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Extended Family Is A Perfect Compliment On Semester At Sea

Written by: Tim Godfrey (Student)

I never thought I would be able to periodically sit down and eat dinner with my entire family throughout my Semester at Sea voyage. One of the most exciting traditions aboard the MV Explorer every trip is the Extended Family program; a program I was fortunate enough to join. The program is made up of students who wish to join a “family” consisting of a small group of fellow students coupled with one or two Life Long Learner’s (acting as a mother/father). The families then share stories while at sea of the adventures they had in port.

My family consists of Nancy Hoopes, who was traveling as a caregiver for another staff’s dependent child.  She signed up for an extended family and was my “mother” for the summer voyage.

I joined four other students as her “children” before Nancy adopted two more “sisters” in Italy. It gave us all the opportunity to become closer friends and have that family feeling we all crave while at sea. Most families would get together for a meal after port or meet and talk about what they did and what they planned to do at the next port.

So many students wanted to join the Extended Family program that even Living Learning Coordinators became “parents” in some cases, even if they were younger than some of their “children.” Semester at Sea makes a determined effort to help students make friends, meet new people and reflect on their port visits. And the Extended Family program was obviously a resounding success on the Summer 2011 voyage.

My Extended Family was a perfect compliment to the Semester at Sea experience and I hope to stay in touch with them all after we reunite with our real families.



  • Education
  • Life at Sea

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