Study Abroad: Semester at Sea

Program: Semester at Sea
Countries visited: Japan, Vietnam, Mauritius, South Africa

Semester at SeaIn my junior year, I participated in Semester at Sea as my study abroad program. It is a global voyage program, where students and professors live on a cruise ship together, and travel around the world in about 100 days. During those 100 days, we usually visit 10 countries, meanwhile taking up to 15 academic credits.

As you read through the paragraph you might realize that it’s a very unusual learning experience, compared to all other programs. I can confidently say this simply because you couldn’t imagine living on a cruise, studying on the sea, meanwhile traveling through 10 countries in one semester! If you are looking for more adventures during college life, or you wish to experience more countries instead of one during that semester out, or you might wish to get a break from labs and codes – it might be your choice.

The semester I participated in was Spring 2020, where the global pandemic just hit, so my voyage was quite disrupted. We had to reroute several times, also end the voyage early in South Africa. However, we still spent a solid two months on the sea – so instead of describing a day in the life of Semester at Sea, I wish to describe a week in the life of Semester at Sea:

  • Monday – Thursday (on the sea): go to classes. Depends on the class you are choosing, but they are usually seminars or lectures. The schedule is divided by A/B days, so you alternate classes every other day.
  • Friday – next Tuesday (in-country): you have total freedom once the ship arrives at a port city. We usually choose to plan the travels by ourselves, but they also have travel programs provided for you to participate in!
  • Other components of sea life are quite like school – you also have clubs, you hang out with friends (but on a deck instead of on the slope!), you go to the library to study, also have two dining halls to choose from!

Semester at SeaThis program usually has around 5 Cornelians participate per voyage, and the classes they offer are mostly counted towards the College of Engineering’s liberal arts course requirements.

There are so many things I cannot share in this short blog!

—Yisu, information science, systems & technology