The ‚ÄúVicarious Voyage‚Äù program is designed to connect Semester at Sea students with K-12 classrooms across the United States. I am corresponding with Mrs. Murphy‚Äôs and Mrs. Steingruebner‚Äôs 3rd grade classrooms from Baldwin, New York, a school district I am connected to through my Mother and the district‚Äôs Superintendent, Dr. Shari Camhi-Geller. I wrote my first letter to Mrs. Murphy and Mrs. Steingruebner‚Äôs classes after Japan, in which I wrote about the differences and similarities between the cities I visited, as well as the various Japanese customs I observed while in port. While in China, I had the opportunity to speak with the students on the telephone and could feel their excitement as they showered me with questions about Japanese and Chinese culture. The students‚Äô energy was infectious, and it was evident how excited they were to speak with someone half-way across the world.
During the Spring 2015 voyage, the Vicarious Voyage program will reach over 70 schools across the country and more than 1,400 K-12 students. Semester at Sea students are expected to correspond with their designated classrooms at least once after each port, however each partnership will be unique in their focus and content. The program is an exceptional opportunity for both the vicarious voyagers and the SAS voyagers themselves. While SAS students provide an engaging learning experience for K-12 students to study the world, the exchanges also allow SAS students to begin realizing the potential global impact of their journey circumnavigating the globe.
As a SAS student, I am trying to wake up every morning and remind myself that embarking on this voyage is a privilege. Part of this mindset is discovering how I can use this privilege to effect positive change both internationally as well as in my communities back at home. The Vicarious Voyage program is a perfect way for me to realize this goal, by providing a space for me to share my experiences with 3rd grade students who are just beginning to learn of the vastness and diversity that characterizes our world, and to shape my in-port travels according to what the students are most eager to learn about. For example, after Mrs. Murphy and Mrs. Steingruebner‚Äôs classes asked me about certain Japanese customs and rituals, I felt more compelled in China to be more perceptive to these cultural specificities, which helped me to connect to the culture in a way I hadn‚Äôt necessarily been connecting to before. In this sense, I believe the relationship between K-12 students and SAS students is mutually valuable, and I‚Äôm looking forward to continuing this voyage with all my new 3rd grade vicarious voyagers!