Semester at Sea has been connecting college students to the world for nearly 50 years¬†and as I reflect on my 25 years with this organization I can honestly say that this period in our history is the most exciting. Why? It’s because the challenges facing our world are presenting new opportunities for the next generation of college students to have an impact on the future. These issues are well known – poverty, access to clean water, education, climate change, sustainable energy and food systems, scarcity of natural resources, human rights, to name a few. There is no doubt these issues seem daunting, overwhelming at times, but what I see in our college students today helps me remain an optimist, inspires me, and gives me confidence that we will find solutions to these and other global challenges.
I have seen a dramatic change in the past ten years in what students are looking for in their global education with Semester at Sea. What I see today is a generation that is hungry for connection to the people in the countries we travel to, students who want to listen, learn and know how they can make a difference – what they can do to be a part of a solution to the issues they are confronted with as they travel with their fellow students and faculty.
Our service trips are full, demand for our work projects has never been higher, students are starting their own non-profits while on the voyage, and we have been asking ourselves how we can better equip our students to return home ready to apply their global perspective as they seek to make a difference in their local communities, in their work and around the world.
That’s why we are hosting Unreasonable at Sea during the Spring 2013 voyage. We are bringing 26 entrepreneurs from around the world, who are actively looking to scale their solution to some of the world‚Äôs biggest challenges, as they sail with our students and faculty. Students will learn alongside these entrepreneurs as well as the participating mentors driven by the belief that ships can carry more than cargo, they can carry ideas. And when people from around the world come together for 105 days, in a living learning community like no other, the impact on the lives of those involved and in the countries visited will be transformative.
Our mission is “To educate students with the global understanding necessary to address the challenges of our interdependent world”. In my next post I will talk about how that mission drives our approach to global education and developing a global perspective.