January 7, 2017
29.08 N, 121.34 W
As I sat in my hotel room in San Diego just a few days ago, I grew more anxious yet excited about my upcoming adventure – a semester abroad. However, I will not be spending the next four months participating in a traditional study abroad experience; instead, I will be traveling with Semester at Sea. As a student in the program, I will earn college credit through Colorado State University while visiting 11 countries and 4 continents aboard a ship. As a junior in college, my “Suite Life on Deck” dreams are coming to fruition, as I will sail around the world in 105 days.
The first time I heard the phrase “Semester at Sea” was in a yearbook class during my first year at Cottey, while other students in the class were discussing their plans to travel abroad with the program. From that moment on, I was stuck on the idea of visiting multiple countries over the course of four months, rather than staying in one country for a traditional study abroad experience. I began to do research and discover the possibilities for me to spend a semester abroad with SAS.
I applied to the program a year in advance, and, ironically, I read my acceptance email while sitting in a hotel room in Berlin, Germany, after a day of touring the city. I had just finished a week in Paris with my Cottey sisters during the second-year student spring break trip. My two weeks in Europe not only prepared me for international travel, but sparked an intense desire to continue learning about the world in which I live.
As I currently sit in the library on my floating campus aboard the MV World Odyssey, I can already tell that the extensive preparation for my voyage has been well worth it. Semester at Sea is expensive; however, with the generosity, support, and financial assistance of my Cottey financial aid and scholarships awarded by the P.E.O. Sisterhood, I was able to cover the cost of my tuition for the voyage. Semester at Sea is the chance of a lifetime, and I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to participate in such an amazing program. Over the course of the next four months, I will hike the Great Wall of China, visit the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, stand in front of the looming structure of the Taj Mahal, and spend a day in a traditional Ghanaian village – just to name a few of the adventures that will occur over the next 105 days.
The night before I embarked, a close friend of mine stated that when he thought about my trip, he got “mad, then sad, then proud, then amazed, then excited, then jealous, but most of all proud.” Me, too.