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Getting Real on the MV Explorer



A student group holding a meeting on the pool deck of the MV Explorer


By: Alanah Rodriguez, Communications Team Work-Study Student


Picture this: you’re a college student. You’re sitting in class, staring at the whiteboard in front of you occasionally dozing off to the drone of your professor. You wake up and maybe wipe that drool that’s accumulated off your face. Then, you sit up nice and straight, force your eyes open really, REALLY wide in an attempt to get with the program and maybe learn something for the day.

Maybe you were up studying late the night before. Perhaps you were trying to cram in some last minute homework or read a few more chapters in our textbooks. But for whatever reason, the ‘learning’ aspect of the day is taking a back seat. You’ll catch up tomorrow.

Now picture this: You’re sitting in class, staring at the whiteboard but then you look to your left. You see the ocean through the full-length windows and feel the floor beneath you gently rocking back and forth.  You look back up and your history professor is telling you that you’re on your way to India. He’s teaching the class about Hindu culture. He reminds you that in a few short days, you will step on Indian soil and see for yourself what he’s describing.

That is what Semester At Sea is all about – integrating college courses with field experience in a matter of days. I never imagined being able to step out of the classroom into a world I was just learning about but the MV Explorer does that for students in 111 amazing days.

We step into a new culture every time we dock. This week it’s Chennai, India next week it’s Penang, Malaysia and the week after that, another exciting country we have the opportunity to explore.

The excursions on land enhance the lessons in ways that aren’t available to college students of traditional programs.  The experience along with the lesson is here to open our eyes to what lies beyond our textbooks.

On land campuses, professors are limited in the kinds of examples they can provide. The faculty of the floating university literally has the world at their disposal.

“We are being prepared for immediate, real-world results as opposed to things we ‘may encounter’,” says Drew Born, a junior on the MV Explorer.

What Born says is true. Reading about how Moroccan soil is supposed to feel is entirely different than feeling it in the palm of your hand and watching a family in Ghana on TV is entirely different than living with that same family in a home-stay for a couple of days.

‚ÄúI can‚Äôt think of a subject that wouldn’t have a practical implication on this trip,‚Äù says Junior Darcy Hauslik.¬† ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs something you have to do and experience. You can read about it all day long but you don’t know what it‚Äòs like until you live it.‚Äù

The experiences we are given as students have the impact of a lifetime. The memory of this journey, which brought our classroom lessons to life, will be with us forever.  The world is our campus, and what better way to celebrate this SAS motto then to go out and explore every corner of it.

  • Culture
  • Education
  • Life on Land

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