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Aug 08 2017
by Samay Bansal

10 Reasons to Do A Semester at Sea

By Samay Bansal - Aug 08 2017
If you’re a Disney-obsessed 00s kid like me, you probably have memories of rushing home from school, sitting in front of a TV and watching 30 exciting minutes of the Suite Life on Deck. In each episode, Zack and Cody were living every young person’s dream: to travel the world on a beautiful ship and go to school at the same time. For years, I thought that this was only possible on the sets of Disney, but then, I chanced upon Semester at Sea. Semester at Sea is a unique study-abroad opportunity that takes about 600 college students to 10 destinations around the world, while receiving up to 15 credits from Colorado State University, from some of the world’s most incredible educators. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider it.

1. An opportunity to travel the world. 

"I think traveling with SAS is a experience unlike any other. In a word it's magical, the way you get to sail 24,000 nautical miles. The countries that they pick are amazing. Traveling to that many countries in that short of time can be overwhelming but also extremely empowering. The things you will see and the people you will meet will transform you and your ideas of the world. If you are looking to travel, that's wonderful. But if you are looking for a different way of travel, I would recommend SAS." –Peter Duda, University of Maine

2. Earn up to 15 college credits. 

"I came into Loyola as an international studies major, so I always knew I wanted to travel. My school has the typical study abroad programs; a semester in the Rome campus, for example, where it is extremely easy to transfer credits, but I knew I wanted something different. I wanted to go to places that not many have visited. Semester at Sea is a program that pushes people outside of their comfort zones and that is what I craved. I learned more in one semester with SAS than I could've ever imagined." –Aimee Skornik, Loyola University Chicago

3. Interact and learn from the world's best professors.

"Semester at Sea is a fantastic platform, but it is the professors at SAS that turn it into an extra-ordinary experience. In particular, our Dean, Dan, and my International Relations Professor, Dr. Mara Karlin (Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy & Force Development), have imprinted a mark on me. They understood me, challenged me and baffled me with their experience, insight, intelligence and humor in the way only excellent educators can. The lessons I learned from these people stretched much further than our syllabus, and I am forever grateful to have experienced such quality education." –Marie Sakina Chaudhri, Copenhagen Business School

4. Taste local delicacies from around the world.

"As a foodie, my favourite memories from Semester at Sea almost always involve the delicious food we had in port. Exploring the Victoria & Albert Food Market in Cape Town, the local markets in Ho Chi Minh City and the fufu stalls in Tema are some experiences that I will never forget. Food on the ship can get a little boring, but with barbecues, cultural specials and Taco Tuesday every so often, the wait isn't unbearable!" –Samay Bansal (author), Tufts University

5. Specially curated IMPACT programs.

"My time at the Torgorme Village in Ghana is an experience that I'll never forget. While staying overnight with a host family, I was able to make friends my age, explore their village, listen to their music and even learn how to dance. It was a great experience being able to talk with young adults from Ghana. We were able to ask each other questions and learn a lot through the process. I realized that while we had a lot of differences, we had a lot in common too. I feel that this experience has really impacted me." –Michaela Mudaro, SUNY New Paltz 

6. Personal growth.

"Sometimes throughout the experiences, you will have to act decisively and firmly in order to get yourself out of a difficult situation. Sometimes you will bear witness to awe-inspiring beauty and sometimes you will bear witness to harsh realities. Sometimes you will find yourself doing things you never thought you would. But all of these experiences make a stronger you – a more self-sufficient, conscious, and sympathetic you." –Adahli Trejo, University of San Diego

7. Inspire others to travel.

"There is no growth in comfort. That's why I chose to do Semester at Sea. There wasn't a moment during the whole voyage when I felt totally comfortable in my environment, because I was constantly on the move – thrust into new societies every other week. My experiences abroad stirred people's interests back home. I had people asking me questions about being abroad, the investment and whether it would impact their graduation time. I tell everyone that there is no better time than now to be selfish and travel while we're still young. ... Now, many of my friends are planning on going abroad within the next few years!" –Sana Nguyen, University of Florida

8. Life aboard a cruise ship.

"Just one of many aspects that makes SAS so unique: ship life. Watching sunsets and sunrises from the deck, gazing at mesmerizing waves, late nights with friends, Neptune Day, Sea Olympics and taking classes from renowned professors and with students from across the world are some of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that await you on Semester at Sea." –Naily Nevarez, University of Oregon

9. Make friends for a lifetime and be part of the SAS network.

"What better way to bond with people than living on a ship and traveling the world together? The shared experiences SAS voyagers have with one another create friendships that last a lifetime. SASers look out for one another onboard the ship, in country and then post voyage as well. From SAS I have a global network of friends, places to stay, professors to seek advice from and potential future work colleagues." –Thomas Joutsikoski, Exeter University

10. Break stereotypes.

"I felt like I need to break out of the box my society was constructing around me. I wanted to make an opinion of the world for myself, not have 60 year-old farmers tell me what to think. I wanted to be open minded and independent, learn from a society [about] how they do things differently and not judge them because their view on the world was different from mine." –Courtney Cummings, Wright State University

I've been off the ship for 105 days now and I can confidently say that I think about my experience, my Semester at Sea family and the wonderful destinations, every day. No two voyages are the same, but that's exactly what makes them so wonderful. You can re-discover yourself whilst discovering the corners of the world. Semester at Sea is a study abroad program like no other – get onboard and take the plunge!

Lead Image Credit: Samay Bansal

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Samay Bansal - Tufts University

Samay is an international student pursuing an economics degree at Tufts University, MA. Samay loves travel, food, photography, and adventures. Follow him on Instagram @samaybansal and @bansalbound for his travel photographs.

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