To secure your place on Semester at Sea you want to apply early. There are a limited number of cabins on the ship and once they are full students will not be accepted.
Join the Facebook group.
Each semester students create a Facebook group where they plan for life on the ship. This group is also used to communicate throughout the semester.
Reach out to Alumni.
Alumni are one of your best resources for finding more information about Semester at Sea. We have several alumni who volunteer in our office. To contact one of our alumni email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do research on the countries you will visit.
One of the biggest benefits of semester at sea is the number of countries and cultures you get to experience. To make the most of your program research each of your destinations. Learn a few phrases in the local language, know the history of the sites you visit, and explore the local customs and traditions. Even the smallest effort can go a long way toward integrating with the community.
Bring your favorite snacks.
On Semester at Sea you will have the opportunity to try a lot of new cuisine. But don’t forget to bring a few favorites from home. Small snacks are great to share with your new international friends and can help you get over a bout of home sickness.
I ran away from home when I was six years old. I packed an orange Pocahontas backpack with snacks, a blanket, and my favorite book and set out across our farm—with my mother watching and waving from the picture window in her kitchen. I never ran away to escape my family or because I was unhappy. My parents admit that I have always been a bit restless. But seeing me “run away” when I was six was hardly comparable to the shock they got when I declared that I would be leaving to study abroad with Semester at Sea in 2013 sans the Pocahontas backpack.
Before Semester at Sea, I had never traveled outside of the United States. In fact, my first time on a plane was the twelve hour flight to London to board the ship that would take me around the world. In a matter of a few short months, my worldview and my understanding of different cultural implications on global societies exploded from a single region of eastern Kentucky to sixteen countries over the span of four continents.
It would take many more pages than those I have been afforded to recant the myriad of experiences I had during my time abroad. I have run for shelter from an unexpected tropical storm in Uruguay. I have fallen asleep to the rhythm of ocean waves off the coast of France. I have teetered in a wooden desk in a Ghanaian school. I have watched the sunset reflect off the Baltic Sea. I have discussed U.S. Cuban relations with a Cuban citizen as I sipped the best cup of coffee I have ever had. I have hiked through the Amazon rainforest and swam with pink river dolphins. I have danced to syncopated drum beats in a Berber village in Morocco. I have so many fond memories and adventures from my time abroad, but my favorite memory was probably during my camel trekking excursion into the Sahara Desert in Morocco.
As we were lying on handwoven mats on the desert sand, a meteorshower spread across the sky as far as I could see. Ibraham, one of our guides, looked at me and said, “Quick, Jessica! Make you a wish.” And I stalled out for something to wish for. I explained to him that being able to go abroad with Semester at Sea had been my dream for so long that I didn’t know what to wish for. He then asked if he could have my wish, which I happily said he could. He looked up at the sky and said, “I wish for you will always find your next dream and a have new wishes.” I’ll never forget that night as the stars were shooting across the sky and a complete stranger wished for me to have the kind of life I had never imagined—a life filled with a passion for travel that I had never realized I possessed until Semester at Sea opened my eyes.