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Bon Voyage MV Explorer
As we look optimistically toward the future, we say “bon voyage” to a dear friend. The Spring 2015 voyage was the final voyage on board the MV Explorer, one that will go down in Semester at Sea history. The voyagers who made up the final group to sail on the iconic SAS ship used since 2004, arrived at their port of disembarkation, Southampton, England, today.
Spring 2015 was a voyage similar to many other SAS voyages, yet distinctively special, as it was the final time the MV Explorer would navigate the globe with Semester at Sea. Departing from Ensenada, Mexico, it traveled to 12 countries in 112 days with 629 students from 267 different colleges and universities worldwide. The voyage welcomed a record number of international students, with 84 participants from countries outside of the United States.
When the ship pulled away from the dock in Ensenada, the realization set in, that was the final time the MV Explorer would go through the welcoming embarkation process. This would be the first ‘last’ of many during the Spring 2015 voyage.
“The great group of students made the last voyage on board the MV Explorer an extraordinary one,” said Spring 2015 Executive Dean, Bob Vieira of Oregon Health and Sciences University. “Throughout the voyage, students were forthcoming, open, and friendly. Above all, they wholeheartedly welcomed learning, change, and adventure – putting themselves forward in ways that SAS alumni would be very proud.”
The voyage also included an outstanding group of 40 faculty members, 30 staff participants, and 42 lifelong learners.
“The faculty and staff were a terrific group of talented people that came from various experiences,” said Vieira. “They stood together as a team – we cried a bit and laughed a lot.”
As voyagers disembark the MV Explorer for the final time today, the shipboard community is thankful for their home for the last four months.
“Thank you for a life-changing journey for everyone and for a voyage family. Thank you for transporting us safely throughout the journey, and most of all thank you for transforming so many students’ lives over the years,” said Vieira.
Students of the final MV Explorer voyage thank and say a tearful goodbye to the vessel they have grown to love.
Shelby Allen from Chapman University reflects, “Thank you for being my safe haven and giving me an amazing community to thrive in while abroad!”
“Thank you MV for giving me the world and a life changing experience!” exclaimed Eddie Viera from the University of San Francisco.
Michelle Lazoff from Syracuse University is appreciative of her SAS experience. “Thank you MV Explorer for opening my eyes to the world. SAS has indefinitely changed me—with new thoughts, morals, and opinions. Who knew four months can change a person?”
As the SAS community says goodbye to one another and the shipboard campus they have grown to love, the executive dean reminds all voyagers, past and present, “It isn’t about the ship. You fall in love with whatever ship you sail on. It’s the great memories, people, community, and places visited that forever make this journey special.”
With 629 new global citizens eager to change the world, the Spring 2015 honored the MV Explorer in true SAS form for this monumental sail around the world.
Photos by Evan Meyer