Semester at Sea (SAS) is a study abroad program in which students live and take all their classes on a ship while visiting nearly a dozen countries. No other program integrates circumnavigating the planet into the curriculum. In fact, Chapman was an original founder and the primary academic sponsor of SAS from 1965-1975. This January, Global Education Advisors McKenna Hughes and Daniel Garcia went on-site (or onboard) to learn more about the program for themselves.
“In fact, Chapman was an original founder and the primary academic sponsor of SAS from 1965-1975.”
Boarding the ship is much like boarding an airplane in that there are security lines and passport checks. However, different from boarding a plane and indicative of the essence of Semester at Sea, students boarding the ship are accompanied by smiling crew members, supportive staff, and peers who are equally eager and trepid to get to know one another. Anyone can noticeably feel this ‘essence’ from the point of embarkation throughout the semester, and that is what differentiates Semester at Sea.
“The result? A strong, interconnected community.”
The close living quarters that cruise critics condemn actually provide another hidden benefit to this nontraditional program. On most programs and in most universities, faculty interaction can range from difficult to attain to nonexistent. On the ship, students will inevitably eat, exercise, and relax next to their professors at some point. Something about seeing professors eat a burger, reprimand their children at the pool for running, and reading a book seems to humanize them in a way that makes it less intimidating for students to interact with them. As such, faculty interaction on SAS can be more easily attainable than on other programs.
In addition to faculty, Semester at Sea fills its ship with decks of support. Six Resident Directors (RD) are assigned “seas,” or halls much like in a dormitory, which replicate living learning communities on U.S. campuses. Students, thus, have someone dedicated to their well-being while onboard and a “go-to” contact for any issues. Along with the RDs, Semester at Sea also employs two doctors, a nurse, two counselors, and the entire ship crew who handle everything from housekeeping and laundry to a salon and restaurant. Undoubtedly, students receive a lot of support on this program.
“…faculty interaction on SAS can be more easily attainable than on other programs.”
Global Education Advisor team is ready to help students discuss and choose the best program for them.
More information, including information on courses, scholarships, cabins, field programs, and shipboard facilities, can be found on the Semester at Sea website. Students can apply through the Center for Global Education’s application portal (the Global Gateway). Chapman offers Semester at Sea Chapman Scholarships that are available only to Chapman students who apply to Semester at Sea.