The best thing Middlebury ever did for me was to send me to sea. July 29, 2019

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/20/2019 to 05/17/2019 with

Williams College: Mystic - Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a ton about my own discipline—ships and sailing, maritime technology, museum studies, etc.—and about myself—how I present myself, how I work most efficiently, how I should organize my thoughts on paper and in person, how I rest and recreate, what I like in friends, how I like to be challenged and questioned, etc, etc. I loved W-M and would most certainly do it all over again.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The courses were far from demanding, but the reading lists were sound, and it was possible to make work for oneself in and out of the classroom. Archives and exhibit spaces at Mystic Seaport were very well utilized.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They took frightfully good care of us—immaculate housing and LOTS of food.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

Be prepared to make it yourself! But the facilities are excellent, and a generous stipend is provided weekly.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Not much opportunity for integration: you’re living in an outdoor museum during winter months.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

Academically not very challenging. But intellectually, W-M never ceased to challenge me, and it forced me to seriously reconsider my priorities, my demeanor, and my way of living. Apocalyptic and transformative in all the best possible ways.


* 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? $30
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Very easy to live on a Williams College budget.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Offshore sailing as a mandatory component of the curriculum
  • 19th century Maritime Skills as a course for credit.
  • Communal lives ng
* What could be improved?
  • Rigour of the classes, particularly the history.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It is NOT all about the academics! Nor is it specifically a STEM or a humanities program. It’s a little of everything and there’s so much more to it than coursework.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Literature of the Sea

Course Department: English
Instructor: Mary K Bercaw-Edwards
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The reason I enrolled in the program to begin with: studying Melville for a semester with the foremost Melville scholar in the world. The class was a little straightforward, the writing prompts unprovocative, but MKB was very willing to accept whatever I wanted to write about. Commentary on my writing was not overly insightful or critical, but classroom discussion was first-rate.
Credit Transfer Issues: None foreseen—possibly difficult to secure credit towards my major (history), despite the fact that one of the four courses offered was an intensive survey of US Maritime History with an enormous written component.