Time out for reflection in Cambodia

Educational and Field Travel FAQ

What are Field Programs?

Field Programs are optional Semester at Sea organized trips to popular cultural, historical, and recreational sites led by qualified and licensed local guides.   In addition to providing engaging learning opportunities, all field trips bring to life the historic, political, socio-economic and cultural aspects of each host country and provide the opportunity for meaningful engagement with local residents.

Field programs are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Many trips will sell out.

What are Field Classes?

Field Classes and their respective assignments are a required part of each course and constitute approximately 20 percent of your grade in a given course, as well as 20 percent of the course’s required contact hours. Field Classes are in-port programs developed by faculty to complement your coursework on the ship. They present unique opportunities that you could not generate on your own. Field Classes are full-day programs that typically fall on the first or second day in port. They are included in the cost of your tuition.

How and when do I sign up for Field Classes?

When you register in a course, you will be automatically registered in the co-requisite field class.  Do not make any other plans on your field class days.

Do I have to participate in Field Classes?

Yes, you must participate in Field Classes in order to fulfill your course requirements.

How and when do I sign up for Field Programs (not Field Classes)?

Approximately 8-10 weeks prior to the start of your voyage, an electronic copy of the Final Field Program will be posted on our website. This Field Program will list all the Semester at Sea trips available for your voyage. Read through these files carefully, select the trips in which you wish register, and follow the registration instructions to sign up online through the MyPassport portal.

Does financial aid cover any Field Programs?

First and foremost, financial aid will be applied to your tuition balance, which includes the cost of Field Classes required for your courses. Once the bill for your tuition is paid, you can usually request that excess financial aid be transferred to your other field programs. We must have confirmation in our financial aid office that these funds are approved.

How do I pay with financial aid?

IF you plan to pay for ANY PORTION of field programs with FINANCIAL AID funds, you MUST contact the Field Office at field@isevoyages.org.  Specific procedures regarding financial aid credits will be provided to you via email before registration opens. If your financial aid is not disbursed (received by ISE) by the end of the first shipboard segment (usually 1-month), the balance due on Field Programs purchased will be charged to your shipboard account and you will be responsible for payment.

What are IMPACT opportunities?

IMPACT opportunities are programs that encourage involvement with local people and their community. They are hands-on, interactive experiences that allow you to give back during your time in port. IMPACT opportunities include visits to schools or hospitals, direct contributions to the community such as building a Habitat for Humanity house in Trinidad, forest restoration in Viet Nam,  university exchanges, or homestays.

Are homestay Field Programs available?

Yes, in certain countries

There are a few programs that I definitely know I want to register for and a few I will need some more time to think about. May I register online for the programs I definitely want now and then again later for the others?

Yes, you may register multiple times through your MyPassport portal.  Registration for overnight trips may close early so we can secure airline tickets and hotel rooms.  Any registration deadlines for programs will be clearly noted in the Field Program description.  Requests received after the deadline are subject to availability and possible price increases.  Most day programs will remain open for registration on the ship

I’m trying to log onto the MyPassport portal, but I can’t access it. What’s wrong?

Your MyPassport username is firstname.lastname.voyage (i.e. john.smith.sp14).  The first time you log in, your MyPassport password is in the format “pw” followed by your date of birth “MMDDYY.”  For example, if you were brown on January 1, 1991, your password would be “pw010191.”

You will be prompted to change your password the first time you log in.  If you have changed your password in the past and don’t remember it, you must email Techsupport@isevoyages.org and they will assist you.  For specific questions about Field Programs, or if you are having difficulty maneuvering through your MyPassport pages, please email field@isevoyages.org and they will be happy to help.

Can I still sign up for Field Programs on the ship?

There will be a limited list of programs for which you can register on the ship. They will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Please do not wait until you reach the ship to sign up for a program that you want as most will be closed by that time. Overnight programs in particular require more planning and usually involve hotel accommodations, travel within or outside of the port country, and tickets purchased in the student’s name. For these reasons, registration for many overnight programs will often be closed by the start of the voyage.

Might new Field Programs be added while I am on the ship? How do I pay for these?

The programs listed in the Final Field Program are the programs scheduled for the entire voyage. Occasionally a program will be added during the voyage, but this is not a frequent occurrence. If a program is added during the voyage, information will appear in the Field Program Addendum or in the on board Dean’s Memo.

How many Field Programs does the typical participant sign up for?

The number of programs a participant takes depends on the travel preferences of that individual. There are extremes that go both ways; some people take an overnight program in every port, while others take only day programs. You must take into consideration how much money you have available, what programs truly interest you, how much independent travel you would like to do, as well as many other factors. Basically, it is up to you. It is your voyage and your decision. The average number of programs (day and overnight combined) taken by participants over the course of the entire voyage is between 10 and 15 (average budget of $2,800).

Are meals included in the cost of Field Programs?

Meals are frequently included. If a meal is included in a program it will say so in the Final Field Program or in the Field Class itinerary that your professor shares with you. For overnight programs, this information can be found at the end of the program description.

Do I have to sign up for Field Programs? What else is there to do while in port?

You will be automatically registered in your Field Classes when you register in your courses, but it is your decision whether to participate in any other Semester at Sea programs. Once the ship arrives in port you are free to travel about the country as you wish. There are many resources onboard such as guidebooks and a collection of independent travel recommendations for each port. Students and faculty also post travel suggestions. There is never a lack of things to do in port, whether you’re on a Semester at Sea program or traveling independently. However, when traveling independently we suggest you do so in a group to reduce safety concerns.

Is sign up for programs first-come, first-served?

Yes, but our goal is to accommodate as many of your program requests as possible.  If demand is high for a program, we will try to request more space from the operator.   If a trip is already filled to capacity, please fill out an Expression of Interest form.  You will be notified if more space opens up.

I read through the different programs and noticed that some programs had OOPEX listed with the price. What is OOPEX?

OOPEX stands for Out-Of-Pocket-EXpenses. There are times when a program does not include all costs. Day programs will list when this occurs so you may prepare for that program accordingly.   Whenever possible, we will list what the anticipated costs will be.

I just don’t feel comfortable or want to register online. Do I have to register online?

All registration is done on your MyPassport account.  However, if you are having difficulty with this process, please contact the Field Office by email field@isevoyages.org and they will be happy to assist you.

Is it possible to cancel programs? Will I still be charged?

Yes, single-day programs may be cancelled any time prior to the start of a voyage. A 100% refund will be issued prior to the two weeks pre-voyage. Within two weeks of the voyage, a 50% refund will be issued once on board.

All overnight field program fees include a $100 non-refundable deposit. For more information, please see the Field Program Cancellation Policy.

Why do SAS planned programs seem so expensive?

When you compare costs, please know that, unless otherwise indicated, all official In-Country Excursions include all transportation starting and ending at the ship, all meals, accommodations, licensed guides, airfare, admission fees to various sites, airport transfers and gratuities.  In addition, standard practice for many tour operators (such as in China, India, Morocco, and Russia) is to build in shopping trips to their tours which will directly profit the guides.  SAS pays our operators extra so that such additions do not occur and you get a more authentic in-country experience.

If I decide not to go on a program can I sell it to someone else?

You may sell your tickets for most day programs to other passengers on the ship. Overnight programs have arrangements such as hotel accommodations and airline reservations made in your name. For these reasons, as well as other administrative issues, you cannot sell overnight programs or those day programs requiring manifests (as indicated in the field program).

What happens if I miss my program? Can I get a refund?

No. If you miss your program, you will not receive a refund.

If I have two programs on the same day, how far apart should I space them?

The times a program leaves and returns to the ship are approximate and there is no guarantee that you will return at the scheduled time. Therefore, we recommend leaving two hours between programs.

My friend/family member is meeting me in one of the ports. Can they go on a field program with me?

Yes. Friends and family (non-sailing guests) who are meeting you in port are welcome to join any Semester at Sea field program on a space-available basis. The shipboard community has first priority. Non-sailing guests may register for field programs three weeks AFTER sales open to voyagers.

How do I register a non-sailing guest?

Three weeks after field program registration opens for voyagers, non-sailing guests may register for field programs by sending an email request to field@isevoyages.org. You will need to provide names, dates of birth, passport information, and the name of the voyager you are meeting.

How much money do most students spend on Field Programs?

Once again, there are extremes. Some students spend thousands, while others spend a few hundred dollars or less. Over the past several years, the average has been around $2,500 per student.

What should I be aware of when traveling in-country?

Cultural assumptions about North American’s can lead to compromising situations.  Make sure you dress modestly and conservatively especially in rural areas (i.e. cover shoulders, wear long pants, do not expose belly button or cleavage).  Moderate your behavior: smoking, drinking and loud behavior can result in unwanted attention especially in countries where this behavior is not normal particularly among women.  The internet is a resource: look up what is customary in the countries where you will be traveling before you leave.