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 46 - 60 of 146
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Semester at Sea, Growth in Travel

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.
Yes, I recommend
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An Unforgettable Experience

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Changed My Life

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Greatest Experience of My Life

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Semester at Sea

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!
Yes, I recommend
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22,000 nautical miles, 14 counties, counties memories

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Most memorable semester of my entire life!

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!
Yes, I recommend
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One of the highlights of my life!

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Semester at Sea - No place I'd rather be

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!
Yes, I recommend
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my once in a lifetime!

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!
Yes, I recommend
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Equal Parts Amazing, Equal Parts Horrible

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?
-allowing people to bring fruit and cereal to their rooms
-being more lenient about what food can be brought on the boat
Yes, I recommend
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Semester at Sea is a once in a lifetime experience!

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
Yes, I recommend
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Best Experience of my Life

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Greatest Experience in College

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.

Yes, I recommend
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SAS is an incredible journey

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.
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...