A proud cornerstone of the Semester at Sea program is its promotion of cultural immersion in each country that allows students to experience the world in a global comparative context. ISE intends for students to walk away from their voyage with a deeper understanding of some of the most pressing global issues having closely interacted with a variety of cultures around the world.
Semester at Sea‚Äôs IMPACT program helps foster experiential learning through in-country trips that allow students to engage in grassroots efforts that positively impact local communities. The Institute‚Äôs field office carefully selects and plans trips with various non-governmental organizations each voyage that aim to give students exclusive cultural interactions through service and/or homestay opportunities.
‚ÄúSemester at Sea has a long history of doing service trips, but we started calling these trips IMPACT opportunities in 2013 in celebration of our program‚Äôs 50 years of impact activities,‚Äù says ISE‚Äôs international field program coordinator Nancy Berry. ‚ÄúThese trips are not ‚Äòservice visits‚Äô or ‚Äòpoverty tourism‚Äô; rather, we set up our programs to feature cultural exchanges and side-by-side volunteering to mutually benefit both our students and the local communities.‚Äù
The Fall 2015 voyage offers many enriching trips to give students the opportunity to be a part of global impact initiatives in Italy, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Morocco, Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, and Costa Rica. One such opportunity is an overnight service and homestay with Amizade in Trinidad, an organization whose executive director Brandon Blache-Cohen was inspired by his experiences with Semester at Sea to work with this international non-profit. Participants will work alongside local women in one of the most remote areas of Trinidad and learn about their efforts to create jobs for women in the area. Students will also learn local practices and traditions and explore the rural land around them, including waterfall hiking.
Several alumni were inspired by their Semester at Sea IMPACT trip experiences and have started their own organizations, like Adam Braun‚Äôs Pencils of Promise and Ben Justus‚Äô EGBOK foundation in Cambodia. Semester at Sea has also collaborated with organizations like Global Grins and One World Futbol over the years to allow students to be a part of their global missions.
Spring 2015 voyager Ana Filipovic recently participated in the Temples & EGBOK IMPACT trip where she was able to learn about the country of Cambodia in greater depth because of her personal interactions. ‚ÄúI learned about Cambodia‚Äôs culture, history, and current economic and social issues,‚Äù she says. ‚ÄúSemester at Sea should have more trips like this one. IMPACT trips show a completely different side of the country, culture, and the people we meet.‚Äù
IMPACT trips for the Fall 2015 voyage are now on sale, with early booking closing September 3, 2015. Read about past IMPACT testimonials from students and IMPACT Service Scholars in the links below and be inspired to make a difference on your upcoming voyage!