Toreros Sail Through a Semester at Sea

Inside USD -- Every semester the University of San Diego sends scores of students around the globe to study abroad. With the chance to study in over 30 different countries, students have a multitude of study abroad programs to choose from, but for the past 50 years there seems to be a consistent favorite: Semester at Sea (SAS).SAS takes the study abroad mentality to a whole different level. According to the program, seeing as much of the world as possible is what truly leads to global understanding. Every fall, spring, and summer, voyages set sail from varying global ports on a mission to promote both global education and citizenship. The program aims to have their students “see more, do more, and experience more.”

The semester-long voyages tend to last 100-110 days with at least 12 international destinations. The summer voyages last around 65-70 days and have at least 8 international destinations. Both semester and summer voyages offer approximately 60-80 different courses, allowing students of varying majors to fill requirements.

With students and faculty hailing from over 1,700 colleges and universities across the world, the floating campus is a small global community.

“The ship life experience is one of many different cultures in itself,” said Jimmy Trumbull, a current USD senior and Semester at Sea alumnus. “One of my professors was from Nova Scotia and this gave me an entirely new prospective on something that I had previously learned in the U.S. The Semester at Sea program allows you to learn about the perspectives of many alongside students whom you wouldn’t find yourself typically taking a class with. It’s not just the places you go, you’re immersed in cultural diversity within the ship community and that’s what makes Semester at Sea so engaging.”

Semester at Sea is a chance for students to leave their comfort zone and to start thinking on a global level. Courses on the ship tend to focus on the particular geographic area of travel. This allows students the ability to take what they have learned from their professors and textbooks and immediately apply it to the real world. Students are afforded the opportunity to learn first-hand through their travels.

According to Jenny Miles, one of the international studies abroad advisors at USD, “Semester at Sea is consistently one of the top five study abroad programs.” And when asked why this was the case, she replied, “The program sells itself; we really don’t have to do any marketing for the program. Instead of staying in only one country while studying abroad, Semester at Sea students get to travel to numerous different locations.”

USD alumni of the SAS program can’t stop talking about their incredible journey. In most USD classrooms, you’ll be able to find at least one student who will be more than happy to relive their experience. USD’s affiliation with Semester at Sea has allowed students to embark on the journey of a lifetime and this program continues to become more and more popular within the USD community.

Currently, there are 60 USD students travelling the globe on SAS and 18 more registered to do the same this Spring. If interested in studying abroad on Semester at Sea, visit the International Center and or one of the international studies abroad advisors in Serra Hall, Room 315. The application deadline for the Fall 2013 voyage is March 30, 2013.

– Ryan Garney ‘13

Photos by Robert Breedlove

More information on Semester at Sea can also be found at the official Semester at Sea site at USD is ranked No. 1 among national institutions for undergraduate participation in study abroad programs, according to the Institute of International Education’s 2012 Open Doors report.