Semester at Sea

Ten years ago I was getting ready for one of the most memorable, eye-opening, enriching and educational experiences of my life.  I was going to board a ship and sail around the world in 100 days and visit 10 different countries!!!  I was excited, nervous and trying to figure out what I would pack!!!  I was going to be away for a total of 4 months!!!  What did I need and what could I live without?!?!

This experience is like no other and if you ever have the opportunity to be a part of Semester at Sea, whether you’re young or old, DO IT!!!  YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT ONE BIT!!!  I made lifelong friends, whom I still keep in touch with and visit occasionally (hey give me a break, it’s expensive to leave my rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean).  I have lifelong memories that I will never forget.  Ever.  Even in old age I have images to look at, books to browse through, cards to read and a whole bunch of memorabilia from each country to remind me of my SAS days.

I enjoyed my experience so much, that I want to do it again and again.  I would too if I could afford it!!!  I vow to sail at least one more time when I’m older and can afford to do so.  I can sail as a “Lifelong Learner.”  I am not sure what the requirements are to be a Lifelong Learner, but I know I have to be a wee bit older than I am now.  I also want Brent to share in the experience with me…so I’m going to cross my fingers that we can afford to do so in the future.

My first stop was Boca Raton, Florida to visit some family friends.  I also got to visit with Rinat, my friend whom I had met the summer before in Annecy.  I stayed in Florida for about 5 days before I headed to Nassau, Bahamas.  I would spend 4 days in the Bahamas before boarding the S.S. Universe Explorer, my home for 100 days!!!  In the Bahamas I met up with Joy and her mom.  Joy was my high school classmate/friend who was going to be on the same voyage with me.  And no we didn’t stay at the Atlantis Hotel…it was a little too expensive for our taste…haha!!!

In the Bahamas is also where I met ALIA!!!  Little did I know that this girlie and I were going to CLICK and be FRIENDS FOREVER!!!  Boy we had a grand time together and we made many memories together!!!  She was my best bud on this trip…I “heart” you Alia!!!  I can definitely say that Alia’s presence made my voyage that much more memorable!!!  Thanks girlie!!!

Here are some other images from my stay in the Bahamas.

Saying good-bye and boarding our new home for the next 100 days!!!

Here’s all the parents and families saying good-bye to us as we sail away…

I’ll end with a beautiful Bahamian sunset…

There’s too much to post about Semester at Sea in one post so check back for more posts about my Semester at Sea experience!!!  There’s so much more to share!!!

* Side note:  This voyage is quite pricey, but don’t let that discourage you!!!  You can apply for financial aid, scholarships, work-study, etc.  As I stated in my first post about studying abroad, my parents did not send me on my study abroad opportunities.  I paid for my Semester at Sea experience on my own dime too.  I took a semester off from school (partly because the College of Ed wouldn’t let me start the classes for my major unless I was going to be there consecutively for 2 years.  Yes, you read that correctly, they wouldn’t let me start, go on Semester at Sea and come back to continue my courses) and I worked 3 jobs.  I saved every last penny I had to pay for this experience.  Semester at Sea also provided passengers with a payment plan.  So I paid for my experience little by little throughout the year before I sailed.  I also took out a small student loan.  It is doable!!!  So don’t let the price tag discourage you!!!  When there’s a will, there’s a way!!!

Semester at Sea - January 14, 2011 - 5:40 am

Great post, Mindy! Thanks so much for the great reflections and images. Nice to see the Universe Explorer – that brought back a lot of memories for us, too.

About your footnote on affordability, we whole-heartedly agree! Here’s a great blog with some of the different stories of how other students have made it happen financially:

And one other note on affordability, we’re launching a brand new Semester at Sea voyage this spring: a 26-day Maymester voyage. Prices start at $3,475 and all academic field trips are included. Another way we’re trying to ensure that more students than ever before have access to a Semester at Sea experience!

Keep up the great work – hopefully we’ll see you back on board in the very near future!

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