Great and once in a lifetime experience with a few hiccups Past Review

By (Marine Sciences., University of Maine at Orono) - abroad from 07/08/2014 to 08/16/2014 with

Sea|mester: S/Y Ocean Star - Caribbean Basin Voyages

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained/ learned a lot from this experience! It was a great opportunity and a worthwhile trip. If I could do it over again I would chose a program that was more hands on in choosing staff members and more concerned with the upkeep of the boat. A new hire was suppose to shadow the current crew because he was to teach this coming fall. He was asked to leave after three days of being on the boat for inappropriate behavior.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

We attended class most nights and gained hands on experience during the day. Our teacher expected very much out of us and inspired us to ask many questions! We had homework, quizzes, final exams, and two projects. Although the course load was heavy most students enjoyed all of the information!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were concerned with our well being for the most part. When we would go on hikes, they would sometimes fail to take a form a communication. One time a girl hurt herself and students had to carry her back to the beach that we were dropped off at and attempt to wave down the crew that stayed on the boat because no one brought a VHF or any source of communication.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

It is a boat so it is slightly cramped, which isn't bad! The heat and lack of airflow/ or AC throughout the cabin at night are what made the living arrangements a little on the uncomfortable side. Most students were up at various times of the night, if not most of the night, drenched in sweat and unable to sleep. For a while, the electrical connection that ran the fans in our beds (our only source of moving air) was faulty and we would lose power in the middle of the night, depriving us of flowing air and causing at least a few students to wake up overheated. The crew was woken up on these occasions and they did their best to fix the reoccurring problem. AC sometimes ran during the day, but this was when most students were out doing various activities.

* Food:

The fridge/ freezer would sometimes be turned off (if the generator was not running) or break. Food was susceptible to temperatures ranging form 20 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and then back down to 20 again. Most food was still kept even if this occurred. Some students had intestinal issues due to this.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

On one or two of the islands we took guided tours around. On Dominica we were taken on a fruit tour through the various villages.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

If someone had a health issue, their emergency money was given to them and they were granted to go by themselves to the local clinic. One girl cut her foot open by jumping onto a rock and they wrapped her foot in a rubber glove. It did not heal, so a few days later students convinced her to go to a clinic.

* Safety:

At times, we were not informed of the length of the hikes we did. Although they were very fun, students were often unprepared for what was to come. Some times we were told we could wear sandals only to find out it was not just a walk but a hike and many students feet were penetrated by thorns.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Sometimes we were allowed to eat on land. Many students spent most of their money on food because of the refrigerator problem on board most would get sick.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100-150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Bring snacks! Have two funds: a food fund and an other expenses fund. I was not prepared and spent most of my money on food.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

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  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The places we traveled
  • The overall experience of being a on boat
  • The knowledge we gained
* What could be improved?
  • Crew evaluation
  • Upkeep of boat
  • Structure of the trip
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The idea of the trip and the places we went were wonderful. The structure and how the trip was planned out was poorly thought and carried out.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.