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Advice from Global Ambassadors: The A to Z's of Semester at Sea

This list is a collection of ideas that hold the utmost importance to me while sailing on the MV Explorer.

Always take your green sheet. The information on it is more valuable than you think: it includes contact information, phone numbers, and addresses you may need access to while in port.

Blog: use blogging as a way to share your journey with those back home, or as a personal journal. And don’t stop half way through – you will regret it later.

Crew: get to know and respect the Captain and his crew. They are some of the nicest, most helpful people you will encounter.

Do your research before every country to have an idea for where you want to go and what you want to do. You have a limited time in each port, and pre-port research allows you to make the most of it.

Eat with people outside of your normal friend group. Try sitting with different people in the dining rooms to meet new people and mix it up.

Find something simple to collect in every country; it makes for a great project and a way to remember your voyage (think artwork, music, flags, jewelry, postcards, etc.).

Get to know locals of all ages. They have the coolest stories and can become the highlight of your trip. Make conversation with your cab drivers, tour guides and the natives around you.

Hostels: do your research to find safe, cheap places to stay off the ship. You will quickly learn the value of traveling on a limited budget.

Informed: stay up to date on current events going on in the countries you visit, as well as back home.

Join a club, organization, or intramural team on the ship.  There are tons of opportunities to become involved and stay busy while sailing.

Kids: hanging out with the dependent children on board is one of the most fun things you can do while at sea!

Language: take the time to learn key phrases like hello, please, and thank you in each country’s native tongue.

Mail a postcard home from every port. It will help keep your loved ones close, and they are great to look at when you return.

Never sit around your cabin, especially in the beginning. Sitting in an open area is the best way to get to know as many people on ship as possible.

Over land: travel over land in as many countries as possible.  It may take some time to get where you want to go, but in-port travel can really be worth it.

Participate in every on-ship activity you possibly can (open seminars, Sea Olympics, presentations, clubs, discussions, intramural games, etc.).

Queue: if you see a line, take a chance, and get in it. Chances are, people are waiting for something worth waiting for. You can always get out later, but you might be disappointed to know you missed the opportunity to try the best dim sum in Beijing or to meet a European pop star.

Remember to take pictures, but don’t get too distracted by focusing on your camera. It is possible to snap a few shots and then put your camera away so you can take everything in.

Spend time with professors. It is amazing what you can learn outside of the classroom.

Try every strange food that is offered to you.

Unique: do not be afraid to venture to places others may not be visiting. Some of the best memories are made because they are unique to your travels.

Vitamins. There are times where you will get little to no sleep and it is important to stay healthy. A vitamin pack or a daily multi-vitamin can help make a difference.

Water bottle. Whenever possible, take a filled water bottle from the ship. It is best to avoid non bottled or unfiltered water while in port, and you do not want to become dehydrated.

eXcited (I know it’s kind of cheating, but there are not many things that begin with X): you should be equally excited for every port, no matter what eXpectations you have for it.

Yoga, yodeling, and Yiddish. Sign up for a lesson or find someone that will teach you something unique to the country you are in.

Zone. Most importantly, do not be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone! Semester at Sea is a time to challenge yourself, meet new people and experience something you may never get the chance to again.

  • Life at Sea

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