The Study Abroad Newsletter

An Experience of a Lifetime

Kiera Javillionar

Biology major
Semester at Sea

Group in Digital Art Museum in Japan

There is no possible way to condense the journey I went on with Semester at Sea. I’d like to think that my whole trip is memorable in itself. I have grown in so many ways through interactions I took part in on the ship, having experienced many different cultures while in- country, and facing difficulties while traveling. Although going to many different countries was exciting, the most meaningful interactions I’ve had took place on the ship. It’s amazing how impactful our community was, it was unlike any other college campus. Being able to live with the staff and faculty really changed the atmosphere of the campus. We were able to eat meals, attend ship events, and sometimes even travel with the professors. This allowed students to have a more personal relationship with the staff, something that you rarely experience at a typical university. The ship community has become my family, one that I can share experiences with that no one else will ever understand. 

Aside from all of the wonderful memories, this voyage has taught me so much. Going into it with absolutely no friends taught me how to interact and have more meaningful connections with others. Interacting with people of different backgrounds allowed me to see things from so many different perspectives. Dealing with many different opinions caused problems and helped me to learn how to get through difficult situations. Encountering countless problems helped me to realize that sometimes I just need to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and know that not everything will work out how I anticipate. And that’s okay. This voyage has taught me to be more appreciative of the things and people that I have, and most importantly, the opportunity I have to get an education. I will be forever changed by my journey on Semester at Sea and will continue to learn from every experience, good and bad.