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So Tell Me About Semester at Sea
At one point or another, you’ve had to tell somebody about Semester at Sea. And I mean had to. Does one of the following sound familiar?
- Your job interviewer saw SAS on your resume and spent the next twenty minutes asking questions.
- You were on a plane and your seatmate caught a glimpse of that desktop image of you at the Great Wall.
- You wore your voyage shirt or your SAS hoodie to a restaurant or to a ball game and someone said “What’s Semester at Sea?”
Last summer it happened for me at the customs and immigration checkpoint in Halifax airport. The agent at the desk saw the SAS patch stitched to the outside of my carry-on and, oblivious to the folks in line behind me or my plane’s departure time, proceeded to ask me several minutes worth of questions about the program.
Usually the rule of thumb is the fewer questions you’re asked by a federal agent, the better. But I was more than happy to stand in Halifax airport and answer question after question about the program.
Like a lot of you, I love talking about Semester at Sea. It’s easy. And some of you are SO good at it.
Maybe you kept a cool blog during your voyage.
Or maybe you have one of those SAS cool stickers on your laptop or guitar case.
Simple enough, right? Sharing is so easy we almost can’t help it. It’s just what we do.
Check out this testimonial quote from a Semester at Sea faculty member, an art historian, which appeared in an abstract for a presentation she was giving at a conference:
A recent opportunity to sail around the world teaching for Semester at Sea came with its own set of challenges: I had to develop three new courses geared to a non-Western itinerary–and I had to overhaul my Western-oriented approach toward teaching art history.
In effect, I had to find a way to teach an “integrated” history of art that complemented the thrust of our global voyage. Rather than concentrate on divergences from Western tradition, I emphasized correlations, both actual and conceptual. For my courses on world art, and art and religion, I focused on unifying themes, e.g., varying notions of beauty, ideas on nature, portrayals of deities, religious architecture, etc.
The most eye-opening for my students–and the most germane to our study abroad experience–was a course on cross-cultural exchange, which explored the influences on, and by, Western art generated through trade, conquest, religion, diplomacy, and travel in foreign lands.
Back on terra firma, I have subsequently changed the tenor of my teaching of the survey course. Stressing these cultural interconnections has helped bridge the gap between West and Non-West, even while it has served as a catalyst for re-evaluating the Western art historical paradigm
This quote is Exhibit A in the case for the power of sharing. I know because this quote is the reason I work here.
We can clearly see the power of sharing in our pre-departure surveys when more than two-thirds of our student respondents tell us that they first learned about Semester at Sea through word of mouth.
This is why sharing is so important – because it literally creates the future of this program.
What’s your most memorable moment talking about SAS?
What other tools, in addition to the ones at www.semesteratsea.org/share would make it easy for you to share your SAS love?