Semester at Sea: Canals and the Atlantic
In Fall 2019, I made the best decision of my life and joined Semester at Sea (SAS), a study abroad voyage of discovery. In my time there, I visited the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Morocco, Ghana, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. We would have classes while sailing at sea and then dock at a port for 3-6 days. In that time, we did not have classes and could go anywhere in the country as long as we made it back on the ship before it set sail.
A normal day out at sea involved the usual classes and homework, but also navigating an entire SAS ecosystem: the time zone shifts every week, sticky notes are the new text, and ping pong becomes significantly harder. Being confined on the ship with very limited internet, I was amazed at the friendships I got to make. I had heard before going abroad that I would cherish the friends I made as well as the adventures, but I did not realize how true that would be. And when we docked in a new country, plans adapted to the country. Some of my favorite port memories include riding a camel in the Sahara, snorkeling in the Galapagos, and hang gliding over Rio.
I had my sights set on Semester at Sea for some time as it is such a unique study abroad program with a wide variety of locations to visit. However, I doubted if I could fit it in with my engineering curriculum or if I wanted to make the leap of leaving the comfort of Cornell. But the flexibility of liberal studies and outside technical electives meant I could make progress towards graduating on time. And I have no regrets in having chosen to pursue it. I would highly recommend study abroad as an engineer as you get new experiences from the places you visit and the people you meet.
~Emily, electrical and computer engineering