Semester at Sea: Study Around the World
98% Rating
(146 Reviews)

Semester at Sea: Study Around the World

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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 2018 Semester Voyage

  • Dates: September 9, 2018 - December 23, 2018
  • 107 Days, 11 Countries, 13 Cities, 4 Continents

Destinations: Germany, Spain, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Myanmar (Burma), Vietnam, China, Japan, (Hawaii) United States

Spring 2019 Semester Voyage

  • Dates: January 5, 2019 - April 19, 2019
  • 102 Days, 11 Countries, 15 Cities, 4 Continents

Destinations: (Hawaii) United States, Japan, China, Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma), India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, Germany

Fall 2019 Semester Voyage

  • Dates: September 9, 2019 - December 23, 2019
  • 106 Days, 11 Countries, 12 Cities, 4 Continents

Destinations: Poland, Kiel Canal Transit, Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Morocco, Ghana, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama Canal Transit, Ecuador, Costa Rica, (California) United States

Cape Town
Ho Chi Minh City
Program Type
Subject Areas
Art History
Creative Writing
Cultural Studies
English Literature
International Business
Liberal Arts
Marine Biology
Women's Studies
Some Activities
Online Application
Price Details
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!

Questions & Answers

As long as you were enrolled as a full-time student the semester immediately before your voyage, and you have proof of admission to the university you are transferring to (such as an admission letter) after your voyage, then you should be all set!
Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until you're enrolled at an accredited university / college. Hope that helps!
Yes there are options for people with specific dietary restrictions. I had a friend who had some and you just need to let them know before you begin (you can call the ISE/SAS office too). The chefs work with you to determine your needs. Since the ship picks up food along the way, they do their best to accommodate with what they have. Just know going into it that you may be eating a lot of the same...
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 language sessions are taught by visiting lecturers prior to arrival in each country.

Program Reviews

based on 146 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 9.6
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 31 - 45 of 146
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Best experience of my life!!

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Life Changing

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Best Experience

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

Yes, I recommend
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Study the World on a Ship

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!

Yes, I recommend
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It is what you make it

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 :)

Yes, I recommend
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Life Changing

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.

Yes, I recommend
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The best there is!

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.

Yes, I recommend
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SAS - Travel the World in 4 Months

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.

Yes, I recommend
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A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

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!

Yes, I recommend
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Like no other program

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!

Yes, I recommend
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The world really is your campus!

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Becoming a Global Citizen

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.

Yes, I recommend
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SAS: Best Study Abroad

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Greatest experience of my life

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.

Yes, I recommend
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A Cosmopolitan Experience Incomparable To Anything In This World!!!

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.

Yes, I recommend

About Semester at Sea

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...