Semester at Sea: Study Around the World

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About

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!

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

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!
One thing to add, gap year students can participate in SAS. It also never hurts to call them to check in with your situation and see what's available!
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.

Reviews

98%
based on 152 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 76 - 90 of 152
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Taylor
10/10

Can't imagine doing any other program!

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 !!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Alana
10/10

Unbelievable Experience Tainted by Bad Reputation

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Alex
10/10

SAS

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Samantha
10/10

Strong academics, great professors, lots of drunk freshmen.

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Meredith
10/10

The most gratifying experience I have ever had

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
Yes, I recommend this program
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Paige
10/10

One of the Most Memorable Summers of my Life

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Kelsey
8/10

Semester at Sea Review

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Anna
10/10

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

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Alice
10/10

Enrichment Voyage! Short Term Study Abroad

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Bridget
10/10

AMAZING EXPERIENCE

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!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Miles
10/10

Best Semester(s) of My Life

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Stephanie
10/10

Semester of a Lifetime

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Danielle
10/10

Life changing experience

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Abby
6/10

Awesome opportunity

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.

No, I don't recommend this program
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Nicole
10/10

Open your eyes to the world around you

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.
Yes, I recommend this program

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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...