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Top-Ten Tuesdays: Back to Basics

Old Town of Shanghai Photo Credit: Fall 2011 Lifelong Learner Peter Divine

As the MV Explorer sets sail from Yokohama to begin our long Pacific crossing, the Semester at Sea community has time to reflect back on the hectic and wonderful schedule of the last few ports.  We have learned many lessons, and the most surprising fact is how basic these lessons really are.

  1. Time management rocks.  With as few as two sea days between some ports, To-Do lists and study groups have never looked so good.
  2. The “F” word has never been more important.  As we were told in orientation, “flexibility” is the most important trait any Semester at Sea participant can have.
  3. Hydration is key.  Whether it is the Vietnamese heat or the rocking of the ship, nothing keeps us healthy like large amounts of water.
  4. We are just one small part of a very large and complex world.  Experiencing so many different cultures in succession gave us the unique opportunity to view ourselves in the context of a global society.
  5. Math is really important.  Dividing by the wrong exchange rate is not a fun mistake to make, and no one wants to miss on-ship time because he or she has trouble with nautical time.
  6. Mom was right.  About a lot of things actually, but particularly about the importance of sleep, fruits and vegetables, and looking both ways before crossing the street.  (Especially when continuously traveling back and forth between countries that drive on the right and the left.)
  7. There is no place like home.  Every time we venture out, we come to appreciate the homes we each came from, as well as our floating home, the MV Explorer.
  8. Following directions is essential.  Whether filling out our customs forms or taking a tender boat to shore, we have learned that systems are in place for a reason.
  9. You get more flies with honey.  It is often said that to know someone, you must first travel with him or her.  Well into our voyage now, we have all been impressed with the positive and pleasant demeanor of our shipboard community.
  10. Branching out is exciting and character-building.  Not a hiker? Take on the Great Wall.  Need to plan everything out? Jump on the first field program bus with room.  Many of our greatest adventures have come from moving beyond our comfort zones.


  • Culture
  • Education
  • Life at Sea

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