Q&A with Annette Taylor, PhD, about her Semester at Sea

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Where did you travel?
The faculty boarded the ship in Ft Lauderdale, Florida, USA. We sailed to Nassau, Bahamas, where the students boarded.
First long haul at sea to Manaus, Brazil, two days up the Amazon, deep in the rain forest.

Second long haul across the Atlantic to Accra in Ghana. Then down to Capetown, South Africa. The over to Port Louis, Mauritius where we had our worst seas--threaded our way between two typhoons.

Next was Cochin, India. Then on to Singapore, Singapore. Wonderful city to visit!

Next was Sai Gon, Vietnam. China was next. We docked in Hong Kong where I got off and went over land to Guilin and Yanshou and then re-boarded in Shanghai. In Japan we docked in both Kobe (near Kyoto) and Yokohama (near Tokyo--but my highlight was visiting the "cup noodle museum" where I made my own custom cup of noodles and it only cost me $6! Then back to the USA--Honolulu, where we could NOT disembark; just bunkered (took on fuel); and then on to Hilo.

The semester voyage ended in San Diego. I stayed on for 2 more weeks and went to Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Guatemala
Nicaragua, Panama City, Costa Rica, and I took a personal side trip to Isla de la Plata (the poor man's Galapagos) in Ecuador. 

What classes did you teach?

I taught cognitive psychology, social psychology and a developmental special topics class called culture in personality development.

Did you have any daily routines on the ship?
Every day at sea was a school day, although we did not always have classes on every single day; but even if there were other events, everyone had assignments and studying and preparing classes to do on ship days. There were A and B days that alternated, so it was sort of like having MWF classes on one day and TTh classes on the other, but just alternative. All students attended global studies, but the largest classroom on ship cannot contain the entire student body so half had A day and half had B day global studies.

What was your most memorable experience?

I guess that was also the most heart-breaking one. The trip to the Children's Refuge in Ghana. What wonderful, sweet children! Their reality makes them so happy and made me so sad. The children who live at the center, about 15, were all negotiated out of slavery. Yes, children are sold by mothers who have too many children to care for. Most go to work on fishing boats. The school's mission is to break that cycle. Their classrooms are open-air and "almost" finished. They have no electricity but have running, local water.

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