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I left thinking who I was, and came back as who I am

Indian Inter-port students Ajay and Ashok

We were inter-port students on the ship for about two weeks only, but learned so much, that it will really make a difference in our lives.

“I left thinking who I was, and came back as who I am.” This is a quote on one of the Semester at Sea T-shirts that I saw on a student when Ashok and I boarded in Mauritius. We believe that a full voyage has the ability to do that to a person.

Everything about the M.V. Explorer‚Äìthe seven-storied masterpiece–from¬†being among the fastest cruise ships, to the most helpful crew, and most of all the really diverse and amazing fellow passengers–students, faculty, staff, and Life-Long Learners, added up to us having a great time.

We were meeting around fifty new people every day! Ashok and I boarded the ship expecting to meet just students around our age, but then we met this large group of Life-Long Learners, some of whom are around seventy years old. They also attend classes and learn a lot. They asked deep questions about India. We now see that age is not a limiting factor for someone to learn.

Getting to know people who were so excited to be visiting our country, actually made us proud. We were treated like VIP’s and everyone came up to talk to us! Interacting with people in class, and teaching people the Tamil language and other Indian customs were fun!

There was no lack of activities, from the midnight card games, to the “Ultimate SAS-er” talent show. In fact, it is amazing that people are able to study on the ship with so much going on!

Our time on the ship has given us a new perspective, and an idea of what other people think about our country. It has taught us independence and people skills. I was a bit reserved before, but was meeting so many different people everyday, that I became more open, somewhat a more global citizen. Ashok says, “I found a new me, a person who is more confident and also ready to take up social responsibility.” It has become clearer that there are endless opportunities for us in this big world!

In the process, we also learned a lot about two of the most diverse countries on earth–India and the U.S.

We hosted people in our homes in Chennai, and our families had a great time with our SAS friends. Taking people around my city was really enjoyable.

The best part about our time on the ship was the people. Right from the dean, to the students, everyone was very friendly. They welcomed us into their SAS family with open arms. We have enough friends now in the U.S. that we could now go backpacking to the U.S. and not spend a single penny on hotel costs!

We have decided that for sure we will do the full voyage at some point in our lives.

The last fifteen days were the best in our lives. We just can’t thank all of you enough.


Ajay and Ashokkumar

Ajay Narayan Subramanian, a sophomore in Mechanical Engineering, attends Anna University, Chennai; and A.R.H.Ashokkumar, final year, Mechanical Engineering, attends Dr. M.G.R University, Chennai. They joined the program as inter-port students from Mauritius through the last day in India.

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  • Life on Land

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