Documenting Change in the Caribbean Past Review

By (Psychology, Colorado College) for

Sea Education Association: Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
SEA semester and sail training are not only about learning about the ocean and how to sail, but also about learning from that experience. On the surface, students return from SEA semester as better sailors, scientists, and historians, but the gains are so much more than that. After SEA Semester I returned to Colorado College a more inquisitive student - pressing to understand material in a deeper way, a more confident leader, and a more aware human being. SEA Semester was undoubtedly one of the most important experiences of my life.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I chose to participate in SEA Semester becuase I wanted to break away from my course-load and routines at Colorado College. Unlike most other college programs, courses at Colorado College are completed one-at-a-time in 3.5 week blocks, so in coming to SEA Semester I was forced to adjust to taking multiple courses at once. However the transition was made easy for me with support and guidance from my professors. Although Colorado College is a small school, the student faculty ratio is large compared to SEA. During the sea component of the program, the ratio of students to professional crew was nearly 2:1 and as a student I was not only encouraged, but also given adequate guidance to preform at to my highest capability. In addition to providing me with the change of pace I desired, I also "graduated" from SEA Semester with an improved awareness and confidence in my abilities as a student.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

SEA Semester is different from other programs in that half of the semester is spent on a tall ship. During the shore component I lived in a campus house with 7 other students from my class. During the sea component I lived on the ship with my entire class and the professional crew. I only needed to provide my own bedding.

* Food:

During the shore component SEA provided my house with a grocery store gift card to purchase groceries every week. During the sea component the ship's company included a cook who was responsible for preparing all meals. Even though life at sea includes constant physical activity, most students in my class ended up gaining weight becuase the food was so delicious!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The nature of my specific SEA Semester program includes cultural studies at the different islands we visited during the sea component. These included a hike in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica to learn about agriculture, sea kayaking in Caribbean mangroves, and shallow-reef snorkeling. I also had the opportunity to explore on my own and with my classmates, including swimming at the base of a waterfall in the Dominican Republic, getting a taste of local culture by visiting markets and restaurants along the way, and exploring Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard during the shore component.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Neither myself or any of my classmates experienced any safety issues during my SEA Semester. All health issues were quickly ameliorated both on shore and at sea. I am completely confident in SEA's ability to deal with any health or safety issues at any point in any program.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* 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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Come prepared to work hard and get your hands dirty. SEA semester requires 100% participation from everyone, and everything you do to go above and beyond will enrich your overall experience exponentially.