Semester at Sea: Opening Your Eyes to the People of the World Past Review

By (Sociology., Ithaca College) for

Semester at Sea Study Abroad: Make the World Your Campus

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes. It was hands-down (not to be cliche,) the best experience of my life. It really helped me to shape my career path in that after seeing so much of the world and how much need is out there, I have decided that, at this point in my life, I would like to go into the field of non-profits to dedicate my life to helping others and creating community through the connections we build with one another.

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.

The integration of both book knowledge with experiential learning on Semester at Sea is what truly made it the experience of a lifetime. There are so many things that one can not learn by just reading a textbook, or being taught by a professor in class. While this method often made some of the courses more challenging, it really connected what we learned in class to real world applications that are useful in truly doing something with a college degree.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There were not many weaknesses of the program in general. One of the biggest things, however, was probably being able to contact anyone, as internet was severely limited, as well as phone use while traveling abroad. Also, some of the trips were not as useful as I would have hoped and were more touristy than useful to learning about a country's culture.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living in a cabin on our ship was an experience in and of itself due to the close quarters we were continually subject to. It took a while to adjust to it, but after a while, I got used to it.

* Food:

Food in port countries was absolutely incredible. I got the chance to try types of food I have never seen before in my life. But food on the ship was only okay... It was mostly reliant on food that did not spoil easily (and so a LOT of grains... but even often grains that did not have a lot of fiber), and so getting fresh food was often difficult. Choices were also limited for a person like myself, who is a vegetarian, but I feel that Semester at Sea did try its best to be accommodating.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

AWESOME! BEST EXPERIENCES OF MY LIFE! Homestays and cultural immersions were probably my favorite types of trips, as well as service projects. Also, bu 4-day trip to the Great Wall of China was probably one of the best trips I have ever been on.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Most cities were relatively safe. But is is important to listen to the pre-port lectures about safety and going out in different countries as they are all different. On-ship healthcare was also quite good, although it would have been nice if there were a little bit larger medical staff that could be more available to people at all times of the day. In terms of vaccines/preventative measures for pathogens in specific countries, we needed to take malaria medication in Ghana and Vietnam, and we had to get a Yellow Fever vaccination to get into Ghana.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Um... this really depended on whether or not we were in a port city, and how long we were there. Overall, I probably spent somewhere around 4,000 dollars on trips, meals, and souvenirs within the semester I was abroad.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make sure to save money for trips! The more, the better!


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Research, research, research. Make sure that you research all the countries and get into contact with others who have done the program. Other people are very useful and willing to help you out. Anyone would benefit form this program, but, particularly, anyone who is interested in international relations, getting a truly global education, or learning about people and experience what the world has to offer, in general.