Spotlight on Semester at Sea

Permission to Board for a Semester At Sea!

semester at sea

Semester at Sea is a multiple country study abroad program. Since 1963, it has been offering opportunity to students of all majors. The University of Virginia is the program’s academic sponsor, although students from 250 – 300 colleges from all over the world participate each year. The program emphasizes comparative academic examination, hands-on field experiences, and meaningful engagement in the global community. Students from all majors can participate as Semester at Sea offers coursework from 20-25 disciplines. A wide variety of course work is integrated with relevant field studies and credits earned are transferable to the participant’s home college.



Semester at Sea goes to six different continents: North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. In between stops, they study and prepare for their next adventure. At each location, students get to fully immerse themselves in the culture and activities of the region. They visit significant historical, cultural and political sites as well as natural and manmade wonders like the Great Wall of China, Taj Mahal, Great Pyramids of Giza, Angkor Wat and more. Natural history comes to life on the Galapagos Islands and the Praia Do Forte Marine Turtle Research and Preservation Project.

Faculty and Staff

semester at sea 2

Semester at Sea would not be possible without a team of 26-30 educators that love to innovate, stimulate and provide a flexible and diverse global education. Courses occur on board ship and then there are practical exercises and additional learning opportunities out in the world and predetermined field labs. Each voyage has a completely different faculty than the one before. In addition to the educators, each as an assistant staff member to provide extra support.

Housing and Hosting



While on location, students can explore the regions through community exploration and home stays. Carefully vetted homes, families and individual share their homes and culture with the students, demonstrating their life style, culture, celebrations and traditions during their stay. They get first-hand interaction with business professionals in their majors, professors, area college students, writers and artists. Past remarkable interaction opportunities include visits with Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The students also give back by participating in Habitat for Humanity, Operation Hunger, Dalit Village Work Project, Missionaries of Charity and Calabar Favela. This gives them the real world opportunity to converse and work with local individuals and leaders to gain an appreciation for a different way of life.

The Ship


The MV Explorer was built in 2002. It is 590 feet long with seven decks, weighs 25,000 tons and has a maximum capacity of 836 passengers. The cabins and staterooms are well-maintained and offer plenty of space for living and learning while on board. In addition, the ship has nine classrooms, a computer lab and 9,000 volume library. Students also have access to UVA’s online resources and a computer lab. Everyone on board stays connected with internet communications, the latest technology and an on-board IT staff to keep it all up and running.

Semester at Sea offers an opportunity of a lifetime with the comforts of home with the excitement and wonder of traveling abroad.  It is a great introduction to fields of global study and to prepare a scholar to navigate the global stage regardless of their career choice.

Find more info on Semester at Sea here

Post by Nathalie Baudet


  1. bryanknutson · November 29, 2014

    Terribly cool concept! I’d probably get seasick!


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