I recently learned about Semester At Sea from my dear friend and mentor Madame Angela Shaw of France. She reported about an SAS presentation in Hungary. I became an informationbroker for a reason. If we don’t know about the opportunities available out there, then we lose out on possible life changing experiences. This information is for everyone, but minorities in particular need to be encouraged to participate in international programs that add to life experience and possibly make them more competitive in the various global arenas. I am so pleased we have more exposure to information just at our fingertips, but somehow that is still not enough.
Had I known about this program, Semester At Sea when I was in college, nothing (including sea sickness) would have kept me from circumnavigating the world with this program. Think about the languages, the cultures, the experience! I know now, which is why I am passing information about this wonderful program along. This year “Engineering” is the focus and I have a friend getting a Master of Engineering degree who should be on the next voyage. Of course you don’t have to be an engineering student to go, but engineering students may have a special interest.
The program is not free, but with financial aid, scholarships and creative letter writing to a myriad of possible benefactors, travel on these voyages is possible for those who really want to go.
Below is the Wikipedia entry, but the Official SAS website is here: http://www.semesteratsea.org/ I would love to know if anyone goes on a voyage. Good luck to anyone who signs up.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Semester at Sea (SAS) is a study abroad program founded in 1963, now managed by the Institute for Shipboard Education in Charlottesville, Virginia. The University of Virginia is the current academic sponsor for the program while the program, itself, is run on a cruise ship called the MV Explorer. Throughout the history of the program, nearly 50,000 undergraduate students from more than one thousand colleges and universities have participated in Semester at Sea.
During the spring and fall semesters, the approximately 100-day program circumnavigates the globe, traveling from North America heading either east across the Atlantic or west across the Pacific, visiting from 8 to 11 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and South America, before ending the voyage in another North American port. The program previously had voyages that would sail through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal, but due to piracy concerns in the Gulf of Aden, all the future voyages travel around Africa. During the summer months, ISE hosts a shorter 65-day Semester at Sea program that concentrates on one general region of the world. Frequently, summer semester programs visit various ports in East Asia or Europe. Additionally, a two-week “Seminar at Sea” program is held for continuing education participants during December and January that visits Central America and transits the Panama Canal.
4.1 Neptune Day Celebration
4.2 Sea Olympics
6 External links
Students attend classes while the ship is at sea in a variety of subjects and disciplines. These classes are typically humanities classes which connect with one or more of the countries on the itinerary. All students are required to take Global Studies, an interdisciplinary core course; purchasing the textbook may not be strictly necessary for each student, as many others will have it. When the ship is in a port, no classes are held. Students are then able to travel on Semester at Sea sponsored trips or independently within the country. However, travel outside the country of port is usually strictly prohibited, resulting in dismissal from the program.
Although the University of Virginia is the academic sponsor for the program, Semester at Sea is open to students from any university. Faculty members are drawn from colleges and universities throughout the United States, including the University of Pennsylvania, Bucknell University, Emerson College, Bentley University, Pennsylvania State University, Duke University, Cornell University, Jacksonville University and the University of Arizona.
Prior to arriving at a port, students receive a pre-port briefing on the country they are visiting regarding the culture and societal rules of the country they are visiting. Upon arriving at the port of call, special guest speakers, ranging from community leaders from the country to American ambassadors, give lectures to the students and faculty. The pre-port briefing as well as the guest lecture prepare students for what to expect while visiting the country.
The S.S. Universe Explorer docked in Vancouver, British Columbia, shortly before embarking on the Fall 1997 Semester at Sea voyage.The vessel that is currently used by ISE is the MV Explorer, a 24,300-ton former cruise ship with a length of 590 feet. Constructed in 2002 by Blohm & Voss shipbuilders in Germany, the ship had been operated by Royal Olympia Cruises until ISE acquired the vessel in summer 2004.
Semester at Sea has used a number of ships as its floating campus, including the MS Seven Seas (formerly the USS Long Island), the SS Ryndham, the S.S. Universe and the S.S. Universe Explorer. One ship SAS intended to use, the S.S. Seawise University (formerly the RMS Queen Elizabeth), burned and sank in Hong Kong Harbour during its conversion into a floating campus in 1972, and consequently was never used for students.. The Universe Explorer, retired in 2005, had a structure of four main decks with a small swimming pool in the stern of the ship. The Seawise University, Universe, and Universe Explorer were supplied and managed by Tung Chao Yung’s Seawise Foundation. Concerns about the split between the Institute for Shipboard Education and the Seawise Foundation as well as the safety of the MV Explorer contributed to the University of Pittsburgh severing ties with the program 
As required by SOLAS, the entire shipboard community is randomly alerted to report to their assigned decks for safety drills. They are required to wear their life jackets, a hat, closed-toed shoes, long sleeved shirt, and also to know which lifeboat to report to in the event of an onboard emergency.
Semester at Sea was originally named University of the Seven Seas and later World Campus Afloat before gaining its present name in 1977. In December 2005, it was announced that the University of Virginia would begin academic sponsorship of the program in Summer 2006. Previous sponsors include the University of Pittsburgh (1981–2006), the University of Colorado (1977–1980), and Chapman College (1965–1975). World figures such as Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu, and Fidel Castro have all met with the program’s participants at various times during its history. In 1999, the program’s fame was boosted greatly when it was featured on a season of MTV’s reality television show Road Rules.
The Fall 1997 voyage was re-routed due to terrorism concerns. On November 12, 1997, Ramzi Yousef was convicted of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Consequently, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for Americans in the Middle East. On November 17, 1997, while the ship was docked in Port Said, Egypt, and the students were in country, the Luxor massacre occurred. Although no students were involved, fears of further terrorism resulted in the next two ports, Israel and Turkey, being skipped and the ship re-routed to Cyprus and Spain.
On the Fall 2001 semester following the events of September 11, the S.S. Universe Explorer was redirected after its stop in Kobe, Japan. The planned route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia into the Indian Ocean then up through the Suez Canal to ports including Egypt and Croatia was changed by the State Department of the United States. The ship’s route for the semester was then pushed south to include Singapore, Seychelles and Cape Town, South Africa. The ship’s communication with other vessels in the Indian Ocean was limited due to the amount of American citizens on board and their security around the Indian Ocean area close to the Middle Eastern part of the globe.
On January 26, 2005, the MV Explorer weathered a storm in the north Pacific in which a large wave smashed the windows of the bridge, breaking one of them, and briefly affecting the navigation systems. While the vessel underwent repairs in Honolulu, Hawaii, Semester at Sea students flew to Hong Kong to continue their courses. The MV Explorer rejoined the students in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and continued on to circumnavigate the globe and complete the semester without further incident. The ordeal is documented in an episode of the Weather Channel television series Full Force Nature, complete with home video taken by the students during the storm.
Furthermore, during the Fall 2006 voyage, after going to Japan, the MV Explorer was diverted to Hong Kong, instead of Qingdao, China because of typhoon Shanshan.
The ship docked in Denmark during summer 2008, in Namibia during fall 2008, and Ghana during Fall 2009, the first times in the history of the program that Semester at Sea had visited these countries.
For the Spring and Fall 2009 voyages, the itinerary had to be changed in order to avoid the Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.
Neptune Day Celebration
When the ship passes the equator for the first time on the Fall and Spring semester voyages, the students, faculty and crew of the vessel celebrate Neptune Day a line-crossing ceremony. Students are transformed from “polywags” to “shellbacks” in an initiation ceremony, involving slime, fish kissing, and (optional) headshaving. Neptune Day is one of several holidays celebrated during the voyage.
Voyagers are awakened at 5am to celebrate this day.
Passenger decks are divided into “seas” (Adriatic, Aegean, Arabian, Baltic, Bering, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Red, Yellow, and a combination of the children and adults on board). The seas then compete in an all-day Olympic challenge. Opening ceremonies are held the night before, and no classes are held during the Olympics. Events range from synchronized swimming, “Nail the Sailor” (dodgeball), “The Gun Show” (pull-ups), trivia, lip-sync routine and a ship-wide relay. The winning sea gets bragging rights for the rest of the semester and a grand prize, which is usually being the first to disembark from the ship when it returns to North America.