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 106 - 120 of 146
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Life Changing

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

Yes, I recommend
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Greatest 100 days of my life

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Discover your World!!

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Life Changing

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!

Yes, I recommend
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BEST decision you'll make in college!

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Semester at Sea, a trip of a lifetime!

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Amazing Exposure to Various Cultures

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.
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!
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.

Yes, I recommend
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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.

Yes, I recommend
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Been Around The World Na Ya Ya- Semester at Sea

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!

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

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Great way to catch the travel bug!

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!

Yes, I recommend
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Do this. You will absolutely never regret it.

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.

Yes, I recommend
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College Credit for Crusing Around the World

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)

Yes, I recommend
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Semester at Sea is the place to be!

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.

Yes, I recommend
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It really is the voyage of a lifetime

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

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...