Voyagers with underrepresented backgrounds — whether it be related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, disability, or some combination of these or a myriad of other identities — may experience each port country differently. Some ports might present positive experiences while others might be more challenging for different identities.
In-country experiences can also vary from person to person, whether they share similar identities or not.
Our shipboard leadership team understands that these situations related to identity can be challenging to navigate in our everyday lives, let alone in new cultures and contexts. The team on board makes every effort to inform and empower voyagers about what they may expect prior to arriving in a new port of call. However, as everyone’s experience may be different, we always encourage constructive feedback on what we can improve for future voyages.
Roundtable: What was your experience in Japan?
Roundtable: What was your experience in Vietnam?
Some challenges voyagers might face abroad based on their varying identities:
Ethnic/racial culture shock traveling in a country where they are now an underrepresented group or vice versa
Heritage travelers might not feel as connected as expected when visiting a country where they have ancestry but not a shared cultural familiarity
Voyagers might find it challenging to find clothing that fits their body
Limited availability of products and services for specific hair textures
Physical environments are not as readily accessible with wide sidewalks, ramps, or elevators as voyagers may be used to at home
Feeling unsure about the safety or being open about their gender or sexual orientation
Difficulty finding a place of worship for their religious backgrounds and practices
Identity Specific Stories & Resources
Below are some resources we’ve collected to support voyagers preparing for an upcoming Semester at Sea voyage. Some of these resources may not be an exact fit, but we still hope you find them useful! While most of these resources are geared toward students, Lifelong Learners, faculty, staff, and other voyagers may find some of the perspectives and experiences relatable as well. Some of the referenced links are stories directly from past SAS voyagers, while others are more general and relate to travel or study abroad.
If voyagers have any negative or overwhelming experiences in port they want to share or need help processing (or they just have questions), we have resources! We encourage voyagers to reach out to their Resident Directors, get involved in our structured post-port reflection activities, or schedule an appointment with one of our shipboard mental health counselors.