I wrote this post before I left for Semester At Sea but didn’t publish because of updating my site. I am getting ready to write and post blogs about my time on Semester At Sea so I wanted this to get out to you!
On January 3rd I board a plane in Myrtle Beach for a trip around the world. After spending two nights in San Diego I will get on a shuttle to Ensenada, Mexico to board the MV World Odyssey for 106 Days, 11 Countries, 15 Cities, 4 Continents.
If you have any reccomendations for Japan, China, Viet Nam, Myanmar, India, South Africa, Ghana, Morroco or Amsterdam let me know!! I’m also going to Hawaii (Honolulu) and Mauritius (Port Louis) but I’ll only be there for a day and have to been in a tour to be allowed off the ship.
I will be taking some general ed college class, Intro to Media in Society, Global Climate Change, Social Problems, and Global Studies. Everyone on the ship takes it, because the class goes over where we’re going, the ocean, and I imagine some housekeeping items. Whenever we’re in port we do not have our normal classes so unless we have a study day or other special day, the classes rotate A day, B day even on the weekends. Each class though has a field program where for one day in port we basically go on a field trip, for example, my climate change class will be going to the Hong Kong Observatory on Chinese New Year.
Aside from our field classes, we are free to do independent travel. Semester At Sea offers field programs for us to sign up for an additional cost. I’ve signed up for ones that just seem too stressful to arrange on my own time when I don’t need to. I was also aware that since I do not have my friend group yet I’d probably want to change my plans if I made too many.
Now, the ship, it’s not operating like a cruise ship (entertainment, etc.) during Semester At Sea voyages. We do have non-students on board, crew, faculty, a couple of admin people, lifelong learners, also families of the people I just mentioned. Any college student regardless of year or major is welcome on Semester At Sea!
Part of the reason why I chose Semester At Sea to do the last semester of my gap year is that it goes around the whole world instead of assigning me to a specific country (although I do love immersive experiences!!). I also thought it would be a good way to transition to college because of the mixture of structure and freedom. I’ll be explaining more of the why as I go.
Eh, well financially, it costs about a whole year of college or less going off the average cost of college. And yes, it is one semester but it’s an experience unlike any other! Scholarships are available though. I committed right after scholarships applications closed, but there were two smaller ones left (merit & need based) that I did get. My grandparents paid for some, and my parents paid for the rest. (Thank you!)
You are required to get one vaccine: Yellow Fever, which is required for Ghana and India. I had to go to Charleston for it because the U.S. has sent most of its supply of the yellow fever vaccine to South America. Passport Health was amazing though! And respectful of me opting out of the other recommended vaccines. I did decide to get a typhoid one because of cost/benefit analysis. It’s a pill you have to take every day, for seven days, and it’s refrigerated. I haven’t taken it yet but I will in another week or two. I am trying to give my body as much time as possible to process the Yellow Fever vaccine.
I also had to renew my passport, because it would have expired within 6 months of return (and I didn’t have enough blank pages?!). I have been approved for my Ghana visa, and am in the process of applying for my China and India visa. These are the only visas you cannot get in route to your destination.
I have ordered somethings off of Amazon and I’ll post a bit of a packing list at some point!
Any questions? Drop them in the comments!
I am so excited!