Add Your SAS Story
50 Years of Semester at Sea

Explore 50 years of shipboard education and add your Semester at Sea stories

The 50 Years of Semester at Sea Showcase presents the stories, videos, and photos of our accomplished Semester at Sea alumni. If Semester at Sea (or its predecessor programs University of the Seven Seas or World Campus Afloat) changed the way you see the world, we want to hear from you. Please share your memories, photos, and videos about how SAS changed your life, career, or global perspective. Click the Share Your Story icon to get started and use the scroll tool at the bottom to see the impact of SAS through the decades.


University of the Seven Seas

October 22, 1963: First voyage of the University of the Seven Seas sets sail from New York with 275 students aboard the MS Seven Seas.  The voyage visits 22 ports in 16 countries over 5 months.

University of the Seven Seas, Fall 1963

Most people didn’t travel to the places we went in 1963 and it was a deep and painful cultural shock to come home and not be able to share what we had seen: the poverty of orphaned children on the streets of Bombay, or living forever in boats in the Hong Kong Harbor.

I was hopeless till I found a way to help some of these children. Many years and countries, later I have been able to bring education, hope, and joy to Tibetan and Palestinian refugees, village people in China, Nepal, and Thailand, and some of the children suffering from modern materialistic culture in Russia, Peru, Japan, Albania, and the USA.

Some of this work can be seen on my website and I hope it inspires others to find a way to help others, for active compassion brings much more meaning and happiness to us than any other goals.

Susan Mayclin Stephenson, Fall 1963

How I remember that October afternoon, leaving New York City harbor, gliding under the last bridge and out into the Atlantic Ocean… the band began to play and we felt the swells of the ocean…back and forth, 1963…we did not know what an adventure faced us… this was the very first University of the Seven Seas semester… it still remains the highlight of my life, both personally and professionally… Now, as I turn age 70, I fell grateful and privileged for the experience… Thanks U7S, Fall ‘63!

Richard Henry Smith, Fall 1963

Susan Frances Huntington

University of the Seven Seas Farewell Convocation

Susan Frances Huntington, Fall 1963

Colene Lum

The trip around the world with the University of 7 Seas was a wonderful adventure, and I was privileged to be a student on that first voyage in the Fall of 1963. I saw a girl being interviewed on the Art...

Colene Lum, Fall 1963

Colene Lum

The photo is of the MS Seven Seas as it pulled away from the New York Harbor.

Colene Lum, Fall 1963

Dane Hahn

50 years ago we left New York on the U7S maiden voyage. It was cold and windy in NYC as we boarded the old M.S. Seven Seas, and there were lots of homesick kids on that day—but we all grew up over...

Dane Hahn, Fall 1963

Scott Phillips

I wanted to share here that someone just asked me: ‘Why the strong feelings for something you did 40 years ago’? I could only answer with this: Not only did it open my eyes to the world by taking...

Scott Phillips, University of the Seven Seas 1964

I entered the University of the 7 Seas in the Fall of 1964.  I was 17 and had just graduated from Punahou School in Hawaii.  Another classmate from Punahou, Betty Ann Barnett, was also on that year’s voyage.  The trip across the Atlantic was rough.  There was a place called The Land of Oz.  It was located on the top deck where those of us who were sick could go to try to feel better.  It didn’t work for me.  I thought I had made a terrible mistake by signing up for this journey, but of course I was very wrong about that.  The three months aboard were amazing.  The experiences were more valuable than the scholastics.  Thank goodness I still have pictures—Rome, horseback near the Pyramids, waterfalls near Manila, Hong Kong, sleeping on the beach in Ceylon (yes, it was Ceylon then), the Taj Mahal. I see classmate Betty Ann frequently, and I have had the pleasure of seeing Jeff...

Ann Rinehart, Fall 1964

World Campus Afloat

Chapman College provides the program with academic credentials and administers the program until 1976. It also changes the name to World Campus Afloat.

World Campus Afloat, Milestone 1965

World Campus Afloat

Holland America Line (ship provider) exchanges the MS Seven Seas for the new SS Ryndam.

World Campus Afloat, Milestone 1966

Ralph Tribbey

Planned on taking the “express” train from Madras to Bangalore, but ended up on the local instead.  Best 24-hour train ride I ever took ... the ultimate Plan B.  Looking back, I would...

Ralph Tribbey, Spring 1966

Jill and Cliff Roberts

Fifty years ago, I was browsing through Seventeen Magazine when an article about “The University of the Seven Seas,” a brand new program, caught my eye. The article took up about 2 by 5 inches....

Jill and Cliff Roberts, Fall 1966

Susanna Money

Portable typewriter and no spell check. How many term papers? S S Ryandam Fall 1967

Susanna Money, Fall 1967

World Campus Afloat

1968 Neptune Day Certificate

World Campus Afloat, Milestone 1968

Patricia Thomas

From the Foreign Aft of that semester: Joy of living in six by six; that stranger in the top bunk, all at your fingertips with or without invitation. First-class dining on many poor, dead oxen, sumptuous...

Patricia Thomas, Spring 1968

Karen (Kelly) Wilkerson

My husband, Glenn, and I met on the S.S. Ryndam. We fell in love, married mid-semester in Freetown, Sierra Leone and honeymooned in the next port which was Rio de Janiero. It turned out to be quite a journey—producing...

Karen (Kelly) Wilkerson, Fall 1968

We went on the Spring semester, 1968.  This semester on what was then called the World Campus Afloat changed my life!  In addition to all the educational and cultural highlights, I MET MY WIFE ON THIS CRUISE.  We were both students…Betty Birdwell was from Texas and I was from the Chicago area.  We were thrown together on this Journey of “Man Discovering Man”.  I had seen Betty on the ship, and wanted to meet her, but she was part of that “Texas” bunch and they seemed a little different.  I never had the courage to talk to her until Athens, Greece about two months into the trip.  Both our respective classes were having a practicum involving a Sound and Light show at the Acropolis.  It was a cool evening, so I went up to her and offered her my sport coat.  We started talking, and we were together from then on…romantic Rome and Italy, and London and crossing back to the USA.  It...

Paul A Swasko, Spring 1968

In the late sixties, Dr. M.A. Griffiths, a professor of Middle Eastern history at Chapman, was named Dean and Academic Vice President, (later Vice President of International Studies) and headed up World Campus Afloat. In 1969, Dr. Griffiths sent his associate, Dr. Lloyd Lewan to travel as Dean on board the ship. This would be the first of many voyages for Dr. Lewan, who became Director of Operations and Associate Dean for the program.

World Campus Afloat, Milestone 1969

1969 was a good year, astronauts walked on the moon, I met my future husband, Lale, and I went on World Campus Afloat. I heard about the program in high school, when it was the University of Seven Seas, and immediately wanted to go. My parents were going to Europe, my senior year of high school, and gave me a choice, go with them now, or wait a few years, and go on the then WCA voyage. No contest, of course, going around the world is an opportunity of a life time. Experiencing different cultures, helping Japanese students practice English, working elephants in Ceylon, staying in a VERY basic hostel in India, animals in Kenya, apartheid in Cape Town, and a fishing village in Senegal. The senses reel trying to remember all the experiences.  Ship life was nothing like SAS.  On the Ryndam, we had bunk beds and a sink; gang toilets, tubs and showers; we hand wash clothes in the...

Janine Clark Kuhn, Spring 1969


World Campus Afloat

C.Y. Tung, a Hong Kong business magnate, imagines a floating United Nations University. “Ships could transport more than cargo, they could carry ideas.” Tung provides World Campus Afloat with a ship...

World Campus Afloat, Milestone 1970

Elaine Deutsch

Taken from the cab in Puna, India. I just LOVE the expression on the boys’ faces.

Elaine Deutsch, Fall 1971

World Campus Afloat

The first ship Mr. Tung provided was the Queen Elizabeth, sister ship to the Queen Mary, which he completely refurbished. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by a fire. But Mr. Tung kept his commitment, and...

World Campus Afloat, Milestone 1971

Martha Musial

October 13, 1972 World Campus Afloat An excerpt from the diary of student Martha Musial. Sun lifts heavily to the morning, through a thick mist of gray fog and humidity. Sailing vessels reach out for morning...

Martha Musial, World Campus Afloat 1972

James Dicken

I had expressed a desire as a Murray State University freshman to go on WCA to my advisor. His wife spotted a notice about a work study grant to do audio visual work on the ship. Since I was a communications...

James Dicken, Spring 1973

B Douglas Jensen

It’s the Fall ‘73 voyage and I caught this night shot of the Universe Campus from the bridge

B Douglas Jensen, Fall 1973

B Douglas Jensen

The Universe Campus at American Samoa

B Douglas Jensen, Fall 1973

Scott Phillips

I’ve been asked just how durable are the friendships we forge on the Ship? This photo was taken the day Tom Scroggin and I met, somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean between the US and Morocco. Did our...

Scott Phillips, Spring 1973

I was a history faculty member on three SAS voyages (‘74, ‘78. & ‘99) and did research while in ports in addition to conducting field trips with students. My book Peopling of the Americas, Currents, Canoes and DNA (Nova 2011) proved that the Native Americans had migrated across the Pacific from Asia and across the Atlantic to populate the New World. SAS allowed me to answer one of the most significance research questions of all time based on genetic information and cultural/anthropolgical studies. My SAS students and shipboard colleagues inspired me to find answers to important historical questions.

Dr. Barbara Bennett Peterson, SAS-'74, '78, '99 1974

Nancy Visenberg

SAS is a journey that never ends.  It opened my mind & heart to the world.  I feel the joy of this experience daily.

Nancy Visenberg, Fall 1974

I was one of the lucky ones who got to literally go around the world:  from LA to Miami.  The experience made me realize that it really is a “small world after all.”  When we returned, the sight of the US brought tears of gratitude to my eyes.  I felt like an immigrant entering the promised land.  But I not only became more grateful, I became more motivated to share with the rest of the world and to not waste our nation’s vast resources. 
Within two years of my return, I changed my career to nursing and later teaching. 

Next year will be the 40th anniversary of my trip.  All these years later, I think I am still more aware than most people of the imbalances between nations and yet the smallness of our planet that unites us.  And I think I am more appreciative of the world’s diverse people, cultures and perspectives than most of my peers, although at the same time, I am more...

Mary M. Keenan Richardson, Spring 1974

Thomas Casso

The Taj Mahal in the spring of 1974. We returned that evening to see the moon shine on the Taj Mahal which was burned into my memory for the rest of my life. It was spectacular.

Thomas Casso, Spring 1974

Suellen (Mejica) Sorenson

I met Jim Sorenson on the SS Universe and that changed my life!  Our story is depicted in the video.  World Campus Afloat also inspired me to think of myself as a Global Citizen.  Today,...

Suellen (Mejica) Sorenson, Spring 74 & 94 1974

Bob Padget

World Campus Afloat Spring 1975 volleyball team before a match in Keelung, Taiwan. Left to Right, bottom row; Ted Smith, Shawn kelter, Georgia Storm, Dave Engel, John Denevan. Top row; Gordon Henry, Rocky...

Bob Padget, Spring 1975

World Campus Afloat

By 1975, the program has taken more than 10,000 students around the world.

World Campus Afloat, Milestone 1975

Institute for Shipboard Education

In 1976, Chapman College underwent financial problems, compounded by the oil crisis, and had to abandon World Campus Afloat. With the full support of C.Y. Tung, Dr. Griffiths left his tenured position and...

Institute for Shipboard Education, Milestone 1976

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

The University of Colorado was named academic sponsor in 1977, enabling the program to sail again, after only a one semester hiatus. Around this time, Dr. Griffiths also brought Dr. Max Brandt into the...

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 1977

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

In 1977, ISE changes the program name to Semester at Sea and the first SAS voyage is launched aboard the SS Universe.

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 1977

William L Peters

Climbing the pyramids with shipmates was a peak experience in 1977, but the true lessons came from excellent faculty and staff who encouraged us to “Rethink” the world with new eyes and open...

William L Peters, Spring 1977

Semester at Sea remains one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I could not be happier that my daughter is now sailing on Fall 2013 and getting to build her own SAS memories!

Wendy Hicks, Spring 1977

Ann McDonald

Ready For a Voyage of a Lifetime!

Ann McDonald, Fall 1978

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

SAS takes 500 U.S. college students—largest in history—to mainland China.

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Fall 1979

Kate Mulligan

Here’s a picture from 1979 of my roommate, Charlene, in Kenya.  Mt. Kilamanjaro is in the background.  Almost eveywhere we went people wanted to touch her blonde, mop of hair.  By the...

Kate Mulligan, Fall 1979

Laurie Horwitz Duhan

I recently shared this picture I took of the SS Universe leaving Morocco during the Spring 1979 voyage with my daughter Alison Duhan, currently on the Fall 2013 voyage as the MV Explorer sails towards Morocco....

Laurie Horwitz Duhan, Spring 1979


Ross Fishman

I was on the Fall 1980 voyage. It’s impossible to identify a single memory, but how about: Climbing onto and into Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza, and touring Madras, India on a bike rickshaw where...

Ross Fishman, Fall 1980

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

In 1981, the University of Pittsburgh took over the sponsorship of the program – a sponsorship which continued for 25 years.

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 1981

It has been thirty two years after my voyage and I think about it all the time. I still have dreams of being on the SS Universe. I was telling a friend of being in Sri Lanka just a couple days ago. In Sri Lanka Drake Taylor and I rented a little motorcycle and went around the island. The most beautiful island I’ve ever seen. I remember we stayed at a home where the lovely people made us dinner. It was fantastic. Very hot, and fantastic. There was a river just outside of our rooms. We sat there and listened to the most beautiful quick moving river. The next day we got into a little motorcycle wreck. A lady ran to help. She was a nurse and shared the same name as my sweet mother. The comfort of being so far away from home and feeling as if an angel named Marian was sent to help dust us off. We were fine once we calmed down. The Isle of Smiles still remains close to my heart. As...

Rebecca Banner Beard, Spring 1981

My voyage was Fall ‘81. I have so many great memories. Hiking into Taroko Gorge in Taiwan to spend the night in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Walking on the Great Wall of China. Meeting and talking with Imelda Marcos at a dinner party in the Philippines. Riding a motorcycle along the coast of Sri Lanka. My time on SAS had a big impact on who I was and who I was to become as a parent.

When my children were little and were hungry, they were not allowed to say “I’m starving” very hungry yes, but not starving. It was a small thing, but I wanted to teach my children to be aware that many children around the world were truly starving (I had spent time with some of those children when I was on SAS). Now my daughter is going to have her own SAS experience on the Spring 2014 voyage. I look forward to what she will be able to teach me about the world.


Kimberly (Michelena) Isaak, Fall 1981

My story begins when I was preparing to Graduate from Duquesne University.  I had declared a double major and yet they allowed me to Graduate and finish my undergraduate classes for my second degree on Semester at Sea.  I never considered going on SAS, even though my sister went on Spring ‘83 voyage.  I was very different from her, I did not like to travel, I did not like boats or open water, I did not like to pack and unpack!  But at dinner with my parents in April, my parents asked me where I was planning on getting a job!  I immediately blurted out “oh, I am going on SAS to finish up my education!”. I had never contemplated this idea before and I knew when I said it that they were surprised.  They simply said, “oh that will be nice.”  Later they told me that they never thought I would pull it off.  There was no Internet or electronic filing.  I received mountains of...

Rebecca Donahue Foxhoven, Fall 1987

Dan Kellogg

Divine intervention brought my sister, my good friend, and an adult passenger from our home town together on the Fall ‘87 SAS Voyage. Within the first week of the journey, as we headed for Shakeys...

Dan Kellogg, Fall 1987

I’ve believed in magic since the spring of 1987. How else can one describe the thrill and adventure, the sadness and joy, the discovery and awakening of a Semester at Sea? It matters not what ship you were on, what ports you visited, or what year you sailed. What does matter are those who shared the experience with us and the experience itself. An experience that teaches us about the planet we live on and about those who we share it with, but more importantly helps us discover who we are and how we might go about living our lives with the same sense of wonder that all of us felt each and every day of our voyage. Magic indeed. My SAS story may have begun in 1987, but it continued in 2004 as I sailed in the summer as the leader of the new Teachers at Sea Program which continued through 2007. I enjoyed the very first Seminar at Sea, and more recently Enrichments Voyages through...

Herb Thompson, Spring 1987

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

In 1998 SAS students meet President Corazon Aquino of the Philippines. In addition on their visit to the USSR they meet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 1988

John Dwight Bardwell

Semester at Sea has had a profound impact on my life.  Every single day I think of my time aboard the S.S. Universe. I’ve had the opportunity to attend two alumni events as well as the Global...

John Dwight Bardwell, Spring 1989


Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

SAS students meet Nobel Peace Prize recipient Mother Teresa

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 1992

Big skys from sun deck, talks with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, interactions with a goat herder in Africa and Dalit homeless children in Madras- all crystalized for me my purpose in this world:  to build connections between people in order to create equity.  I realized on Semester at Sea that I could not just get a job and then volunteer on the side- I needed to find a way to contribute through my life’s work. Now I’m leading collaborative teacher trainings and writing curriculum to ensure that every child, regardless of socioeconomic status or home language, can access high-caliber education.

Thank you, Semester at Sea, for being part of my education on this path.

Tonya Ward Singer, Spring 1992

Eddie Pugsley

The miraculous interactions I experienced while on Semester At Sea cannot be summed up in any entity. But a particular aspect of my voyage was fairly unique. As a pro paintball player, I brought my equipment...

Eddie Pugsley, Fall 1993

Carl Wikman

The best trip of my life. It really did chanbe my view of the world and it’s cultures. I was the video producer and here’s a 13 part video of the Voyage of Discovery.

Carl Wikman, Spring 1993

Zaneeta E Daver

Thanks for the world mom and dad! Great Wall of China

Zaneeta E Daver, Spring 1994

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

SAS students meet Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nelson Mandela

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 1994

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

SS Universe is the first ship of U.S. passengers to visit Vietnam after the U.S. embargo is lifted.

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 1994

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

SS Universe is replaced by the SS Universe Explorer

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 1995

I wasn’t aware of Semester At Sea until 1996.  Both my sons had graduated from college by then.  A business associate told me about this amazing trip he had just completed.  I couldn’t wait to go home and research  When I finally arranged my life to do the F98 voyage my oldest son was living on the west coast and the ship was leaving from Vancouver BC.  He drove up to see me off.  As we approached the check-in desk, the lady at the desk looked at my son and said, “Welcome, do you have your documents with you?”  My son responded, “I’m here to see my mother off!”  It was life changing.  I’ve been a huge supporter and advocate since.

Shirley Thagard, Fall 1998

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

SAS visits Havana, Cuba for the first time. These visits were some of the most powerful in the history of Semester at Sea for students, lifelong learners, faculty, and staff. During their time in Cuba,...

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 1999


Mary Rusinow

FDP to the European Union, the focus of the summer 2000 voyage

Mary Rusinow, Summer 2000

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

Cuban President Fidel Castro meets with students in Havana, first of several meetings with students in the program.

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 2000

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

Semester at Sea launches first summer voyage.

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 2000

I was an adult passenger. My daughter went first, and determined her life long career with a PHD in International Relations related to Outer Space.  She got off the ship and that’s what she did. For me, it was the most powerful experience of my life. I had seen Europe, and some of Asia, but the experiences in Africa, India and Cuba were life changing.
Thanks, SAS, hope to go again soon.

Barbara Stuart, Fall 2001

Timothy Dale Walker

Ten years ago today (4 December 2003) I was in Havana, Cuba, listening to Fidel Castro speak to an auditorium full of Semester at Sea students, faculty and staff. Havana was the final port of call on the...

Timothy Dale Walker, Fall 2003

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

SS Universe Explorer is replaced by the MV Explorer

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 2004

Kristin Graham

I remember emailing my dad from the ship to ask for his permission to take one more SAS sponsored side trip to the Great Wall when the ship docked in Hong Kong, citing the expense was worth it because it...

Kristin Graham, Spring 2004

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

University of Virginia becomes Semester at Sea’s new academic sponsor. With Dr. Les McCabe at the helm as the new leader of ISE (where he continues as President today) the program continued to thrive...

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 2005

Mariya Taher

In the Summer of 2005, I embarked on a Semester at Sea voyage and I can honestly say that it was a voyage that still affects my life today. I had many firsts on that voyage. First time living on a ship....

Mariya Taher, Summer 2005

Jenna Finch

Semester at Sea was the best decision I could have ever made.  It was the single most impacting, eye-opening, and thrilling event of my life thus far.  Seven years ago I would have never in my...

Jenna Finch, Fall 2006

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

Archbishop Desmond Tutu sails as distinguished lecturer in residence during the entire Spring 2007 voyage. In 2009, his grace joins the ISE Board of Trustees. He later returns to sail on the Fall 2010 and...

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 2007

Amy Wood


Amy Wood, Fall 2007

Chelsea Bakewell

Travelling the world and exploring new cultures has changed me forever. It’s an indescribable change that I think every SAS alumni feels. But the best part of SAS was being able to embark on this...

Chelsea Bakewell, Fall 2007

The Institute for Shipboard education launches first Leadership Forum on Global Affairs which later was renamed the Forum on Global Engagement. A four-day voyage examining international issues that inspire dialogue and understanding through substantive programming. Participants engage in the global issues of today across various areas of expertise, including finance, health, sustainability, diplomacy, medicine, religion, gender studies, and the arts. Keynote speakers have included Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Desmond Tutu, and CEO of Boeing James McNerney.

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 2008

In 2008 the Semester at Sea Alumni Association Board of Directors is formed, including five alumni association councils: Faculty and Staff Council, Lifelong Learners Council, Parents Council, Voyagers Council, and Young Alumni Council.

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 2008

During our summer voyage, we stopped in Belgium - not the likeliest of places and took a trip to Brussels to see the EU. 2 years later, I moved there to pursue an MA and three years after that, I still live there. Although I had an international upbringing, SAS was the first time I’d been away from my family for that long. And now it’s been 3 years of living in Brussels and I love it - and the place I get to explore from here! During my second year, I lived with another SASer from my voyage, and have just recently gotten back in touch with another that has moved to Brussels. Last year, I also accompanied students on their day in Brussels and talked to them about my experiences! Unforgettable summer and would love to do it again someday!

Marine Vallet, Summer 2008

Sheila Moloney

May your heart always be joyful And may your song always be sung May you stay forever young- Bob Dylan

Sheila Moloney, Spring 2009

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea

SAS celebrates 100th voyage and launches the Semester at Sea C.Y. Tung Program in Sino–U.S. Relations.

Institute for Shipboard Education/Semester at Sea, Milestone 2009

Christopher Deatrick

It’s difficult for people to understand the profoundly life-changing moments that we experience while on SAS. But a goofy photo is always a great ice-breaker to get the conversation started.

Christopher Deatrick, Spring 2009

Sarah Shields

Les McCabe (our executive dean) told us a story about a woman named Mavis who he and his family had met in South Africa one voyage. From a simple conversation that first time, a friendship grew, and every...

Sarah Shields, Spring 2009


Titilope Akinlose

Standing tall and reaching for the sky at the base of Henutsen’s pyramid. (one of the three queen’s pyramid in Cairo, Egypt)

Titilope Akinlose, Summer 2010

Hanna Cook

Best friends since third grade traveling the world together

Hanna Cook, Spring 2010

Semester at Sea changed my life.  I saw myself growing as a person and learning so much just after the first port in Yokohama, Japan.  I have cruised all the way around the world, departing from my last port in Salvador, Brazil almost three years ago, and can truthfully say I learned more than I could have ever imagined.

 As I began my studies aboard the MV Explorer, my floating campus for three and one-half months, I continuously learned about issues of poverty, sustainability, disease, race, religion, and so much more. True, some of the information I may have already known, but to be immersed in these countries that suffer from such poverty and disease, the information took on a new meaning and understanding. I saw and felt the pain and suffering of human beings that no classroom lecture could possibly replicate. I was taught about the homogenous society in Japan and...

Kaitlin Segal, Spring 2010

Jeff Ramdass

I left for SAS with the desire to see the places in the world. I left SAS with the best friends I ever met, the experiences of meeting the people in the world, and the desire to change the world. SAS is...

Jeff Ramdass, Summer 2010

Remi Nagata

My first time going on a ship, and having the experience to visit the Mediterranean. We were lucky to have a graduate program, Student Affairs at Sea. SAS made me realize I love my career path, and being...

Remi Nagata, Summer 2010

At last-LLL at 70!

15 or so years to a voyage on SAS. A former tenant inherited $12,000 from his grandfather and used it for SAS. He came back raving and said even old people like me were on board and they could have cocktails before dinner. What a good reason to go! but first, the children grew up and my husband died. Now I was free to enjoy my love of traveling. I drove 2.5 hours to Charlotte, NC for a briefing, I sent several times for information. But, the cost was prohibitable to justify. Then I found an offer on the OLLI website of 2 for 1. I asked a friend. She hesitated 30 seconds. We applied and had a wonderful time. Auditing 8 classes was as much a highlight as going to Angor Wat, Kyoto and all my other adventures. I am going to be a Lifelong Learner again. I thought a week long cruise was self indulgent. This is the ultimate.

Genie Jansen, Fall 2010

I was inspired to write this blog post after a SAS reunion that left me reflecting on how wonderful and life-changing the friendships I made on Semester at Sea have been.

For My Semester at Sea Family

I love you because you are distinctly different from me in just about every way: geography, temperament, background, beliefs, and, of course, height. You represent worlds that are completely unlike my own. You come from places I have not seen. You have dreams that are created in your own mediums. You are ambitious, daring, fun-loving, intelligent, witty, silly, and compassionate.

These are all things you already know, or, at least you should. What you may not know, though, is that I love you because even though we are different, we are somehow, the same. Maybe it is because the plot lines of our stories crossed and we shared experiences that forever changed who we are. Maybe it...

Amanda E. Boccuti, Summer 2010

Mandy Lilly

I left for Semester at Sea not knowing a soul. After three and a half incredibly life changing months, my roommate Caroline and I were inseparable. Three years later we find ourselves living in South Africa...

Mandy Lilly, Fall 2010

I have always had a wanderlust heart. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to see the world. I remember watching Beauty and the Beast as a child and thinking that, just like Belle, I wanted “much more than this provincial life.” Not only that, I wanted “adventure in the great wide somewhere,” and I surely wanted it “more than I can tell.”

What I didn’t know is how I would do it. 

Cue my sixteen-year old self, walking down the halls of community college. Suddenly I spot a little postcard on a bulletin board.  It had a ship on it, and it asked if I wanted to see the world by sailing on it. I did.

In what had to be fate, the program was sponsored by the University of Virginia, which was the school I had plans to attend. On that day, I vowed when I got to UVA that I would study abroad with this program known as “Semester at Sea” no matter what. I would do whatever it...

Olyvia Christley, Summer 2010

Andrew Centofante

111 Days, 12 Countries, 1 Guy and his GoPro. This past Fall I had the opportunity of a lifetime to sail around the world on Semester at Sea. I took a video of myself everyday (or whenever I saw something...

Andrew Centofante, Fall 2011

Semester at Sea

Ever wonder what the MV Explorer looks like? Ever wonder just what it is that makes the Semester at Sea program so special? This video answers both of those questions and does it with more than just a tip...

Semester at Sea, Fall 2011

Marissa D’Amato

After hiking 3 hours up Table Mountain, witnessing miles of beauty over the city and port of Capetown, South Africa was truly one of the most memorable and surreal moments I’ve ever encountered. ...

Marissa D’Amato, Spring 2011

Ellen Haick

Semester at Sea made real the layers of history our civilization has been built on. Traveling the world, seeing sites like the Roman city of Pompeii, and experiencing it all with an incredible community...

Ellen Haick, Summer 2011

Sam Beach

Following a day of sightseeing in Athens, 12 of us got ferry tickets out of Piraeus just in time to avoid a planned taxi driver strike.  On our way to the port at sunrise, hundreds of cab drivers lined...

Sam Beach, Summer 2011

John Cutshall

I’ve always been someone who has loved to travel and share my stories. This video is from my time in Morocco which I can say changed my life. Thanks SAS for everything that you have given to me! ...

John Cutshall, Fall 2011

Alexa Rae Johnson

My favorite memory… Spending a day at the Egyam Orphanage and village outside Takoradi, Ghana. These children changed my life forever.

Alexa Rae Johnson, Spring 2011

Semester at Sea

Filmed across two recent Semester at Sea voyages, the new 12-minute video shows our unique study abroad program in action and seeks to answer the question: What is the value of Semester at Sea? Through...

Semester at Sea, Fall 2012

Katie Hansen

During our time in Panama City, Panama, my Advanced Spanish Conversation and Cinema class was able to meet Abner Benaim, director of the Panamanian film Chance, and Pituka Ortega-Heilbron, director Panamanian...

Katie Hansen, Short-Term 2012

Brian Patrick Morris

The impact that Semester at Sea made on my life through 2 different voyages and 24 countries

Brian Patrick Morris, Fall Summer 2012

Paul Vergara

Packed in my suitcase for the Semester at Sea Spring 2012 Voyage was a pair of natural canvas Toms. In order to chronicle my circumnavigation, I wore the shoes and took numerous photos in each port which...

Paul Vergara, Spring 2012

Destiny Yarbro

I met Deaf around the world through my SAS voyage. As a result of my experiences I founded The Deaf Dream organization in May 2012. We educate, employ, and empower Deaf worldwide to become leaders in their...

Destiny Yarbro, Spring 2012

The Deep Blue Sea…

As you know, on Sunday we finally left the coasts and the reefs, and entered deep waters.  Yesterday they reported that the water beneath us was 14,000 feet deep! That’s half as deep as Mount Everest.  However, with deep waters comes rough currents and rougher weather, I mean we are literally out in the middle of the Ocean, its insane!

As of this afternoon we were located at Lat.52-46N, Long. 028-29.0W. The waves have been incredible these past two days, yesterday we had swells as high as 16ft, the port hole in our cabin room was constantly being struck by waves, its very loud, and shocking, but amazing to witness (the image attached is a view from my port hole yesterday afternoon.) We’ve got friends coming down to our room all the time, just to see the view.

Yesterday during both lunch and dinner, we hit some huge swells that completely rocked the...

Samara Lazerson, Fall 2012

Donovan T. Smalls

I never thought in a million years that I would embark on a journey of a life time. Its taken a lot of hard work to get to where I am.  I’ve searched all over the world to find myself and today...

Donovan T. Smalls, Fall 2012


I met the most amazing people and did the craziest things - I love Semester at Sea!

Raquel, Fall 2012

I used to think I knew a good deal about the world and even about the person I wanted to be. But I was very wrong. SAS Summer 2012 showed me what it’s like to feel truly alive. It taught me the meaning of diving into the unknown and coming out a better person for it. It gave me best friends that I will cherish forever. I reflect on my trip every day and remember not just the moments staring at beautiful landscapes, and seeing a destination for the first time. I remember the times, sitting on the top deck of the MV explorer, laughing with people that changed my life in ways impossible to describe. “I may not have gone where I intended to go but at least I ended up where I needed to be”. An unforgettable Summer with unforgettable people.

Lindsay Roussin, Summer 2012

Miranda Denny

Being on Semester at Sea was the greatest experience of my life. One of the things I will always remember is the family and close friends that I developed in just a short time on the ship. I met some of...

Miranda Denny, Spring 2012

Jordan Fontheim

Made a beatbox video with shots from a round the world thanks to the MV Explorer!!

Jordan Fontheim, Fall 2012

Ciaran Quille

When Dean John said we would gain more from SAS after our voyage ended than during it, I didn’t believe him.  Only 4 months later and I’ve already learned so much more about myself since. ...

Ciaran Quille, Fall 2012

Janet S. Storlie

This image is from an Indian village in Panama that we visited during the December Enrichment voyage. I got to spend time with my daughter and granddaughter, three generations together. My daughter is an...

Janet S. Storlie, December Enrichment Voyage 2012

Nic Hendrix

My story started in Costa Rica when Taylor Bennett walked up and introduced herself poolside at the Ramada Herradura the day before we boarded the ship. Since that moment and the 26 days abroad we spent...

Nic Hendrix, Summer & Short-Term 2012

Favian Guzman

While in Panama, my Fluid Dynamics Class was fortunate enough meet the Chief Engineer of the Panama Canal Expansion Project, and see first hand how massive ships will be soon be allowed to travel through...

Favian Guzman, Short-Term 2012

Alexandria Vincent

I started SAS thinking I had an idea about life, but I left with a whole new purpose. 26 days with no cellphones and hardly any internet connection, days of making best friends, and days of adventure. I...

Alexandria Vincent, Short-Term 2012

Serra Erbas

Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam. Where do I even begin? When we first stepped onto the island, we were so happy to find ourselves in a beautiful tropical paradise. It was all fun and games until my friend said,...

Serra Erbas, Spring 2013

Andrew Gray

One of the coolest things I have ever done in my life was having the opportunity to visit the Pencils of Promise schools in Ghana while we were in port there. Pencils of Promise (or PoP for short) is a...

Andrew Gray, Fall 2013

50 Years of Semester at Sea

Thank you for 50 wonderful Years!

We hope this archive of stories, videos, and photos from the last 50 years of Semester at Sea reminds you of the lasting impact the program has had in the lives of our students, faculty, staff, lifelong learners, crew, alumni and people all over the world. Help us spread the word on what makes this program so special by adding your own story and referring future participants as we look onward to the next 50 years of impact.

Be sure to add your Semester at Sea story!

1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 Present