Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Next Great Adventure

Now that I've been back from Swaziland for just over a week, I'm already in knee-deep in preparing for the next adventure - Semester at Sea. So, I figured I'd write a little bit about what it is that I'm going to be doing from January to May.

Semester at Sea is a semester of fully-fledged university (sponsored by the University of Virginia), where a bunch of university students live on this boat (MV Explorer) for four months, and sail around the world. It's quite expensive, but thanks to the never-ending generosity of the Davis Foundation, I haven't even seen a price tag. I'll be taing classes every day when we're on the boat, and then I'm free to roam in the ports where we will be stopping.

For classes, I will be taking Travel Writing, Gender and Society, Systems of Inequality (a sociology course), and Global Health. I'm really, really excited for these classes! it's nice to finally be able to just take classes that I'm interested in, instead of for requirements for graduation (I'm looking at you, IB). If I were in university already, the credits would transfer, but because I'm planning on university in Europe, and the ECTS system is so different from the American system, it won't transfer. For those at American universities, though, the credits do indeed count for a semester of classes! As for me, I'm just taking it for the fun of it - my grades and credits don't count for anything. Makes for a nice, relaxing semester!

Each class meets when we're at sea, so there are no classes when we're at ports. But, three of the classes do have "field labs," which are one-day programs that we have to do in a port for the class. But, I've picked my classes so that I'm excited about the field labs, which include, in my case, a visit to a market and station for travel writing, and visits to local NGOs in Vietnam and Morocco for systems of sociology and the gender course. Should be good!

Now, as for the exciting part... the PORTS! We will be stopping in the following places:
Hilo, Hawaii,
Yokohama and Kobe, Japan
Shanghai and Hong Kong, China
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Singapore, Singapore
Rangoon, Burma
Cochin, India
Port Louis, Mauritius
Cape Town, South Africa
Walvis Bay, Namibia
Casablanca, Morocco
Southampton, UK

We usually have five or six days in each port, with a few exceptions. Once we're in the ports, other than the field labs described above, it's up to me what I want to do! Right now I have a few plans and a few open pages, but I'll leave that for another post. For now, just looking at this list makes me really excited!

And that's about it! I've been hustling around trying to do all the preparations I've supposed to been doing since October in this last month, as much of it wasn't possible when I was in Swaziland (either that, or not probable, because I had southern hemisphere exams to deal with). Anyways, now, I'm just getting ready, and slowly starting to pack again! I mean, my backpack is never really empty... I submitted my Indian visa yesterday and am waiting for that back, and I've ordered my textbooks last night! Soon enough, it will be January, and I'll be on my way!

Until then, enjoy December!

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