Student Stories and Mentors
Who better to share the transformative Semester at Sea experience than students themselves? You can chat with recent alumni directly via our Global Ambassador Program or Diversity Peer Mentor program. Or you can scroll below and explore more student stories!
Student Alumni Mentor Programs
Global Ambassador Program
Global Ambassadors are recent alumni who are still enrolled as undergraduate students — possibly at your campus, or a campus near you! They are trained to answer many questions you may have about the program, and share their unique experiences with you.Find a Global Ambassador
Diversity Peer Mentor Program
Before and after each voyage, SAS can connect recent alumni with prospective voyagers who share similar identities. This is designed to be an informal mentoring program to share personal voyage experiences. Although we cannot guarantee to meet all mentorship requests, we will do our best to pair as many mentors and mentees as possible.Request a Mentor
Stepping off the ship in Morocco, I really had no expectation of what my experience would be like. We stuffed our backpacks to the brim, mounted our own camels, and set off to trek to a nomad camp across the Sahara. Arriving far past sunset, we stood at the top of the immense sand dunes looking down at our desert camp. We had the privilege of eating the most delicious Moroccan food and celebrating the experience with traditional musicians all night long. It was one of those “how crazy is my life” moments. Unbothered by the absence of cell service, my heart has never been so full as when I was dancing away under the full moon in the middle of the desert with the best of friends.
Because of Semester at Sea I have learned to believe in myself regardless of the challenges, and I now fully embrace differences and view them in a positive way. SAS was just the beginning of the voyage of a lifetime for me and how I will impact this world.
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On my final day in Vietnam, my professor Dr. Pete Seel (who served in the 600th Photo Squadron during the Vietnam War) took my Advanced Documentary Photography class to the Cu Chi Tunnels, a Viet Cong cemetery, the home of famous war photographer Hoang Van Cuong, and finally to the Requiem exhibit at the War Remnants Museum. I realized how little I actually knew about the Vietnam War, and how much less I knew about the Vietnamese perspective of the war. It was a powerful and humbling experience to be able to see the war from their side.
The highlight of this day for me had to be at the Cu Chi Tunnels. Huyen Van Chaia, a veteran of the Viet Cong, came to speak to us about what life was like living in the Cu Chi Tunnels. Chaia, who lost his right arm during the war, lived inside the tunnels for 12 years, starting when he was only 17 years old. Thinking about what he and Dr. Seel must have seen and went through during those years is unfathomable to me. It has been a few years since I was on Semester at Sea and I still think of this day often. On that day I witnessed a moment of humanity that I don’t think I could have experienced without being a student on Semester at Sea.
Sarah Portney, Spring 2017
Circumnavigating the globe seemed like an impossible feat at the age of 21, but what was even more daunting was the fact that I knew no one on board going into the semester. To be honest, I was terrified in the beginning. After making it through the first few days on board, I learned that the next time I ever feel uneasy, I just have to stick it through and wonderful things will come. It’s really amazing how quickly and intensely friendships are formed when you’re thousands of miles from land.
It really clicked for me during our sail from San Diego to Hawaii, right at the start of the voyage. It felt like the entire ship was out on deck watching the sunset, and everyone was experiencing the same feeling of awe and wonder together. I felt connected to everyone on the ship through this shared experience that only our voyage could relate to. I don’t know anywhere else in the world where I could have shared that moment except the MV World Odyssey.
Andrew Kern, Spring 2018