Studying abroad at sea
Story by Katie Ericson
Each semester we have to say goodbye to several students. Not because they are graduating, but because they are studying abroad. With so many programs in so many countries, studying abroad is now a huge part of the college experience. There are many different options and it can be difficult to choose between them.
One has stood out to many students. Semester at Sea is a non-profit study abroad program through the University of Virginia that has students do exactly that — study while traveling across the sea. Established in 1963, the program offers fall, spring and summer voyages ranging from 25 to 100 days and travels around Africa, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean.
While on board students have a wide range of choices for classes. From biology to religion to drama, there is a course for every major and every student. Approximately 30 professors travel with each ship and tailor the courses to the voyage to include class trips and excursions (called field labs and programs respectively) relevant to the subject matter.
Junior Savana Dale went on a trip with Semester at Sea in May 2011. For 27 days she studied the politics and economics of Central America while traveling through the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Belize.
“You get to travel to and experience so many different countries. You are able to see many different cultures and people,” Dale said.
However, since this trip was under a month long, Dale did say that she did not see as much of the cultures as she would have liked to.
“The semester long voyages get to spend like a whole week in each country where I only spent two to three days in each,” she said.
Dale explained that this did not leave her or her classmates much time to experience each country.
Summer programs for all study abroad providers are typically shorter than those of semester long voyages. As a result, Dale was limited to taking one course. On a longer voyage, students can take up to 12 credit hours. With an offering of 75 different courses, these hours can be easy to fill.
Yet she still loved her experience and now is Drake’s Semester at Sea ambassador. If interested in the program, you can contact Dale at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She also had some advice for students:
“You will never get another opportunity like that in your life- and what better time to do than when you are still in college?”