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Maymester: A Voyage of Firsts

John Girard, a faculty member on Semester at Sea’s short-term voyage, chats with a student. A professor at Minot State University in North Dakota, he is teaching global business.

In so many ways, the 2011 Short-Term Semester at Sea voyage is a first: First short-term voyage. First to examine a central theme of quality of life as outlined by the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.

Launching a voyage focusing on some of the world’s most pressing problems, executive dean Rosalyn Berne welcomed the students at orientation with these challenging words.

“You have chosen to be part of a voyage called ‘Engineering a New Tomorrow,’” she said. “If you are as your applications suggest and if you are as many of the new millennium generation have purported to be, then you’re actually wanting, deeply wanting, to be part of recreating the way humans live so we can not only survive but thrive in environmentally sustainable ways.  That’s a huge undertaking, and it’s serious.”

Randy Bonfiglio, whose daughter Brenna is on the short-term Semester at Sea voyage.

Voyagers’ parents were invited onboard the MV Explorer for a bon voyage reception on Thursday, and they seemed just as excited as their children.

Randy Bonfiglio, whose daughter Brenna is on the Maymester voyage, said Brennna was captivated by Semester at Sea after hearing about it from a family friend.

“For six years, she’s been saying, ‘When I get to college, I’m going on Semester at Sea,’” he said. Brenna will also be going on the Summer ‘11 voyage, which will visit eight Mediterranean countries in 66 days.

So it seems that the short-term voyage was the perfect fit for Brenna.

Semester at Sea students watch as the MV Explorer leaves Nassau on May 20.

Now that the Maymester voyage is under way, here’s a look at it by the numbers:

Number of students: 340 (women out number men, 235 to 105)

Number of majors: 46 (ranging from engineering to linguistics to theater arts)

Most popular majors (top 10):

  • Engineering
  • Business administration
  • Political science
  • Psychology
  • Environmental studies
  • Communication arts
  • Finance
  • International studies
  • Education
  • Biological sciences

Number of faculty and staff: 62

Total participants: 474

Number of universities represented: 186

Universities that sent the most students:

  • University of Virginia, 32
  • Western Kentucky, 9
  • University of California, Berkeley, 8
  • University of Colorado at Boulder and University of North Carolina Wilmington, 6 each
  • Boston University, the Pennsylvania State University, and University of Arizona, 5 each.

University whose student traveled the farthest: Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

U.S states sending the most students (top 10):

  • California
  • Virginia
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Texas
  • Colorado
  • Kentucky
  • North Carolina
  • Maryland and Illinois (tie).

Countries represented: 17

Minority student enrollment: 23 percent

Topics
  • Education
  • Life at Sea

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