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Parting Words from Students as the Summer 2012 Voyage Comes to a Close

Britton Manaha and Kelsey Marasch are students on the Summer 2012 voyage. (photo by Russ Bryant)

As the Summer 2012 voyage comes to an end Britton Manaha from Florida State University and Kelsey Marasch from Ohio University will send us off with their perspectives on the voyage. They won this opportunity at the shipboard auction which raises money for the Alumni Fund. Please enjoy their parting words.

Embrace the World By Leaving Your Expectations at Home

By: Britton Manahan

Before embarking on the Summer 2012 voyage, I spoke with many of my friends about my upcoming experience. The most common question I was asked was, “what the heck is that?!” Naturally, I bragged about “vacationing” around Europe with no parents and a bunch of other college students. The last thing on my mind was the classes.

However, on the first day of our journey across the Atlantic my assumptions were quickly proven to be obnoxiously untrue. We learned that just because classes were on a ship, didn’t mean that the college credits were going to be handed out.

I thought it was going to be a cakewalk, but the classes turned out to be anything but that.

Andrew Cox from the University of Virginia

In fact many students feel that these classes have been among the most productive of their lives. The shipboard community creates an atmosphere where students are truly comfortable engaging their professors, other students, lifelong learners, and kids; we all live, eat and hang out together every day. Having this kind of relationship with professors makes the class room much more interesting and interactive; we feel comfortable asking questions and even disagreeing or debating in class.

 Professor Ed and I have a close relationship because he’s very different than my professors back at school. He has a much more friendly and relaxed approach to students. I interact with him regularly outside of the classroom.

Aanchal Suri  from Cornell University

Beyond the legitimate academic atmosphere, our time in port is what makes this experience so unique. No other program allows you to be in a hot air balloon in Turkey one week and then ride a camel across the desert the next. Experiencing so many different cultures gives a “SASer” an incredible ability to think comparatively and begin to comprehend the small world we live in.

Many of the ships students came from large schools, so the sailing campus was a shock at first. The vessel seems to shrink as the voyage goes on, but only in a positive manner. Some students first complained about the size of their cabins but those sentiments seem so ridiculous now, because of how little time is spent in there. The constant flow of activities aboard the ship keeps even the shyest of people out and active. I have experienced the busiest, and most productive, days of my life while at sea. This bundle of activity is what creates the strong and vibrant community aboard the MV Explorer. By the end of the voyage one cannot simply journey to the dining hall and back to their room without engaging in numerous conversations.

 The shipboard community has meant as much to as the countries we’ve visited, people have grown from complete strangers to lifelong friends

Nick Rutigliano for the University of Pittsburgh

As I part this ship and end this voyage I want others to know why they should join the Semester at Sea family. Personally SAS has given me a global perspective on the world that no other international program could have. While standing in the Sahara dessert among its vast and imposing dunes, I truly came to understand all that this world has to offer. Culture is no longer a definition I learn for a psychology test, but rather a living thing that I have experienced all across the Mediterranean this summer.

Semester at Sea is a life changing cultural experience. So if you are ready to change your life forever, take off your sunglasses, unplug, and join the shipboard community.

And finally, the Baltic Sea is the real winner of the Summer 2012 Sea Olympics! GO BALTIC!

About the Author Name: Britton Manahan, Hometown: Easton, MD, School: Florida State University, Major: Computer Criminology, Favorite Fruit: The Pear

A Semester at Sea That Ended Up Changing Me

By: Kelsey Marasch

As my voyage across the Atlantic and around the Mediterranean quickly comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on all that the past sixty-five days have encompassed; it is difficult to wrap my mind around it.

In less than a week I will be back home, back into a routine, trying to describe to my friends and family all the adventures that have just concluded. Not even three months have passed since I left my home to travel around the Mediterranean and in that time I have made the closest of friends, and gained more knowledge and independence than I thought possible. Leaving the MV Explorer is going to be very difficult; it’s become a second home full of memories, extended-families, stories, and love.

By traveling on my own in foreign cities I gained a great sense of empowerment and self-assurance. I found myself no longer sweating the small things, and instead facing any challenge or problem that came my way saying, ‚ÄúI‚Äôve got this, I can do this.‚Äù Despite not being able to speak or read the language, I was always able to navigate back to the MV explorer. I have gained a new respect for the word “flexible” and I have taken it to heart.

Being in a new and unfamiliar environment with people from all walks of life gave me the liberty to evaluate who I am and what I stand for without judgment from friends and family, I was able to put myself first. A widely known saying on this voyage is “this is not a semester about me”, but in a way, I feel it is. For me, Semester at Sea was about sticking my neck out and forging new friendships, sporting traditional garments that people back home would laugh at, trying a “yuck” which then became a newfound “yum”, and hopping on that train to travel across a country with new friends because I knew it was an opportunity I might not get again.

After every country I found myself beginning to grasp just how immense the world actually is and what a small part I play in it. I now appreciate some of the cultural differences that before I didn’t understand; the concept of a leisurely lunch, or bargaining and the relationship it creates, rather than just a blind exchange of money I’m used to. I have taken for granted the fact that most people, including children, speak at least some broken version of my language, while I struggle with just saying hello. Studying and traveling with Semester at Sea opened my eyes and made me appreciate all the amenities I live with on a day to day basis.

This mulit-country experience has given me the drive and desire to make my mark on the world. I will forever be changed by all I have learned both on and off this floating campus known as Semester at Sea.

About the Author Name: Kelsey Marasch, Hometown: Broadview Heights, OH, School: Ohio University, Major: Sociology

  • Life at Sea

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