shipboard community. If you want to learn about and visit many different countries, enhance your global perspective, and form relationships that will last a lifetime, Semester at Sea is the program for you! On SAS, students take classes while the ship is at sea and are free to explore and travel while in the different ports. There are also faculty directed trips for course credit.

Semester at Sea is expensive – but completely worth every penny. SAS offers many different forms of financial aid. I was awarded a need based grant, and I had a work-study job on the ship, which I really enjoyed.

Semester at Sea was the best experience of my life. I have not only come away from SAS with a desire to learn more about the world and different cultures, but I have also gained lifelong friendships with people all over the world.

Ross
Male
23 years old
Kingsville, Texas
Columbus State University

Life Changing of Seeing and Meeting People

Overall
10

After traveling the world or going to study abroad, you consider doing more things in life than ever before. Starting with what is around you, friends and family. Being gone for 3 to 5 months did make me miss things back at home, but the friends that i made along the way or even the people that i met once or twice just might be a long life friend. It amazes me how people could not talk to each other even for a brief moment or those who are nervous now because what do you have to lose? I want to meet more people and make more friends. I mean what is the point of traveling the world if you do it alone or even living in your everyday life alone? Enjoy every minute and every breathe of it.

KyleC_USD
Male
23 years old
San Diego, CA

Semester At Sea was amazing!

Overall
9

If you've got an adventurous spirit and like to experience new and unfamiliar things, than this is by far the best study abroad experience available. It may not be for everyone, but the times and encounters I had in the 3 months on the MV Explorer changed my outlook on life and the world forever. I attribute so much of who I am today to the places I went, the people I met, and the pieces of this great earth that I saw.

ktalbot
Female
23 years old
Chicago
Other

SAS is an amazing, global, experience that can't be overlooked

Overall
9

SAS was the perfect study abroad program for me. You could be entirely immersed into a culture for the day and come back to enjoy the comforts of the ship at night without having to worry about food, lodging, or security. Of course, spending the night away from the ship was always a plus and made for some fun adventures.

SAS gave me the opportunity to see not just one country like most study abroad programs, but rather gave me a glimpse of the entire world, literally! It was an amazing experience and I grew tremendously from the many adventures and mishaps I went through. The faculty and staff do a wonderful job not only with academics but also in making sure that you have the experience of a lifetime.

Kay
Female
23 years old
Long Island, New York

A semester beyond anything you could dream

Overall
10

I spent months, years even, planning for and dreaming about my Semester at Sea experience. It ended up being my last semester as an undergraduate student, and boy was it a way to end my college career. No amount of space or time would be enough to capture my experience as a member of the Semester at Sea Spring 2011 voyage community, so what I will say will be as short and direct as I can make it. Semester at Sea will blow your mind, anyone's mind. No matter how many plans you make ahead of time or how many expectations of yourself and others you muster up and how many times they are fulfilled or disappointed, SAS will be a mind-blowing, eye-opening, and all around beautiful experience. I believe that everyone, and I mean everyone, should have the chance to travel and learn in the SAS way, so those of you who can actually make that happen for yourselves, embrace it and do not waste a moment of it. No matter what happens along the way, good, bad or otherwise, SAS will offer you glimpses of people and the world that few are lucky enough to have. Whatever you choose to be involved with aboard the ship, however you choose to travel while in port, and whoever you befriend along the way, you will not regret your experience, rather, when it ends, you will be begging to get back on the MV Explorer and see the world in reverse. Get ready for the experience of a lifetime and many days, weeks and months of wishing you could do it again once it ends.

Bchamps
Female
23 years old
Massachusetts
Study Abroad

SAS: The Good and the Bad

Overall
9

Going on Semester at Sea was definitely one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. It's such an incredible experience to be able to see the world like this and you make some of the best friends you will ever have. One of the things that I did not like about SAS, however, was that it seemed like about 1/3 of the students on board thought they were on a party boat the whole time and didn't seem to be that open to experiencing the different cultures. Getting black out drunk in every single port (including the countries where drinking really isn't socially accepted) really isn't why I signed up for this program. But there are certainly people that do Semester at Sea that are not like that at all. Despite the not so good qualities.. I wholeheartedly recommend SAS as a study abroad program!

q25
Male
23 years old
Orlando, Florida
Netherlands

I made the right choice.

Overall
10

Let me start by saying that SAS isn't perfect for everyone. Alcohol is not allowed on the ship. You can buy a beverage voucher and they'll allow you to have up to two drinks (a glass of wine or a beer) on certain days. The program was perfect for me, and to be honest I wouldn't change anything about it.

Make sure you pick the right classes if you decide to go, as some of the classes are a joke and a lot of busy work. Go for classes that don't sound like BS classes, trust me- they're not what you think they'll be.

On SAS I met so many incredibly awesome people and got to see the world with them. I would definitely do it all over again if I could, and in fact I'm looking into sailing again Summer 2012 (I was on the Spring 2011 voyage).

Good luck.

Courtney
Female
23 years old
Newport, KY
Other

I love SAS: an amazing, life changing experience!!

Overall
10

I would wake up at 7:15 shower, head down to breakfast(meals get boring quickly but really good when there's french toast)....two classes in a row then lunch then usually movie/nap time then dinner catch up with friends which turns into take over Class room 1 or 2 and have a movie night until 2 or 3 in the morning usually with "How I met your mother"

sasSpring2011
Male
23 years old
Minnesota
Iowa State University

Not perfect, but definitely worth it

Overall
9

Some people you talk to will say that it was "THE experience of MY LIFE!" and that the friends they made are "the greatest, bestest, most awesomest, perfect friends I could ever have! BFFL!" but take note if the person talking is eagerly foaming at the mouth.

Yes, it was an awesome experience.

Yes, you will explore other countries and cultures.

Yes, your view of the world (and your place in it) will be expanded and greater understood.

Yes, you will make some awesome friends.

But the program isn't perfect, so don't expect to sign up and have everything be sunshine and rainbows. Academically, some of the teachers really suck. Don't assume that just because the teacher is on SAS means they're going to be awesome. Make sure you research the professors before signing up for their classes. Some people were surprised by how much busywork some of the so-called "easy" classes had.

Bottom line, if you want to get off your butt and do something remarkable, this is your chance to push yourself. Stop talking about the life you want and start creating some amazing memories. Paradise waterfalls in Dominica, the view from Table Mountain in South Africa, the fun and low key (and very underrated) Busua Beach in Ghana, not to mention the taxis, trains, buses, boats, rickshaws, and planes you'll travel in along the way.

Stop thinking about it and just do it!

SGravitt
Male
23 years old
Carlsbad, CA
Language Schools

Spring 2011

Overall
10

This program is a learning experience unlike any other. The interactions between students, teachers, staff, life-long learners, and locals in very country helps you learn more about each other and grow as an individual. After circumnavigating the globe and seeing foreign places that many people dream about going to, that is when I realized how fortunate I was. I met many locals in these countries, who were the most accepting; respectful;and welcoming people I have ever met in my life.I would highly recommend going on Semester at Sea as a study abroad program. I can guaratee that you will have a FANTASTIC time with SAS...you may never want to go home, I didn't.

SEStacy
Female
23 years old
Berkeley
Western Kentucky University

I would do it again in a heartbeat

Overall
10

As with any study abroad program, there are amazing things about Semester at Sea along with drawbacks that are typical of a voyage of this nature: spend 110 days sailing around the world on a ship with 800 other people, hitting 11-13 countries along the way. The number of countries is a little vague here because unpredictable stuff happens. I sailed on the Spring 2011 voyage and we were supposed to go to Japan, but after the disasters happened in March, we went to Taiwan instead. We also made an emergency stop once or twice on some random islands because of a breakout illness on the ship. The ship is often tossed about by storms and we lost our first day in South Africa because the winds around the cape were so strong. But that is part of the adventure and unpredictability of Semester at Sea, and all of the disadvantages don't outweigh the enormity of this experience. If I had chosen to study abroad in Europe, I might have done the typical thing: fly around the continent on the weekends, see great architecture, party, meet some cute European boys. Instead, I visited 12 countries in all four corners of the world. I snorkeled in the Champagne Reef while visiting the island of Dominica, searched for caimans in the dark through the reeds of the Amazon River, stayed with a Ghanaian family in a remote village, slept on the Great Wall of China, took a 12-hour train ride across India in a 4th-class car, rode a camel through the Thar Desert at sunset, explored the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia riding the backs of motorcycles, trekked mountains alone in Taiwan, and saw what looked like the end of the world while standing in a cloud on Table Mountain in South Africa. These are just a few of the many things I was able to do with Semester at Sea. Yes, it's pricy, but ultimately it's worth it. You will get your bad eggs on the voyage, usually a large group of half-wits who just like to get drunk in every country, but you shouldn't let that group of people dampen the amazing possibilities presented to you on this trip. There is no other study abroad program quite like it. And no, I am not a social media representative for SAS, I actually enjoyed it this much. I'm so glad I chose Semester at Sea for my study abroad venture, it was literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience, unless I get to do it again. Which I would, in a heartbeat.

About The Provider

Semester at Sea began at Chapman University in the 60s, but the program was called “University of the Seven Seas.” On that first voyage, 275 students set sail for 22 ports around the world aboard the MS Seven Seas to begin a tradition of shipboard education that continues to this day. We've had many people take the lead over over the years - Bill Hughes, C.Y. Tung, Dr. M.A. Griffiths to name a few, although there have been many amazing people that have helped keep our program "afloat!" Colorado State University is our Academic Partner as we sail around the world on our floating campus, the MV World Odyssey!