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Semester at Sea runs in the family

Student studies
For Callaghan Coleman, Semester at Sea is a family affair

Voyaging into the unknown is par for the course when embarking with Semester at Sea. Meeting new friends, visiting unheard of destinations, and encountering different cultures is part of every student’s unique experience.

Spring 2016 Voyager Callaghan Coleman knows this better than most. The Creighton University junior is the youngest of six siblings-all of whom have voyaged with Semester at Sea.

“We have two requirements in my family. One is that you attend a college or university,” Coleman said. “The other is that you go on Semester at Sea.”

That means Coleman, a marketing and finance major, has been hearing stories about Semester at Sea since he was born. But his desire to set sail stems from more than just his siblings tales.

“Dive in. Do all that you can do and see all that you can see. Meet all of the people you wouldn’t necessarily go up and start a conversation with. Seek out the people who are unseen.”

“I don’t know if I can necessarily choose one specific story,” said Coleman, citing stories and experiences his siblings had on board with luminaries like Nelson Mandela, Saint Mother Teresa, and Fidel Castro, among others. “But I will say that why I’m interested in Semester at Sea is the change I saw in my siblings when they came home.”

Coleman noticed his brothers and sisters had a hard time reconciling what they saw abroad with the lifestyle they lived at home. The difference the youngest Coleman witnessed in his family post-voyage only reinforced the idea that one day he too would sail as a voyager.

‚ÄúEach one of them, the first major meal that we had, all of them almost broke down instantly because of the abundance of food,‚Äù Coleman said. ‚ÄúThat for me is the most powerful story and the part I‚Äôm holding onto the most.”

Cal's brother, Joey Coleman on his Spring 1994 Voyage.
Cal’s brother, Joey Coleman, on his Spring 1994 Voyage. Photo: Joey Coleman

Whether it is career choices, changes in major, or simply a better understanding of the world, every part of Coleman’s family has been touched by their time with Semester at Sea. For now, the opportunity to be exposed to lifestyles different from his own is Coleman’s¬†biggest motivating factor for voyaging on the MV World Odyssey, and¬†he is looking forward to taking that cultural experience and applying it to the rest of his time in college, and beyond.

“Creighton is a Jesuit university, so we’re all about service for others, and I think Semester at Sea is about that as well,” Coleman said. “I don’t want to get my college degree and think of it as I 100 percent just did this for myself. I want to to know how this is going to affect other people and how I’m going to set the world on fire.

Having a few siblings that have been around the world helped Coleman plan how he was going to do just that.

“The nice part about being the last one of six¬†is that I’m coming in with a little more experience than some of my fellow travelers,” Coleman said. “You always want a healthy balance between Semester at Sea trips and traveling on your own. I’m planning on, I think it’s in Ghana, there’s a school service project. I believe there’s another one in South Africa. Other than that the field programs I’m really looking forward to are the ones covering the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal‚Äîexperiences like that, my siblings said those are the ones you definitely want to go with Semester at Sea, because they really do a great job of getting you to everything you want to see.”

As far as any other advice his siblings gave him about the voyage? He says it was all about broadening his horizons.

“Dive in. Do all that you can do and see all that you can see. Meet all of the people you wouldn’t necessarily go up and start a conversation with. Seek out the people who are unseen.”

  • Life at Sea
  • Service

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