Semester at Sea: Study Around the World

Video and Photos

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 121 - 135 of 152
Default avatar
Rebecca
10/10

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 this program
Default avatar
Elaine
10/10

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 this program
Default avatar
Megan
10/10

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 this program
Default avatar
S
9/10

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 this program
Default avatar
Jenny
10/10

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 this program
Default avatar
Robin
10/10

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 this program
Default avatar
Amber
10/10

Adventure of a Lifetime

Semester at Sea is an absolutely amazing opportunity to see the world and have educational experiences in the classroom at sea with on site activities during port stops. Anyone who has ever taken a journey with this organization can attest these were the best days of their lives! Coursework is interesting and matches the destinations with on-site activity opportunities. Locations visited allow students to broaden their horizons and become a member of the global community. I have no negative comments about this program or experience. Highly recommend!!

How can this program be improved?
Cost is a negative factor, but well worth the expense if you can obtain financial aid or know your future career will allow for easy repayment of the loan.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Kelsey
10/10

Suite Life on Deck (Reallife)

Semester at Sea is the ultimate travel study abroad. You take amazing classes while at sea and have free time in port. While you will have a few small projects to do at a variety of different countries they are never overwhelming and most of them are things you would take in anyway. This is true global education with learning from experiences. The professors are amazing and you spend so much time with them, they become a part of your family. You'll make amazing friendships and have amazing experiences. Yeah the wifis a little spotty, and at times, you might long for land on the longer stretches between countries but a deck side dinner will make you realize what an amazing experience it is. The second you leave you'll be trying to figure out how to go again. Worth every penny.

How can this program be improved?
The ships food is meh. (Port food makes up for this... Indian curry in India, yes please)
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Heather
10/10

Semester at Sea- Spring 2012

You will leave Semester at Sea without the right words to describe your experiences. You will not have another opportunity quite like this one. Though you may not be fully immersed in one single culture, you will learn a lot about a lot of cultures and develop you own ship culture with your peers on your voyage. This unique group of students will become some of your best friends for life!
The hardest part was getting the paperwork done for visas and your home university. Once you're past that, it's smooth sailing..... (well sometimes!)

How can this program be improved?
Their shipboard run excursions could be improved as well as their funding!
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Julie
10/10

Experience of a Lifetime

I would (and do) highly recommend this study abroad program to anyone! I had the most amazing time and it opened my eyes to so many new experiences. I never thought I would be comfortable experiencing this journey alone, but I met the most amazing people with the same passion--traveling!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Zachary
10/10

The World at Your Fingertips

Semester at Sea is an incredible, global comparative study abroad program that allows participants the ability to interact and experience many different countries and cultures all within one semester. While the voyages change a bit each semester, many of the same countries are visited, allowing for feedback and tips from alumni and program staff. For example, my voyage in Spring 2012 left from the Bahamas, then traveled to Dominica, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Singapore, China (Hong Kong and Shanghai), Japan (Kobe and Yokohama), Hawaii, and ended in San Diego. We spent 1 to 7 days in each country. Students take classes on board the ship while at sea, but have great freedom within each country to explore and do independent travel. This freedom allows you to create your own unique semester at sea experience. While some of the major highlights of each voyage involve the incredible sight-seeing, the truly amazing aspect of this program is being able to interact with different cultures and people all around the world. You also form life-long bonds with your fellow voyagers and develop better friendships than you may have ever had with people back home. The food on the ship can get monotonous, but I always found it perfectly fine (lots of potatoes, pasta, and pork). One other major criticism for the program is the fact that you don't really IMMERSE yourself into any particular country or culture, due to the short duration of time spent in each place. However, this is not the intent of the program; rather, the program puts a higher emphasis on the global comparisons and helping to expand students' minds to think as global citizens. So, if you really only want to focus on one country or culture, this program isn't for you, but if you love to have incredible experiences, see the world and travel, and see multiple countries in one semester, you should sign up! My voyage was truly life-changing and has somewhat defined who I am going forward in my life. My Semester at Sea experience almost always comes up at some point in conversation with new people. It helps make me more marketable in any area of life I choose to pursue, as I have demonstrated that I have an understanding of other cultures from my own and have experienced different ways of thinking only possible through the first-hand interactions that are part of the Semester at Sea program. If you are able to go on a Semester at Sea, the world will truly be at your fingertips.

How can this program be improved?
I honestly cannot think of other major that I would want to change with the program. The only minor area that could be improved is some of the pre-voyage communication, especially in advice, deadlines, etc. While the information is certainly all there, it wasn't always incredibly easy to find all the information that may have been helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Evan
10/10

The best thing to happen to me...so far!

Today is my birthday. As I reflect on past experiences, I realize that the greatest gift I have ever received was the chance to travel around the world with Semester At Sea. It literally changed my life in a way so comprehensive that it's not explainable with mere words. SAS is a mentality, it's a perception, and it's a sense of purpose. It's the best thing to happen in my life so far.

There is nothing like it elsewhere in the world. Your eyes are opened up to a multitude of experiences that make you a more insightful and caring person...a person that is on track to change the world in very big ways.

I mean...you're on a freaking ship! It's a community full of people that you study, sleep, eat, play, travel, (and definitely stink, as we did in Brazil) with. It's the pinnacle of any travel adventurer.

But the even more amazing thing is is that it doesn't have to be the end, and it certainly hasn't been for me. It's the greatest foundation of a life well traveled, and a life that is prepared to take on the world's myriad challenges.

How can this program be improved?
I think SAS has already improved since I've been on my voyage. I just wish I could go again.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Michael
10/10

Best Experience of my life

I studied abroad on semester at sea's spring 2012 voyage around the world. I can not say enough good things about the program. It exposes you to various cultures, ethnicities, backgrounds, and unmatched experiences that you will not find on any other study abroad program. We travelled from the Bahamas to Dominica, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Japan, Hawaii, and debarked in San Diego, California. In what other study abroad program can you wake up to some place new every single day, while living on board a cruise ship for 4 months? I have seen more and done more than most people will do in their entire lives, thanks to Semester at Sea. GO SAS!

How can this program be improved?
I wish we had more time to spend in the ports. 5-8 days in each port was definitely not enough time. But as we gained experience, we managed our time and fit as much as possible in our short port stays.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Alexa
10/10

SAS Has Been the Best Decision of My Life Thus Far

Semester At Sea is truly an amazing program. I think nearly every person that has done a voyage (whether a student, professor, or other faculty member) can say that SAS has changed or greatly impacted their life. This program is worth every penny. Also keep in mind that the Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE) is very generous when it comes to awarding students scholarships and grants for SAS. If you don't think you can afford the program, apply anyway! You never know what might happen...

As someone who was studying International Affairs during my undergrad, I wanted to do a study abroad program that would give me a better perspective of the entire world - not just one country. I had already studied abroad twice, but I wanted a more worldly view. I felt like Semester At Sea was the only way I could obtain this perspective while finishing my bachelor's degree, and I was definitely right. Although I'm not an expert in any of the countries I traveled to during my voyage (and am not an expert in the countries I studied abroad in either), I feel like I have a better understanding of the world as a whole.

A Semester At Sea voyage is really what people make of it. I've heard some people criticize the program and say that SAS students don't learn anything. I would absolutely disagree with this. I think some people are more likely to immerse themselves in other cultures more so than others. If you go abroad, I would challenge you to immerse yourself as much as possible. I think some people took academics more seriously (such as myself) than others. Your SAS journey really is what you make of it, but I DO think there are a few things that inevitably come with sailing on SAS. The voyage will change the way you perceive the world around you, and you will learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Ann
10/10

SAS changed my life

Living with amazing college students from all over the USA, learning from professors who have great passion, seeing so much of the world - what more could you ask for! If you have an adventurous spirit, this is the place for you. I saw so much and met great friends and really tasted the life of travel and adventure and I have never turned back - still living overseas now, currently in Switzerland!

Yes, I recommend this program

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

Meet the Staff

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...