5 Important Things to Know About the Semester at Sea Program

Semester at Sea Facts and Tips

  • Trading Depth for Breadth
  • Classmates From All Over the World
  • Prominent Lecturers
  • Risks
  • Financial Aid

There are a number of important things to know about the Semester at Sea program for students who are considering participating. The Semester at Sea is a nonprofit that takes students on a global educational experience aboard ship for an entire semester. Ship travel is punctuated by visits to numerous countries. It has an association with several universities, and the credits earned are usually transferable to most colleges and universities. Here are five things students considering the program should keep in mind.

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1. Trading Depth for Breadth

Semester at Sea might not be the right choice for a student who wants an immersive experience studying abroad in one country, but what it loses in depth of knowledge about a single culture it gains in exposing students to a variety of cities, countries, and cultures. Traveling with Semester at Sea means students visit a number of different places for a short time, but along the way they get lessons in the local cultures they visit.

2. Classmates From All Over the World

On a trip with Semester at Sea, students do not just mix with other American students. The program has participants from universities worldwide. This becomes another way in which students are exposed to a variety of different cultures. It also forces students out of their comfort zones and makes them challenge some of their perspectives.

3. Prominent Lecturers

Taking classes and studying is an important part of the Semester at Sea program, but in addition to their regular professors, students may have the opportunity to hear a variety of prominent lecturers. According to the Semester at Sea website, among the prominent speakers and guests the program has hosted are Arthur C. Clarke, Indira Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

4. Risks

There are risks associated with traveling by ship and visiting foreign countries, and the Semester at Sea is not without incident. However, problems are rare, and students can reduce their likelihood by taking precautions and making preparations. The U.S. State Department provides a number of safety tips and resources for students planning on studying abroad. Students should be aware of their surroundings, know shipboard safety and emergency procedures and know what staff members are responsible for their safety.

5. Financial Aid

A Semester at Sea may be within reach even for students who do not have significant financial resources. There are a number of forms of financial aid available. Students seeking financial aid are encouraged to fill out the Federal Application for Financial Aid forms. There are also scholarships available from Semester at Sea as well as shipboard student assistant positions that students can work to offset the cost of the program.

The Semester at Sea is a study abroad program that gives students a taste not just of one country but of the entire world. Many students have described it as life-changing. It is one of the many options available to students who are considering studying abroad, and it may not be the right choice for all of them. The best way to choose the right program is to take into account the many things to know about the Semester at Sea program and other programs and compare those against one’s goals and vision for studying abroad.