Squalls and Choppy Seas April 15, 2019

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 09/24/2018 to 12/20/2018 with

Sea Education Association: The Global Ocean

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about myself and how I behave in high stress environments. And more importantly, I learned how to better behave in those high stress environments. How to interact with people when all I wanted to do was be at home with my family on stable ground. How to perform my duties on less than ideal hours of sleep. It was definitely worthwhile, especially in hindsight.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

It was a very intense academic experience, particularly aboard the ship. We had to balance learning to operate in a new environment on top of completing a rigorous course load.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Woods Hole was amazing. I felt supported by my peers and instructors.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was a big fan of the communal living. I loved my housemates, and eating dinner with them every night.

* Food:

We had a cooking rotation, it worked very well. The food budget was plenty.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

In New Zealand, the port stops were very educational, and offered a great opportunity to explore the country. However, by nature of the program, we didn’t spend much time on land.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I felt very taken care of with any medical issues that arose. Received necessary transport to emergency care upon medical complications.

* Safety:

They made us feel safe and prepared even in the potentially hazardous environment of a moving vessel on the open ocean.

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

Yes, it was horribly difficult, and there were times, particularly during the 2 week open sea portion, that I was prepared to hijack the life boat and motor to shore, but I made some life long friends, and did some really amazing things I will always remembers. Climbing to the top of the mast, scrubbing mats listening to a fiddle, surfing on galley mats trying to help with breakfast, riding the swells on lookout, getting seasick every time I looked under a microscope, oh my goodness I would do it all again and twice over.

Finances

* 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)

Food budge was provided for us. Tuition upfront was very expensive.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? New Zealand port stops will eat your money, but don’t be afraid to splurge. Worth the experiences.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people
  • The sailing (sail handling, lookout, etc.)
  • The sunsets at sea
* What could be improved?
  • Practicing phytoplankton identification before boarding the boat for a phytoplankton research project
  • Pin rail diagrams from the first week
  • Midnight snacks for people on dawn watch that have more substenance and will prevent hangry drowsiness
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It is just as hard as they tell you it will be and then some. Reflect on your coping mechanisms and whether you will have access to them on a tall ship. For example, I cope with stress, frustration, and anger (particularly when it’s towards other people) by taking a walk and having time alone. That broke down on the ship.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Directed Oceanographic Research

Course Department:
Instructor: Kerry Whittaker
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very challenging, though educational course. It definitely made use of the locations, as our research was conducted in the field as we were sailing. The teacher was knowledgeable, and helped us in the formation of our project. I tried to participate more than I would have at my home institution, due to the rigor of the class. Our final manuscript was rocky due to short timelines and limited data, but we worked extremely hard on it. I was definitely proud of the work I put in.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Sense of Place

Course Department:
Instructor: Rich King
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I absolutely loved this class. It was an open discussion about the literature we were reading. Rich did a great job steering the discussion back to the focus of the content. Great facilitator. The essays we wrote for this class helped to open my eyes to the meaning and messages of the literature. 10/10.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Maritime History and Culture

Course Department:
Instructor: Rich King
Instruction Language:
Comments: Again, loved this class. Pulled from many different literature bases to try and grasp a sense of the history and culture we would be sailing into. Lots of great field trips during port stops in country, as well. Really focused on primary literature, and included many different voices.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Leadership in a Dynamic Environment

Course Department:
Instructor: Elliot Rappaport
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Good class that helped me to discover my leadership style. Not particularly challenging. There was a mixup in the grading of my final case study that made me feel under appreciated and unrecognized for the amount of work I put into the class.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Oceans and Global Change

Course Department:
Instructor: Kerry Whittaker
Instruction Language:
Comments: This was one of the more challenging courses. Went very quickly, as was the nature of the program. However, I did learn a LOT in a condensed period of time, and was more confident in my grasp of oceanography by the end of the course. Made great use of raw data collection on the ship.
Credit Transfer Issues: