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What is Global Citizenship?


What is a Global Citizen?

Global Citizens are members of a world community who contribute to and respect the worlds' values and practices, and cultures.

Semester at Sea students are bright, thoughtful and involved young thinkers, eager to gain a deeper understanding of the world. Students of all majors and backgrounds have found that the academic program not only fits the requirements of their majors, but goes far beyond that to magnify their knowledge of the world and their commitment to global understanding.

Global Citizenship Starts with a Perspective Shift

Semester at Sea students engage with people of other cultures, learning how they live and what makes them unique. These experiences combined with academic context and a supportive community allows for lasting shifts in perception toward a global worldview.

Global Citizenship Encourages Personal Growth


The first time a student steps foot onto the ship, their path toward personal growth begins. They will face many challenges during their voyage that will push their comfort zones, test their belief structure and change their perspective on cultural norms.

Global Citizenship Leads to Global Leadership

Once a students’ eyes are open to the realities and challenges of our world, they become empowered to be agents of change as they seek to make a difference in local and global communities.


Become a Global Citizen - Semester at Sea Learning Objectives

Learning Goals

It’s hard to quantify the change that takes place through experiencing Semester at Sea. Here are some of the many positive outcomes that we’ve seen first-hand.

  • Empathy
  • Adaptability
  • Cultural awareness & competence
  • Understanding of the complexity of our interconnected world
  • Awareness of one’s own culture
  • Knowledge of global issues
  • Prepared for any challenge
  • A desire for continued education and constant learning
  • Access to a global community of forward-thinking alumni
  • Ability to collaborate on diverse teams
  • Risk assessment capability
  • Social and cultural pattern recognition
  • Cross cultural communication
  • Skills to operate successfully in unfamiliar environments
  • Confidence
  • A sense of personal purpose
  • Accountability
  • Agency and empowerment

Semester at Sea introduces undergraduate students to global and comparative studies by focusing on structural and social changes taking place in the world today by:

Building the insight necessary for perceiving and understanding our increasingly complex and interdependent world.

Learning how to interact with cultures and peoples of developed and emerging nations.

Developing a better awareness of one’s own culture through comparison and contrast with other cultures.

Observing and understanding world issues through first-hand observation.

Learning to think critically, with knowledge and understanding about the variety of issues and opportunities that challenge today’s world.

Developing a better understanding of the relationships between nations of the world.

Learning about one’s self through service learning projects.

Growing through the challenge of living and learning in a closely integrated shipboard community.

A lot of my personal travels and the path toward the creation of Pencils of Promise started as a student on Semester at Sea. It was not only the best, but most important thing that I've ever done because it set me on the path to becoming a global citizen.

-Adam Braun, Founder, Pencils of Promise, Spring 2005

[On] Semester at Sea, I got to see 14 different countries in a period of three months. That just added a lot of richness and color and depth to my understanding of my place in the world, and what else was out there.

-Jessica Jackley, Co-Founder,, Spring 1999

I have always loved to travel and Semester at Sea introduced me to places and people that changed my life forever.

-Bob McKnight, CEO, Quicksilver, Inc., Fall 1973
We believe that our participants will become the leaders in making the world a better place.

Creating the Next Generation of Global Citizens

Students are the future. We believe our students will do great things in the world because of the education and experience they receive during Semester at Sea, both in the countries they visit and on the ship. Students who embrace our mission often change their major or life goals to reflect more service or social good learning opportunities. We hope to create leaders that will have a positive and lasting impact on this world. We hope the lessons learned on a voyage will influence a lifetime of empathy and global awareness.

It is our responsibility to create opportunities that enable students to realize their full potential on our interconnected planet and within the international community.