Program Overview - Semester at Sea


Semester at Sea Study Abroad


There is no other

academic experience

like Semester at Sea.


to all




Fall & Spring





Since 1963, Semester at Sea

has brought college students,

world-class faculty, and international

experts together to travel, learn, and

grow onboard a campus unlike any

other. On the MV World Odyssey,

the shipboard community shares

their expertise and experience with

one another to create an immersive,

inclusive, and boundary-crossing

learning environment.


The World is Your Classroom, and Its People Your Teachers

Learn. Compare. Reflect.

Semester at Sea is a global program focused on the comparative

study of societies and their environmental systems. In their

coursework, students draw comparisons between the multiple

countries on the itinerary and their cultures through experiential,

in-country learning opportunities that spark creative approaches

to global challenges. Courses on Semester at Sea are led by an

innovative and diverse group of faculty hired specifically for their

expertise and experience in the countries on each voyage itinerary.



On my final day in Vietnam, my professor Dr. Pete Seel (who

served in the 600th Photo Squadron during the Vietnam

War) took my Advanced Documentary Photography class to the

Cu Chi Tunnels, a Viet Cong cemetery, the home of famous war

photographer Hoang Van Cuong, and finally to the Requiem exhibit

at the War Remnants Museum. I realized how little I actually

knew about the Vietnam War, and how much less I knew about the

Vietnamese perspective of the war. It was a powerful and humbling

experience to be able to see the war from their side.

The highlight of this day for me had to be at the Cu Chi Tunnels.

Huyen Van Chaia, a veteran of the Viet Cong, came to speak to us

about what life was like living in the Cu Chi Tunnels. Chaia, who

lost his right arm during the war, lived inside the tunnels for 12

years, starting when he was only 17 years old. Thinking about what

he and Dr. Seel must have seen and went through during those

years is unfathomable to me. It has been a few years since I was

on Semester at Sea and I still think of this day often. On that day

I witnessed a moment of humanity that I don't think I could have

experienced without being a student on Semester at Sea.

-Sarah (left)

Semester at Sea Academic Snapshot

Q: What does a global comparative education look like? companion in-country field class.

• Global Studies: our core course for the entire shipboard community that draws comparisons

between cultures, countries, and the environment.

• Courses: 75 upper and lower division courses across a wide range of disciplines, each with a

• Field classes: in-country, faculty-led programs for each course in which students are enrolled.

Included in tuition, these learning opportunities bring the textbook to life.

• Colorado State University (CSU): Our academic partner, a Research 1, highly regarded state university

located in Fort Collins, CO, U.S.A. All Semester at Sea courses are CSU accredited courses and students

receive a CSU transcript upon completion of the voyage.

• Credit Hours: Global Studies Course + 3-4 three-credit courses = 12-15 total credit hours per semester.

Q: do you ever have class on deck?

A: A:

MV World Odyssey

welcome aboard your floating university

Semester at Sea’s globe-exploring university is a

retrofitted cruise ship; a living-learning community

that provides a platform for discussion, coursework,

and deep connections all while traveling to new

locations. Our shipboard campus includes many of the

amenities you would find on a land-based campus.

Program fee includes: tuition, housing, all meals

on-ship, field classes, and medical insurance.

• Additional amenities include: laundry, internet access,

spa and salon, sports equipment, and board games.


The ship offers four dining

areas for voyagers to

choose from, including an

outdoor option for dining

with an ocean view.


Nine classrooms throughout

the ship support our worldclass

academics. Each

includes audiovisual and

education technologies to

support engaged learning.


The fitness spaces include

an indoor and outdoor gym

with free weights, weight

machines, and cardiovascular

equipment. The spacious

sun deck is perfect for

group fitness activities.


Our version of a dorm room includes

a private bathroom, television,

refrigerator, and ample storage

space. Exterior (window) and interior

(no window) cabins available in

double and triple occupancy.


Available to students as a staffed

Academic Success Center, our

floating library is home to a collection

of itinerary-specific academic and

travel resources. Computer and print

workstations are available.


A popular study location, the openair

pool serves as a recreation and

lounge area on Deck 9.

Grill & Cafes

Two cafes (one in the

library; one at the pool) and

an outdoor grill offer snacks

and drinks for purchase

throughout the day.

Health & Wellness

The onboard medical clinic is

among the most advanced medical

facilities on ocean-going vessels

today. The clinic is staffed by U.S.-

licensed health professionals.

Campus Store

The campus store sells a

variety of Semester at Sea

merchandise, academic

supplies, textbooks,

toiletries, and more.

Student Union

A large and beautifully adorned

union with upper and lower level

seating that accommodates all

students, faculty, staff, and Lifelong

Learners for community programming.

In-Country Exploration

Semester at Sea creates over 200 in-country experiences (field programs) every voyage. Each field program prioritizes health

and safety, responsible and sustainable travel, and deep, meaningful interaction with local communities. Time in-country

comprises approximately 40% of the voyage and plays an important role in your hands-on and experiential academic curriculum.

Q: What is a typical day like


A: There is no such thing

as a typical day in-country

with Semester at Sea.

One day might be spent exploring the townships

of Cape Town while your professor explains the

history of apartheid. Another, you might stop by

a local university on your way to the Taj Mahal

to discuss what it is like being a college student

in India. Or you could spend the day on the

beach with an NGO in Takoradi, Ghana, helping

with an ocean clean-up and learning about

sustainability and environmentalism.

Hands-On Experiential Learning

The Semester at Sea in-country experience

gives students an understanding of varying

cultures and world issues through first-hand

observation. The wide variety of opportunities

for experiential learning in port include:

• Homestays (overnight stays with locals).

• Local community engagement.

• Service projects with environmental non-profits,

schools, human rights organizations, and more.

• Historical, cultural, and political site visits.

• Exchanges with students at international universities.

• Interaction with local business owners.

• Exploration of natural and manmade wonders.




Stepping off the ship in

Morocco, I really had

no expectation of what

my experience would

be like. We stuffed

our backpacks to the

brim, mounted our own

camels, and set off to

trek to a nomad camp

across the Sahara.

Arriving far past sunset,

we stood at the top

of the immense sand

dunes looking down

at our desert camp.

We had the privilege

of eating the most

delicious Moroccan

food and celebrating

the experience with

traditional musicians all

night long. It was one

of those “how crazy

is my life” moments.

Unbothered by the

absence of cell service,

my heart has never

been so full as when

I was dancing away

under the full moon in

the middle of the desert

with the best of friends.


Q: do you ever get off the ship?

A: A:



Q: What is Ubuntu?

A: Ubuntu is a Southern African term meaning

‘humanity,’ but often translated to “I am because we are”

and reinforced philosophically to describe the belief in

the interconnectedness of all humanity.

Desmond Tutu, 1984 Noble Peace Prize winner, Semester at

Sea Board of Trustees member, and four-time voyager explained

this concept of humanity and interconnectedness to voyagers

during his first passage in 1984 and it has since become an

essential philosophy of all Semester at Sea voyages. By bringing

together an eclectic and diverse group of students, faculty, staff,

family members, Lifelong Learners, and crew from around the

world, the bonds and sense of closeness that form on board the

ship has become the most surprising and cherished aspect of a

voyage. Because of the life-changing and intense experiences

Semester at Sea voyagers encounter on this journey, the

friendships participants form are powerful, long-lasting, and

full of mutual respect and understanding—the spirit of Ubuntu.

Q: How does the shipboard community come together?


A Lifetime of Alumni Benefits


With a history spanning more than 50 years, Semester at

Sea is a unique and valuable educational experience that

results in tangible personal and professional benefits.

The lifelong benefits of being a Semester at Sea alum

translate into all aspects of life.

Circumnavigating the globe seemed like an impossible

feat at the age of 21, but what was even more daunting

was the fact that I knew no one on board going into the

semester. To be honest, I was terrified in the beginning.

After making it through the first few days on board, I

learned that the next time I ever feel uneasy, I just have to

stick it through and wonderful things will come. It’s really

amazing how quickly and intensly friendships are formed

when you’re thousands of miles from land.

It really clicked for me during our sail from San Diego to

Hawaii, right at the start of the voyage. It felt like the entire

ship was out on deck watching the sunset, and everyone

was experiencing the same feeling of awe and wonder

together. I felt connected to everyone on the ship through

this shared experience that only our voyage could relate to.

I don’t know anywhere else in the world where I could have

shared that moment except the MV World Odyssey.

“Because of Semester at Sea I have

learned to believe in myself regardless of

the challenges, and I now fully embrace

differences and view them in a positive way.

SAS was just the beginning of the voyage of

a lifetime for me and how I will impact this world.”


-Andrew (right)

• Global network of more than 60,000 alumni.

• Lifelong friendships with shipmates.

• Opportunities to volunteer at events on the ship

and home institutions.

• Regional alumni events and reunions.

• Experience for your resume.

• The ability to make an impact around the world

through non-profit and service work.

sea you



Next steps:

1. Inquire: Visit to fill

out a form so we can send you more information

2. Visit your study abroad advisor: find out if there is a separate

process for studying abroad unique to your home institution

3. Submit your application:

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