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!

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

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 106 - 120 of 152
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Katelyn
9/10

Changing Perspectives

Any abroad experience should change our perspectives, but SAS allows students to experience so many countries, take in so much difference that students spend the next year processing their experiences. Even months after I left the ship I hadn't know exactly what had changed about me. Joined the Peace Corps and spent an additional two years living abroad, and journey I never would have had if not for SAS.

How can this program be improved?
More scholarships for students who can't afford the experience would be very helpful. And having a better variety of classes on board would have been enjoyable.
Yes, I recommend
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Lauren
10/10

Semester At Sea--journey of a lifetime, circumnavigating the world

Living on a ship with hundreds of college students, international guest speakers, world class faculty from the USA, life long learners and the ship crew is the most amazing indescribable experience and I would pay millions of dollars to be able to send my sisters and children on this in the future. My trip was a spring voyage traveling the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans, crossing the equator to stop at 12 amazing countries. The excursions with the Semester at Sea program were amazing as well as the freedom to travel alone in the countries. My trip started in San Diego to Hawaii, Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, and London. After I had the experience of traveling alone in Europe for a few weeks before returning to the states. I saw and experienced the greatest things that I would never have done on my own without SAS. I met lifelong friends and connections that will travel with me into my future. I could go on for days. Just look up people's go-pro youtube videos! The classes always related to the upcoming country visits and the best part ended up being living at sea.. not even stopping in country! Sitting on the pool deck, being rocked to sleep by the sea, star gazing and watching the waves splash the porthole in my room while 10 new friends pile in to watch movies. Best experience of my life.

How can this program be improved?
I would have stayed for longer!
Yes, I recommend
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Colleen
10/10

I'm on a ship!

Experience the world while sailing on your own floating campus! Deciding to take a Semester at Sea was the best decision I have ever made and I honestly wish I could have studied on the ship for all four years of my college career. From August-December 2012 I traveled to 16 different countries on 4 continents and was able to gain a truly global perspective. On board the ship were not only 500 other college students but professors, staff, their families, Life Long Learners (people who are retired who are auditing classes while traveling with us), and the ship's crew. Semester at Sea offers many courses that fit with multiple majors, on my voyage there were over 60 courses offered to students and each course is tailored to the specific countries/continents that will be visited over the course of the semester. While the ship is docked there are no classes or class requirements (outside of the odd field trip) and you are free to travel around the country as you wish. Semester at Sea offers many planned trips and experiences you can participate in or you can travel on your own or with friends. Classes are taken while the ship is sailing, though there are some fun days thrown in to celebrate crossing the equator or playing in the Sea Olympics. Additionally, there are many clubs, sports and activities available and the freedom to create a group for almost any interest you may have. Semester at Sea is a unique and rewarding program for anyone who wants to travel and truly experience the world.

How can this program be improved?
If I could make one change to Semester at Sea I would lengthen the amount of time spent in each port of call. Understandably, there needs to be a designated number of class days where students are focused on academics. However, it can sometimes be difficult to truly experience a country if you are only there for two or three days. Overall, we were in each country an average of 4 days but it does vary from voyage to voyage and country to country.
Yes, I recommend
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Lauren
10/10

This will change your life.

If you are thinking about doing Semester at Sea, do it, don't look back, and do anything you have to do to make it happen. Your eyes will be opened the beauty and realities of the world. You will forever have a connection with anyone who ever went on Semester at Sea, whether they are from your voyage, or a voyage 40 years ago. 4-5 days sounds like a very short time to be in a country, but you'll be amazed by how much you can see, experience, and learn in such a short period of time. No one else can possibly understand the experiences you will have, and this will be frustrating, but you'll be forever connected to your shipmates. The staff is also unbelievable. It's an amazing community that cannot be duplicated.

How can this program be improved?
Can they offer a 4 year degree program? :)
Yes, I recommend
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Tiffany
10/10

SAS Changes Lives

Semester at Sea was literally a chance and opportunity to leave my comfort zone and experience cultures of the world. It was a learning experience culturally on ship as in country and the most significant semester of college I experienced. I learned to cook new foods, speak new languages, dance, laugh, and so much more. In 107 days I was able to travel and experience fourteen different countries and cultures as well as learn to live life as a college student at sea. I made friends around to world and was forever changed into a global citizen with wanderlust in my heart.

How can this program be improved?
I think it would be great to open the program up beyond undergraduate and life long learns after they obtain a certain age. I think this program could be beneficial to graduate students as well.
Yes, I recommend
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Alisha
10/10

If you don't do SAS, you will miss the opportunity of a lifetime

Well, well..

having grown up in Europe, traveling to foreign countries isn't new to me.In Europe you just jump in a car and drive a couple of hours and voilà you're in a different country with a different culture. When I learned about SAS I was...in awe. This was probably the coolest thing on earth and exactly what I wanted to do, but I wasn't sure if I could financially afford to make this trip. Fortunately, SAS offers financial aid to everyone in need - even Non-Americans - which I will be forever grateful for because it made my trip happen. (So dear Non-Americans reading this, please do not hesitate to apply!)

Well, the traveling part was obviously the best part. We went to places I've always wanted to go (Japan,South Africa, India) and places I had never dreamed I'd be able to see (Mauritius) and I loved every second of it, even if not everything went smoothly. You will grow so much during these months, learn things you could never possibly learn back at home, and just do crazy things that will make your friends jealous.

The thing I was most surprised about is the quality of education.We all had those teachers who are seemingly bored of their (career) life and simply drag their students through their classes. However, on SAS I felt like that the teachers were more than 'just teachers' - they were all professionals who worked in their field for quite a while and therefore had more to tell you than just what your school book said. The staff was really friendly and helpful,especially when you needed help.

So honestly, why,why why would anyone ever consider doing a different study abroad program if you're able to see so many countries,cultures, world wonders, blue oceans, dolphins, sunsets and sunrises and meet the most awesome, helpful and generous people?

I am still blown away by what I've seen, done and experienced. I wish I could put it into words without writing War-and-Peace-length novel, but let me tell you: Do not look any further, SAS is the best that will ever happen to you.

How can this program be improved?
Make it even longer??? I loved every second, even the bad moments (in hindsight haha.) Just be aware, this isn't a luxury skiing trip to Switzerland. You can make the best memories of your life, but only if you want to. I've experienced that it is humans nature to complain, but why not focus on the awesome opportunity that is ahead of you? I would always choose to do it again if I could.
Yes, I recommend
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Jenna
10/10

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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Allie
10/10

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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Valerie
9/10

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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Megan
10/10

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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Brenna
10/10

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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Laura
9/10

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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Allison
9/10

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.
Packing:
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!
Summary:
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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Marilyn
7/10

Sas

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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Kristina
9/10

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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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...