Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Evening in photos

Diary from the Ocean

Today is my sixth day on the ship. The past two days have been my first days of classes (we operate on a A-B schedule, I have one class on A days and three classes on B days). My first impression of the classes on board is that some include a lot of bookwork and readings while others seem more fun and formatted with workshop-style lessons.

In my Global Studies class yesterday, we had a guest speaker who threw more dates and facts at us in 20 minutes than I ever thought humanly possible. I’m pretty sure that single session will target me as a candidate for carpal tunnel. The information is interesting — there is just a lot of it. My World Religion class seems like a class I’ll really enjoy. My past religion classes have prepared me for most of the material we are covering and the professor seems really excited about the course material, which is always an added bonus.

My other two classes, Video Journalism and Writing Around the World, I took for my journalism major. I hope to use these classes to branch out and explore global journalism in ways I have never had the opportunity to in America.

To track the ship’s progress, learn more about courses or itinerary, or to check out the SAS blog (which my roommate Leah is a part of) click here.

Thank you for all of your emails and support! Feel free to send me any other questions/information/advise at

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day two of classes

Today, I was told that I am rich. Even though I was denied for a credit card last month because of insufficient income and my student loans are much larger than I’d like, my Global Studies professor says I am rich. I am sailing around the world on a ship — taking classes and learning through opportunities that many will not experience in their lifetime. During the next few months, I will discover what it means to have the opportunities I have, because I will meet people who barely have education, housing and food. I will be immersed in poverty and strife. I will learn that I am extremely blessed and fortunate to have the life I lead. I am rich, and so are you.

My Cabin

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What are you most looking forward to?

I have never been able to pick just one place I want to travel to and learn about — that’s why I chose a study abroad program like Semester at Sea. I never was a student who had a favorite destination and a desire to stay in one place for an entire semester — I wanted to see it all. I still want to see it all.

At this point in our voyage, I definitely have sites that I am extremely excited to see like the Great Wall of China, Kruger National Park, the Terracotta Soldiers, the Sahara Desert and so much more. But, most of the areas I am traveling to I know little about.

Mystery and adventure is something that draws me. I’m excited to see different ways of life. I grew up in a farming community and just last year I took my first trip out of the country to London and Scotland. I don’t really know what kind of experiences are out there, waiting for me, but that makes it all the more wonderful to me. This is my time to be an adventurer, an explorer and a global learner — that is why Semester at Sea is so great for me.

I’ve also never sailed on a ship before and while this ship college community is also very foreign to me, I know meeting and being with these people on board will teach me great lessons and help me mature in ways I’ve never thought possible. So many of the people I’ve met here already have traveled all over the world and have life experiences that are so different from mine. It is fascinating to hear their stories and life perspectives. This voyage is already causing me to think in ways I’ve never thought possible. Semester at Sea is all about discovering the great unknown — whether that is finding a global understanding or something beyond that.

I’m here to learn, to see what I have never seen, to do what I have never done and to grow in ways that will make me a better individual. I’m out of the typical college campus and learning with my heart open and body immersed. This is the kind of education that matters most.

I want to be a better person from this experience. I want to bring home with me great knowledge that I can share with my family and friends.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Internet is very expensive and very temperamental here. So, it rarely works when I need it. When I do create a post, I want to make sure it is filled with the best information for readers — so, email me at my Semester at Sea email address (which is a free service): I will do my best to answer any questions about my voyage or provide you with any other information you are interested in through my blog.

First Sail

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It is our third day on ship but our first full day sailing. Leah and I just ate breakfast with the dean’s son, who is sailing on his fourth SAS voyage. He slept on the deck last night and said Leah and I should definitely try it before we leave the ship. So, we are going to have to find some sleeping bags somewhere.
Today is full of orientation meetings.

Friday, August 27, 2010

These last few days have been surreal — a whirlwind of fantasy.
My cabin is small, but clean and will be an absolutely perfect home until December. I will introduce it through photographs or video as soon as my Internet cooperates.
Our ship deported today at 5 p.m. I officially see ocean outside of my window. No land is in sight. We are headed to Cadiz, Spain.

Everyone on board is walking like they are drunk — we are still searching for our sea legs. I hope we find them soon. In the meantime, we amuse ourselves by bumping into things and falling down stairs. We just came from an orientation where we learned statistics about how many students/faculty/staff are on board. About 604 students are currently on ship. We were also introduced to each of the professors on board — it seems like we have a very interesting and intelligent teachers.

All day, the main announcements have included information about motion sickness medication. I haven’t taken any and I am currently doing alright. My stomach feels fine — but, I can see how this motion could give me a serious headache. It is definitely not smooth sailing and the caption said we might experience some bounce from the distant hurricane. We were told that the MV Explorer is an extremely fast cruise ship.

Internet here is extremely frustrating. I know that most people on board are trying to get away from communication, but this is a journalist’s nightmare. I tried to upload a video of my cabin earlier and realized that it would take my ENTIRE allowance for Internet to post it. I’m determined to find a way to post video — it just might not be posted as promptly as I would like.

There is so much to write about! I will keep you updated as best as I can. Right now, I’m struggling with Internet time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Last night in America

Today has been filled with anxiety, bittersweet emotions, lots of traveling, last-minute packing and goodbyes. But, soon I will be saying hello — hello to life on a floating college, hello to new faces, hello to new cultures and so much more. So, for now, goodbye America and hello Semester at Sea.