Field Programs

With your spirit of discovery and safety in mind, Semester at Sea Field Programs maximize your resources while providing unique insights, grand adventures and a lifetime of memories!

“The homestay was the one part of the entire program that really opened my eyes, heart, and mind to understanding a new way of life that I would have never gained on another program. I wasn't sure what to expect from a homestay and this completely changed my outlook on SAS and life.”

-SP17 Student Voyager

What are Field Programs?

Outside of required Field Classes, voyagers have the option of participating in Semester at Sea-designed experiences (Field Programs!) or to independently arrange their own travel experiences. Field Programs are co-curricular in-country experiences built on strong relationships with local partners. While prioritizing safety, Field Programs generate awareness, build deeper understanding and facilitate meaningful action in five key areas:

  1. Environmental Stewardship
  2. Community & Family Engagement
  3. Social Equity & Access
  4. Pathways to the Past (history)
  5. Human Expression & the Arts

Why Field Programs?

The benefits of letting Semester at Sea do the planning for you:

  • Make the most efficient use of your resources.
  • Participate in responsible & sustainable tourism.
  • Gain access to experiences you cannot create on your own.
  • “Be here now.” Stay engaged in the present without worrying about planning what’s next.
  • Have peace of mind: safety is always our top priority. And, if there is an itinerary change or delay, Semester at Sea does all the rescheduling work.
  • Your new best friends await.

Lean in! Programs marked with this logo represent our most meaningful and unique experiences that invite you to engage deeply and take action. (These are the ones you don’t want to miss!)

Global Studies Field Program - 1 included in program fees!

All student voyagers are required to participate in the Global Studies core course. To enhance the intercultural learning within the Global Studies course, each student is required to participate in at least one “Global Studies Credit Eligible” Field Program. This serves as the field component of Global Studies.

Students select one program (among the programs indicated “Global Studies Credit Eligible” — look for the compass icon!) that appeals to their interests and works with their schedules. This one program is included in voyage program fees.  Students register for their one GSCE program through the same process that they use to register for their other Field Programs.

Money and Finances

  • Field Program fees are not included in voyage tuition, with the exception of the one Global Studies Credit Eligible Program per student.
  • All students are required to be on a required Field Class or Field Program in Hawaii and Mauritius (no independent travel is allowed.) These one-day stops are essentially refueling stops and not traditional SAS ports of call.
  • Those students receiving additional financial aid or scholarship funds in excess of their program fees may choose to use these funds to defer the cost of Field Program registration. If students wish to utilize this option, they must gain approval from the SAS Financial Aid office (financialaid@isevoyages.org).
  • During the first two weeks of the registration period, there is a grace period where participants can cancel and change programs without payment or penalty. After this grace period is over, payment is due at the time of registration and cancellation policies apply.
  • See more specifics about financial policies in the voyage-specific in-country Field Programs pages.

Timeline & Registration

  • Every semester the Field Office works to refresh, update and finalize a catalog of ~200 Field Programs!
  • Programs are usually live for browsing ~1 month before registration opens. To get a feel for common program offerings, browse past voyage catalogs.
  • Field Program registration opens in mid-June for Fall voyages and mid-October for Spring voyages.
  • Students select their GSCE program one week prior to the open-registration period.
  • Registration takes place through the online portal before embarkation. Once on the ship, all registrations take place in person at the on-ship Field Office.
  • Specific registration instructions are posted in the voyage-specific pages and emailed to all voyagers ahead of time.
  • Some programs will sell-out the first-day registration opens while others will remain open for many months. Voyagers should prioritize their must-see/must-do experiences and register for those first.
  • Registration deadlines vary by program and by port and are announced in the voyage-specific pages.

Health and Safety

  • Participant health and safety is the number one priority; every decision is made through this lens.
  • All Field Programs have at least one Faculty or Staff member serving as a liaison with the ship and local partners.
  • All Field Programs are developed in conjunction with and facilitated by contracted local partners– many of whom have been working with Semester at Sea for 10+ years!
  • Local guides who speak English and the local language accompany every program.
  • Clean drinking water is provided. Included meals always aim to both represent traditional cuisine while prioritizing participant health.
  • While every effort is made to reduce and mitigate risk, there are inherent risks in international travel. Every participant (and their family) should personally do their research, know and understand the risks, and choose programs accordingly.

Where do I see voyage-specific Field Program offerings?

  • Every semester the Field Office works to refresh, update and finalize a catalog of ~200 Field Programs!
  • Programs are usually live for browsing ~1 month before registration opens. To get a feel for common program offerings, browse past voyage catalogs.
  • To see program offerings: Click Voyages –> Select Voyage –> In-Country Field Programs (orange sub-navigation)