The Sea Education Association (SEA) Oceans and Climate teaches how to Past Review

By (Biology, Vassar College) for

Sea Education Association: Programs at Sea - Oceans and Climate

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
(Please see the words of wisdom, too). I left SEA in complete awe of the world that surrounds us (particularly the aquatic areas) and inspired by the need for a better understanding of the world beneath the surface of the ocean. I am a more confident individual, secure in the knowledge that I am capable of tackling tough challenges and self-sufficient with the capability of working with others.

Review Photos

SEA Semester: Programs at Sea - Oceans and Climate Photo SEA Semester: Programs at Sea - Oceans and Climate Photo SEA Semester: Programs at Sea - Oceans and Climate Photo SEA Semester: Programs at Sea - Oceans and Climate Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

SEA's overall administration is incredibly accommodating and responsive. They work very closely with students and serve not only as administrators, but also mentors who really care about their students and get to know them well. Our trip leaders (Jan Witting, Chief Scientist and Phil Sacks, Captain) were just as accommodating, and I was continuously impressed with their knowledge and patience.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The land component of my SEA experience had students living in two large houses with one another (~12 students per house) on the SEA campus in Woods Hole, MA. This really encourages the development of personal relationships and bonds between students that carry over to the sea component. The living situation on the boat is understandably cramped, but that is just a part of the experience of being on a large ocean-going research vessel and, if anything, only adds to the experience and the strong bonds formed between students.

* Food:

The ability of our steward to prepare meals with fresh ingredients (for 6 weeks straight with only two port stops later in the trip) was INCREDIBLE. These people really know how to keep you energized with healthy food for what is an incredibly rigorous, rewarding experience (fresh sushi from tuna caught on lines behind the ship really helps morale, too!). From my experience, the stewards are also very good about accommodating dietary restrictions (they just need to know well ahead of time) and are very inventive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

SEA does a good job of getting students out in Woods Hole to see local science facilities and put nautical science skills to use. They are good about giving students free time during port stops to explore the local areas. However, I think they could do a better job of providing students with information about the surrounding areas during port stops so that they don't spend precious time on land trying to figure out where to go and what to do.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

SEA is very safety conscious, but not to an unreasonable degree. Swim calls while at sea are limited to times when the water is calm and there are no possible dangers around (and, as such, are not very frequent). Health is a priority while at sea, and the medical officers and boats are prepared for any possible situation.

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

  • Apartment
  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Have a strong desire to be challenged. This program is not easy. You do not have to be in incredible shape or a scientific genius, but you do have to have an open mind, a willingness to work closely with others (even trusting other students with your life), and the will to work through exhaustion and seasickness. This is not meant to scare, but rather to prepare you for what is to come. If you have these qualities, you will excel with SEA, you will leave a different (better) person, and you will have instilled within you an intimate knowledge of the impacts that we humans are having on this Earth.