On Jan. 5, nearly 600 college students from around the world set sail on the educational journey of a lifetime – a global learning expedition for a Semester at Sea. Over 105 days, participants traverse the globe, taking classes onboard while at sea, and stopping at 12 ports in 11 countries for field programs and cultural immersion experiences.
The embarkation in Ensenada, Mexico, just two hours south of San Diego, marked the first time a Semester at Sea voyage has launched from a North American port since the beginning of the program’s partnership with Colorado State University. Last semester’s maiden voyage left from Hamburg, Germany, sailing to 12 countries over 104 days before docking in San Diego on Dec. 22.
The diverse shipboard community also includes faculty, staff, crew, family members, and lifelong learners (non-traditional voyagers who participate in courses and field classes).
The 19 CSU students on the voyage are joined by 17 CSU-affiliated faculty and staff, several of whom are in prominent leadership positions. CSU Economics Professor Bob Kling is serving as academic dean while CSU’s Dean of Students Jody Donovan is Dean of Student Life for all of the students on the voyage. CSU’s registrar, Chris Seng, is the academic advisor and registrar.
“We’re teaching CSU courses, but they are ‘portified,’” said Kling. “We take courses that we would teach at CSU, and then apply them specifically to the itinerary that we are facing.”
CSU faculty, staff and alumni have also taken on a variety of academic and student support roles, including teaching courses and leading field excursions, managing the ship’s library and intranet, providing mental health counseling, and documenting the experience through social and digital media. All students are required to take a core Global Studies course, which was developed in conjunction with CSU faculty and is co-taught onboard by cultural expert Eric Aoki, a CSU communication studies professor.