Around the World in 105 Days
19 April 2017
“I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.”
Mary Anne Radmacher
Over the past 105 days, I have traveled to 12 countries, stepped foot on 4 continents, and sailed 23,550 nautical miles around the world. Before traveling with Semester at Sea, I had been told that I would come back home a different person, and that SAS would change my life. At the time, I brushed it off, as people often say that most new or big experiences will be “life changing.” Then, I went on the expedition of a lifetime.
In addition to my tourist adventures of skydiving and camel trekking, I was given a number of opportunities to interact with students of all ages – from young children at an orphanage in India to undergraduate students in Morocco. As an English major, I have spent a lot of time thinking about my future career interests and possibilities. However, during my stay at a nomad camp in the Zagora Desert, there was a defining moment when I recognized that I have a passion for international education. While stargazing with a few Semester at Sea students, one of the men who worked at the Berber camp approached us, and we quickly fell into conversation with Mohammad. When we asked about his formal education, as he spoke four languages fluently, his response shocked us all, as he explained, “I didn’t go to school. There is no school in the desert.”
In the United States, our education is often taken for granted. Many Americans are unaware of, or choose to ignore, the strong privilege we have when it comes to education – especially women. Throughout my travels, I learned about how girls and young women drop out of school sooner than boys, primarily due to household responsibilities and/or the lack of value for a young girl’s education. Like Mohammad, a large number of people across the world do not have the chance to get a basic education, and that opportunity is even smaller for girls.
As a Cottey student and a P.E.O., the importance of women’s education is constantly being emphasized both inside and outside of the classroom. Because of the strong focus that has been placed on women’s education in my life, I was led to have a direct interest in the education of girls as I voyaged around the world. If the opportunities for Mohammad to gain a formal education were so small, I can only imagine the impossibility for many girls in Moroccan deserts to become educated, let alone in other countries worldwide. Through my fortunate experiences at Cottey, the P.E.O. Sisterhood, and Semester at Sea, I realized my passion for international education; although I didn’t always have a strong interest in education. In fact, six months ago, I never would have considered a future career in education. However, after my voyage, that has changed. I have gained a strong interest in teaching English abroad and a focus on the importance of education – specifically in more rural areas where there is not a strong emphasis on girls’ education. The opportunity I was given with Semester at Sea enabled me to grow in knowledge and experiences directly related to women’s roles, women’s education, and women’s opportunities across the globe.
Prior to my voyage – and even midway through – I would never have believed that I would be interested in pursuing a future in education. However, due to my Cottey education, its emphasis on global awareness and women’s education, and the opportunity granted to me to study abroad, I want to continue the P.E.O. vision of celebrating, educating, and motivating women across the world.