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92-year-old alumna recalls voyage as foreign service spouse

Margaret pulled out her old Semester at Sea photo album with a glimmer in her eye, anxious to recollect the ship that had forever changed her, and then she paused.

“The world is our campus,” said Margaret Blood, 92-year-old alumna of the Spring 1986 voyage of Semester at Sea.

Nostalgia crossed her face, and with a smile painting her lips she dove into far away places preserved behind laminated walls.

“I was the wife of Foreign Service Officer [Archer Blood],” Blood said. “We were approached by one of our foreign service friends and told about the Semester at Sea.”

No strangers to travel, Blood and her late husband were excited to join the voyage as a part of Archer’s diplomatic duties to the U.S. Department of State. However, while her husband worked in politics, Blood was a vivacious graphic artist from New York and took this unique opportunity to see the world through a different lens.

“I was comparing it more through the art field than through my husband’s political background,” she said. “I was going after the buildings as much as anything because they interested me most of all.”

Following the voyage the Blood’s revisited many of the places they had gone with Semester at Sea. She had been exposed to such a variety of places and she wanted more.

“We had so many stops and each one so different than the others,” Blood said. “When they stop at each stop they go as deeply into that area as they can in a short time, and they’re not invested in just one country as they would be if they had a year abroad. It’s a better balance.”

Each page of her album brought back a different memory, a different story of her time on the S.S. Universe. Now retired and enjoying her several grandchildren, Blood looks back fondly on her time with Semester at Sea, which continues to hold a special place in her heart amidst her many life adventures.

“I have 92 fascinating years behind me in the foreign service, and in the War College and in teaching and so on,” she said. “It’s been a glorious life and I’m very happy with it.”

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