Semester at Sea: How to See 15 Countries in 108 Days
So to start this off, I guess I should give you a brief rundown of how I’m managing to visit fifteen countries in 108 days. I’m sure many of you have heard of a little program called Semester at Sea. For those who haven’t, essentially seven hundred college students board a ship on which they take classes while traveling the world. The specific “voyage” I chose is Atlantic Exploration. Within 108 days, we will visit England, Russia, Poland, Germany, Belgium, France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Italy, Brazil, Barbados, Cuba, and the United States. Now that you’ve had a basic rundown of how I’m doing this and where I’m going, we can get started.
My name is Melissa, but I go by Lis (part of the identity change I went through upon joining Semester at Sea). I’m a senior at Long Island University, Global College. For my senior independent study, I decided to study poverty in previously colonized nations, and how tourism and imperialism contributes to poverty levels in those nations. I happened across the Semester at Sea program during my freshman year of college, in my current college’s school newspaper. A fellow student had done the program and was raving about how fantastic it was and how it had changed her life So I looked it up. I was hooked. Traveling the world and getting legitimate college credits while doing it? It was definitely way too good to be true.
Traveling the world and getting legitimate college credits while doing it? It was definitely way too good to be true.
I transferred a few times during college for a number of reasons I won’t get into right now. Needless to say, I played the credit catch up game a lot. My dreams of traveling the world by ship were dashed. Then my school was pressuring me to pick a subject for my senior independent study and I chose Imperialism, because it was one of the few things I had studied in college that truly interested me. However, I still didn’t know where I wanted to go to conduct this research. While I had studied abroad before, I had never been truly alone in a foreign country, let alone for three months.
Even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to do Semester at Sea and graduate on time, didn’t mean I couldn’t stalk their website, right? One day I was sifting through the voyage section and just happened to click on the Fall 2014 link. As I was scrolling through the courses list, I came across a Colonialism and Post-Colonialism class. In the description it went on about how almost every country we were going to visit had either been a colonizing nation or had been colonized.
Why hadn’t I thought of it before? I could do Semester at Sea for my senior independent study. I could take classes on the ship in addition to doing my research, and thus my credits would be caught up, and miraculously, I would graduate on time.
It took some time to convince my school that the program was doable by their standards, but once I did, I began the tedious process of enrollment. A few weeks later I registered for the Fall 2014 voyage and a few months after that, I boarded the ship in Southampton, England.