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Point Of View: Setting off on a semester at sea

The author is a graduate of Shenendahowa High School who lives in Clifton Park. She will be writing more articles about her semester at sea. Look for them in upcoming issues of The Spotlight.

I was about to go into my second year of school at a local community college when a poster caught my eye. It was a picture of a ship on the ocean with the words Study Abroad With a Semester At Sea printed across it in bold letters. I took down the Web site information, and within a week I found myself looking up the information.

I learned that it's a college campus on a ship that can house up to 700 students from all over the world. At each port there are opportunities to go and see each country on the itinerary, although participants travel at their own expense. In South Africa, you can travel to the top of Table Mountain, go on a safari or learn more about the history of the area by visiting Robben Island and District Six. At almost every port there's an opportunity to go on a service visit, which is staying at a college or a house to see how people in that community live and learn new customs and traditions.

Students sleep in cabins, two to four to a room. On one of the decks there are eight classrooms.

Many classes only have two exams " a midterm and a final. The rest of the grade is based on journal entries written while at port since there are only classes while you are sailing. On the ship, students are mandated to take 12 to 15 credits, including a global studies coarse that introduces the ideas and customs of the next destination on the itinerary. The ship offers many different courses, including business, music and religion.

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