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125th Voyage of Semester at Sea Embarks in Germany

On September 9, 2018, at 9:00am, approximately 440 students embarked on the MV World Odyssey for the 125th voyage of Semester at Sea. This fall, students will complete the journey of a lifetime as they travel to Spain, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, Myanmar, Vietnam, China, Japan, and Hawaii.

As students began embarking, they walked up the gangway to greet Dr. Bob Vieira, Executive Dean of the Fall 2018 Voyage, who is sailing with Semester at Sea for the seventh time.

“I even do it too when I go up that gangway, you feel the excitement build when you go somewhere you’ve never been before with people you don’t know,” Vieira said. “The excitement changes from not knowing what’s next, to knowing that there are unlimited opportunities to grow in new kinds of ways.”

The day was busy with parents waiting with their sons and daughters at the port prior to boarding. For many students, this was their first time traveling abroad. For others, it was a unique experience to add to an already robust travel resume.

But for some students, embarking from the port of Hamburg, Germany, was a completely different experience altogether.

“I live in Germany, so I was actually able to take the bus here,” said Fricka Linderman, a gap-year student from Germany and a Davis Scholar recipient. “The ship feels very ‘homey’ because there are so many German words everywhere; it’s all bilingual so it makes me feel a bit calmer.”

Fall 2018 Voyagers wave goodbye as the ship starts to pull away from Hamburg.

Linderman is part of the 10% international population on the ship, which includes students from Bulgaria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Uganda, and other countries.

Alongside students were also Lifelong Learners, adults to travel with the shipboard community for full or partial voyages. Karen Lynch and Mike Quinn were two of the first Lifelong Learners to board the ship, and will be joining students from Hamburg to Cape Town.

“I’m excited for Ghana,” Quinn said. “When I was in seventh grade we spent a quarter studying the Volta Dam in Ghana, the biggest man-made lake in the world. I still remember that, and here I am 45 years later, and I finally get to see it.”

Also new to the ship is Academic Dean Dr. Mary Vogl, who has traveled to two dozen countries in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.

“I think everybody has a sense that they’re going to come back a changed person, which is exciting but also scary,” she said. “Once you’ve had this travel adventure, that travel bug bites you and you’ll be curious to keep exploring.”

That curiosity was evident in the eyes of all students who embarked, waving goodbye to their families huddled at the port as the ship slowly moved toward the North Sea.

“We’re going to have an experience that we’re all going to share,” Vieira said. “There will be some people who have gone before, but there will never be another 125th voyage.”

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