Tahiti to Hawaii: Mermaids are REAL. Past Review

By (Fisheries Biology, University of Vermont) for

Sea Education Association: Programs at Sea - Oceans and Climate

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Having this educational experience on my resume has helped me get jobs like being a commercial fisherwoman in Alaska as well as where I currently work, for NOAA in Woods Hole. Its a great networking opportunity. When employers are thumbing through resumes and they see something like 'sailed across the Pacific on a scientific research vessel' it grabs their attention. I have had multiple people call me up for an interview just because they want to talk about the cool stuff I've done. I am so, so glad I did this program.

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

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.

Very rigorous academically, in a very good way. The work was difficult at times, but always fun and incredibly rewarding. I felt challenged in just the right ways, with solid support throughout the program.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

SEA made it possible for me to participate in the program by offering a very generous scholarship and helping me afford the experience in every way they could. The people working 'behind the scenes' at SEA's base in Woods Hole are wonderfully committed to making the program a possibility for literally anyone who wants to get out on this adventure. While one must be committed to working hard academically and mentally prepared for the rigors of extended time out at sea, this program is not as 'elitist' as you might expect at first glance. I applied last minute and was able to get on a trip during my senior year of college. Previously I had thought the program was 'out of reach'. It is the absolute best thing I have ever done for myself... far more valuable an experience than any other undergrad semester. Just apply and see what SEA can do to help make it happen for you! I highly recommend it to everyone even slightly interested.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The dorms in Woods Hole are nice, and the sailboats are absolutely gorgeous. I think the pics on sea.edu speak for themselves.

* Food:

I would have liked to have more health food at meals. Our cook was all about cooking 'comfort' foods, which is yummy, but sometimes left me feeling sluggish. The steward (cook) onboard varies with each trip... I have heard great things about the food on other trips. The students also typically help prepare food and plan meals. Ultimately it was just a matter of speaking up and asking for what you'd like to see on the table. The cook was very accommodating to vegetarians/ vegans and special diets.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We went to Tahiti, Moorea, Nuku Hiva, Rangiroa, and finally Hawai'i. AMAZING. I was asked to help out in the science lab on the following trip as well... we sailed south from Hawai'i to Kiribati (Christmas Island), Bora Bora and finally the boat was back down in Tahiti. When else would you have a chance to explore these parts of the ocean?? Nuku Hiva (in the Marquesas) was my favorite port stop. The locals were awesome. I was force fed like, 5 coconuts one afternoon. By that I mean they were very friendly and happy to share!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

SAFETY FIRST, without a doubt. I felt very, very safe in the Captain's care.

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

  • Dorm
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Anyone could gain from this experience. Especially if you have an affinity for the ocean, you will LOVE this. Be prepared for extended time at sea. Its hard work, and while the romanticism endures... you come to learn first hand that 'while you may love the ocean, she doesn't love you'. I respect the power and beauty of the Pacific Ocean more than ever. Its hard, there are challenging moments, but the personal and intellectual growth is incredible. Not to mention... you gain 'badass' status with everyone you know for making such an ocean passage. Its challenging, it pays off big time.