Semester at Sea: Study Around the World

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Study break.
Study Time.


Explore multiple countries around the world while earning up to 15 credits! Each voyage varies in its destinations, but will definitely provide a wide range of cultures and countries to see. Check the Semester at Sea website for upcoming programs, review classes offered and discover funding opportunities. Hope you have your sea legs ready!

  • Earn 12-15 academic credits from Colorado State University
  • Explore 10-12 countries around the world
  • Maximize your time in-country through Field Programs


Semester at Sea Scholarships
Semester at Sea Scholarships & Financial Aid

We at Semester at Sea are committed to our students and understand the financial burdens placed on students to earn the best education possible. This is why Semester at Sea awards $5 million in scholarships and grants annually.

$500 - $10,000

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!
The criteria for teaching are set by Bhutan's Ministry of Education and include fluency in English, at least 3 years of teaching experience and a degree in education. All three are required in order to be considered for a teaching position. Thanks.


based on 153 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 61 - 75 of 153
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Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
The food gets repetitive but that's what makes it unique!
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Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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!
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Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
-allowing people to bring fruit and cereal to their rooms
-being more lenient about what food can be brought on the boat
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Yes, I recommend this program

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).

What would you improve about this program?
Make it more accessible to more people, find more sources of funding so that more students can afford this experience
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Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I think a bit more outreach pre-voyage could work.
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Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A taste of the world in 4 months

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.

What would you improve about this program?
-Better study spaces.
-Upgraded gym, esp. more treadmills.
-More choices of low cost field programs.
-Fewer unexpected charges mid-voyage.

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Yes, I recommend this program

The most impactful experience of my life

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Yes, I recommend this program


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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Semester at Sea

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!

What would you improve about this program?
The food on the ship was a little repetitive with there being a pasta every day. Other than that, this program was great!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Semester at Sea 2013

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Opened my eyes to the people of the world

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Yes, I recommend this program

sas is the best!

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I would make it a longer program so that we could spend more time in each country.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best Test Taste Ever

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.

What would you improve about this program?
Less stress on class deliverables. Participation is class should be stressed.


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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...