Travel is all the hype now a days. When I was in college, students were studying abroad left and right. I went into the study abroad office with the intention to study in Italy. But as I was looking around I realized I couldn’t pick just one place, I wanted to go everywhere. That is when I came across Semester at Sea.
A little background on Semester at Sea is that it is a moving campus, has classrooms on the ship, and people from all over the world can go. You live on a ship with 700 plus students and staff for a few months and travel from port to port. I have to say this was one of the best decisions I have made (maybe not financially, but definitely personally) and I would not have picked any other study abroad program. We traveled from England to Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain, France, Portugal, and back to England in a little over two months.
Here is a quick breakdown of how it works:
Semester at Sea is a floating campus.
If you go to semesteratsea.org you can see details on how the whole process works. First, you apply!!
Paying for the trip can seem scary but there are actually lots of ways to get scholarship money for the voyage.
I was on a summer semester voyage which financial aid does not cover. However, Semester at Sea offers some pretty great scholarships for it’s applicants. Apply for those, too! They currently only offer semester voyages which financial aid might actually cover some of the costs. Worst case, you can be like me and get a private loan! I am still paying it off, but like I said, this is a trip of a lifetime.
Preparing for the voyage is the best part.
When I was getting ready to go, I joined and also created multiple Facebook groups for Semester at Sea students on my voyage (this is actually how I met some of my closest friends from the trip). We made groups based on ports and activities such as going to Paris, Disneyland, Marrakech, London Hostels, and many more.
Once you are enrolled for the voyage you get a student account.
Here, you will pick your classes, deck to live on, and do important ship paperwork. Semester at Sea offers excursions directly through them as well. You get to pick these through your student account as well as aboard the ship. This includes more personalized tours and activities to special destinations within each country. I went on a Santorini trip with a group of shipmates and Cinque Terre trip with SAS. Taking part in the Cinque Terre trip with SAS eliminated the need for me to find separate tickets to each place and avoid the hunt for hotels. Plus, the excursions provided me with a group of people to hang out with and a day with a worry-free itinerary.
Ship life is the best life.
Besides the occasional sea sickness, life aboard the ship is closely related to a large camp. The rooms are tiny but you get your own bathroom and become super close with your shipmate! I still stay in contact with mine. While traveling from port to port you are in class. Once you are in port, you are out of class! It is like small breaks in between and such a wonderful concept. Each class has a field trip that will take place in one of the ports. These are very informative and closely related to the excursions SAS offers. They are also a great way to meet more people from the ship.
Semester at Sea changed my life. It opened my eyes to new cultures, people, ideas. It also made me a traveler.
If I could do it all over again, I would, and I would take my hubby on the voyage. If you are looking to travel to multiple countries in a short amount of time and want to make some of the best memories possible, apply for Semester at Sea. You won’t be sorry.