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The Value of the Private Loan

consider a loan to pay for semester at sea
Photo Credit: epSos

Studying abroad is a big enough decision, let alone deciding how to finance it. When I sailed with Semester at Sea in Spring 2007, I used some federal aid and I had a SAS work-study position. However, I was still a bit short on funding, so I chose to take out a private loan. It was a little over 4 years ago when I was trying to decide if taking out a loan was the right thing to do. Today I realize that taking out the loan to fund my voyage was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because I realize that you cannot put a monetary value on the experience I had.

Here’s why:

Multiple Ports
During SAS you can immerse yourself in multiple ports, expanded your global perspective, and explore the similarities and differences from port-to-port

Field Program
I participated in a FDP (Faculty Directed Practica) to an orphanage in Vietnam where all of the children were HIV positive or born from a mother who was HIV positive. We took the kids to an amusement park, and I remember when we went into a haunted house, my little boy got so scared, and he squeezed my hand so tight that I had to pick him up and carry him out. Once I picked him up, he smiled and didn’t want me to put him down! I did not know this boy’s name, or speak his language, yet he held my hand and smiled all day. I could not believe that I was receiving class credit for that life-changing experience.

Alumni Network
After participating in your voyage you become a member of an Alumni network of over 50,000 Semester at Sea students, Lifelong Learners, Enrichment Voyagers and alumni from our annual Forum on Global Engagement. You can improve you social networking profiles by becoming a member of SAS Alumni groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and network with Alumni in your field by connecting through our website. You can also check out a list of our current list of prominent Alumni.

Professional Advantages
Having SAS on your resume is a great conversation starter during job interviews! Employers admire commitment to a unique international experience in a program that will expand your ability to effectively communicate and appreciate working in a diverse environment.

These experiences are only a fraction of all I’ve gained from participating in Semester at Sea. The loan I took out for SAS was an investment in my future. You take out a car loan to buy a car, and a home loan to buy a house. A good car can last maybe 10 years and then you get another one, usually much sooner than that. A house can last a lifetime, but the average time people stay in their homes is 5 years. A car and a house are both important purchases but I personally believe financing my education and my SAS voyage in particular is the most valuable investment I’ve made. All I can say is I have no regrets.

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