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

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.


based on 148 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 136 - 148 of 148
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Experience of a Lifetime!

I was a member of the Fall 2008 voyage and even 3 years later I think daily of my time aboard the ship. Not only will you get a chance to see the world, you will meet the most incredible people both on the ship and in port. The shipboard environment encourages openness and promotes an environment where learning is exciting.

The faculty is diverse and their teaching styles will not appeal to everyone as they all come from different universities. However, if you do find a professor you like, the ship provides an opportunity to connect with them on a level you wont get at any university. Eating dinner with faculty ever night is a great way to score amazing recommendation letters and incredible advice on succeeding in academia.

Yes, I recommend
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The Best Three Weeks Known To Man

I went on a Semester at Sea Pre-College program as a part of an enrichment voyage in December 2010. It was a three week voyage leaving from Mexico and journeying through the Panama Canal, ending in Fort Lauderdale. I had an absolutely amazing time on the voyage, so much so that I describe it as some of the best days of my life. Not only did I experience the world and other countries, I also made some amazing friends and learned so much! I can only imagine what a semester journey would do for me. I would recommend any form of this program to anyone, because it truly is amazing. It may be pricy, but in my opinion is worth every penny! You will not regret it.

Yes, I recommend
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Semester at Sea - Life-Changing Experience

Semester at Sea was incredible. I went on the Summer 2010 voyage, and my only regret is that I did not go for a full semester! SAS is so unique, not only because you get to see the world and take courses on a ship, but there is also an amazing shipboard community. If you want to learn about and visit many different countries, enhance your global perspective, and form relationships that will last a lifetime, Semester at Sea is the program for you! On SAS, students take classes while the ship is at sea and are free to explore and travel while in the different ports. There are also faculty directed trips for course credit.

Semester at Sea is expensive – but completely worth every penny. SAS offers many different forms of financial aid. I was awarded a need based grant, and I had a work-study job on the ship, which I really enjoyed.

Semester at Sea was the best experience of my life. I have not only come away from SAS with a desire to learn more about the world and different cultures, but I have also gained lifelong friendships with people all over the world.

Yes, I recommend
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Life Changing of Seeing and Meeting People

After traveling the world or going to study abroad, you consider doing more things in life than ever before. Starting with what is around you, friends and family. Being gone for 3 to 5 months did make me miss things back at home, but the friends that i made along the way or even the people that i met once or twice just might be a long life friend. It amazes me how people could not talk to each other even for a brief moment or those who are nervous now because what do you have to lose? I want to meet more people and make more friends. I mean what is the point of traveling the world if you do it alone or even living in your everyday life alone? Enjoy every minute and every breathe of it.

Yes, I recommend
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Semester At Sea was amazing!

If you've got an adventurous spirit and like to experience new and unfamiliar things, than this is by far the best study abroad experience available. It may not be for everyone, but the times and encounters I had in the 3 months on the MV Explorer changed my outlook on life and the world forever. I attribute so much of who I am today to the places I went, the people I met, and the pieces of this great earth that I saw.

Yes, I recommend
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SAS is an amazing, global, experience that can't be overlooked

SAS was the perfect study abroad program for me. You could be entirely immersed into a culture for the day and come back to enjoy the comforts of the ship at night without having to worry about food, lodging, or security. Of course, spending the night away from the ship was always a plus and made for some fun adventures.

SAS gave me the opportunity to see not just one country like most study abroad programs, but rather gave me a glimpse of the entire world, literally! It was an amazing experience and I grew tremendously from the many adventures and mishaps I went through. The faculty and staff do a wonderful job not only with academics but also in making sure that you have the experience of a lifetime.

Yes, I recommend
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A semester beyond anything you could dream

I spent months, years even, planning for and dreaming about my Semester at Sea experience. It ended up being my last semester as an undergraduate student, and boy was it a way to end my college career. No amount of space or time would be enough to capture my experience as a member of the Semester at Sea Spring 2011 voyage community, so what I will say will be as short and direct as I can make it. Semester at Sea will blow your mind, anyone's mind. No matter how many plans you make ahead of time or how many expectations of yourself and others you muster up and how many times they are fulfilled or disappointed, SAS will be a mind-blowing, eye-opening, and all around beautiful experience. I believe that everyone, and I mean everyone, should have the chance to travel and learn in the SAS way, so those of you who can actually make that happen for yourselves, embrace it and do not waste a moment of it. No matter what happens along the way, good, bad or otherwise, SAS will offer you glimpses of people and the world that few are lucky enough to have. Whatever you choose to be involved with aboard the ship, however you choose to travel while in port, and whoever you befriend along the way, you will not regret your experience, rather, when it ends, you will be begging to get back on the MV Explorer and see the world in reverse. Get ready for the experience of a lifetime and many days, weeks and months of wishing you could do it again once it ends.

Yes, I recommend
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SAS: The Good and the Bad

Going on Semester at Sea was definitely one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life. It's such an incredible experience to be able to see the world like this and you make some of the best friends you will ever have. One of the things that I did not like about SAS, however, was that it seemed like about 1/3 of the students on board thought they were on a party boat the whole time and didn't seem to be that open to experiencing the different cultures. Getting black out drunk in every single port (including the countries where drinking really isn't socially accepted) really isn't why I signed up for this program. But there are certainly people that do Semester at Sea that are not like that at all. Despite the not so good qualities.. I wholeheartedly recommend SAS as a study abroad program!

No, I don't recommend
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I made the right choice.

Let me start by saying that SAS isn't perfect for everyone. Alcohol is not allowed on the ship. You can buy a beverage voucher and they'll allow you to have up to two drinks (a glass of wine or a beer) on certain days. The program was perfect for me, and to be honest I wouldn't change anything about it.

Make sure you pick the right classes if you decide to go, as some of the classes are a joke and a lot of busy work. Go for classes that don't sound like BS classes, trust me- they're not what you think they'll be.

On SAS I met so many incredibly awesome people and got to see the world with them. I would definitely do it all over again if I could, and in fact I'm looking into sailing again Summer 2012 (I was on the Spring 2011 voyage).

Good luck.

Yes, I recommend
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I love SAS: an amazing, life changing experience!!

I would wake up at 7:15 shower, head down to breakfast(meals get boring quickly but really good when there's french toast)....two classes in a row then lunch then usually movie/nap time then dinner catch up with friends which turns into take over Class room 1 or 2 and have a movie night until 2 or 3 in the morning usually with "How I met your mother"

Yes, I recommend
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Not perfect, but definitely worth it

Some people you talk to will say that it was "THE experience of MY LIFE!" and that the friends they made are "the greatest, bestest, most awesomest, perfect friends I could ever have! BFFL!" but take note if the person talking is eagerly foaming at the mouth.

Yes, it was an awesome experience.

Yes, you will explore other countries and cultures.

Yes, your view of the world (and your place in it) will be expanded and greater understood.

Yes, you will make some awesome friends.

But the program isn't perfect, so don't expect to sign up and have everything be sunshine and rainbows. Academically, some of the teachers really suck. Don't assume that just because the teacher is on SAS means they're going to be awesome. Make sure you research the professors before signing up for their classes. Some people were surprised by how much busywork some of the so-called "easy" classes had.

Bottom line, if you want to get off your butt and do something remarkable, this is your chance to push yourself. Stop talking about the life you want and start creating some amazing memories. Paradise waterfalls in Dominica, the view from Table Mountain in South Africa, the fun and low key (and very underrated) Busua Beach in Ghana, not to mention the taxis, trains, buses, boats, rickshaws, and planes you'll travel in along the way.

Stop thinking about it and just do it!

Yes, I recommend
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Spring 2011

This program is a learning experience unlike any other. The interactions between students, teachers, staff, life-long learners, and locals in very country helps you learn more about each other and grow as an individual. After circumnavigating the globe and seeing foreign places that many people dream about going to, that is when I realized how fortunate I was. I met many locals in these countries, who were the most accepting; respectful;and welcoming people I have ever met in my life.I would highly recommend going on Semester at Sea as a study abroad program. I can guaratee that you will have a FANTASTIC time with may never want to go home, I didn't.

Yes, I recommend
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I would do it again in a heartbeat

As with any study abroad program, there are amazing things about Semester at Sea along with drawbacks that are typical of a voyage of this nature: spend 110 days sailing around the world on a ship with 800 other people, hitting 11-13 countries along the way. The number of countries is a little vague here because unpredictable stuff happens. I sailed on the Spring 2011 voyage and we were supposed to go to Japan, but after the disasters happened in March, we went to Taiwan instead. We also made an emergency stop once or twice on some random islands because of a breakout illness on the ship. The ship is often tossed about by storms and we lost our first day in South Africa because the winds around the cape were so strong. But that is part of the adventure and unpredictability of Semester at Sea, and all of the disadvantages don't outweigh the enormity of this experience. If I had chosen to study abroad in Europe, I might have done the typical thing: fly around the continent on the weekends, see great architecture, party, meet some cute European boys. Instead, I visited 12 countries in all four corners of the world. I snorkeled in the Champagne Reef while visiting the island of Dominica, searched for caimans in the dark through the reeds of the Amazon River, stayed with a Ghanaian family in a remote village, slept on the Great Wall of China, took a 12-hour train ride across India in a 4th-class car, rode a camel through the Thar Desert at sunset, explored the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia riding the backs of motorcycles, trekked mountains alone in Taiwan, and saw what looked like the end of the world while standing in a cloud on Table Mountain in South Africa. These are just a few of the many things I was able to do with Semester at Sea. Yes, it's pricy, but ultimately it's worth it. You will get your bad eggs on the voyage, usually a large group of half-wits who just like to get drunk in every country, but you shouldn't let that group of people dampen the amazing possibilities presented to you on this trip. There is no other study abroad program quite like it. And no, I am not a social media representative for SAS, I actually enjoyed it this much. I'm so glad I chose Semester at Sea for my study abroad venture, it was literally a once-in-a-lifetime experience, unless I get to do it again. Which I would, in a heartbeat.

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...