This is a guest post by Short Term 2012 student¬†Shannon Najmabadi.¬†Shannon is studying Political Science and Media Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. She writes for the Daily Californian and has interned at multiple news organizations, including KUSI in San Diego and KTVU in Oakland. She also worked as a research apprentice on a project exploring media coverage of health issues in Latin American countries. Short Term 2012 is her first voyage with Semester at Sea.
In addition to classroom academics and exposure through travel, Semester at Sea offers yet another avenue for learning: Explorer Seminars.¬†Explorer Seminars are a chance for any member of the shipboard community to share their knowledge or experiences in a discipline.¬†According to Marvin Maldonado, a Resident Director who helped coordinate the seminars, the Explorer Seminars are ‚Äúnot necessarily academic, but educational‚Äù ‚Äì providing the opportunity for residents to learn from the vast amount of talent and acumen onboard.
On one evening, seminars were held on photography, reflective writing, sleep tips, and intercultural communication ‚Äì a nod to Semester at Sea‚Äôs tradition of diversity.
Most of the seminars are designed to relate to the voyage in some way. For example, the ‚ÄúPhotography at Sea‚Äù seminar presented by staff photographer Rafael Aguilera taught students to better capture their adventures on the trip while the “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”¬†seminar by Stephanie Pollack helped students better understand the context of the world they live within. Similarly, the ‚ÄúIntercultural Communication‚Äù seminar could facilitate more successful interactions in port cities. Additionally, some seminars are even quite practical beyond the voyage. The Dependent Child Coordinator Tom Curran drew on his experiences as a San Diego Police Officer to give a presentation about the fourth amendment and how it could apply to anyone titled “So You Think You Know Your Rights?”.
More Explorer Seminars will be held throughout the course of the voyage. Maldonado said that one of the upcoming seminars will even feature a Lifelong Learner who will share his experience flying around the world in 1984.