To the world called "Our Campus"
Marine Science major
Semester at Sea
I spent more than 100 days on a ship, the MV World Odyssey, and in 10 countries (the USA, Japan, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, South Africa, Ghana, and Morocco). Many of my unforgettable memories and experiences of Semester At Sea, which is hosted by Colorado State University, cannot be fit into a few pages of an essay.
However, let me introduce you to some of the highlights.On the first day when we left San Diego, my nervousness disappeared immediately once I found out I got the best roommate! My stories cannot go without mentioning those friends I made on the ship and in each country. Since I am from Japan, I had a chance to give a couple presentations for the shipboard community before we got to Kobe, Japan. It was a great opportunity for me not just to share my culture but also to start conversations with new people. Eventually, I even started giving Japanese language lessons throughout the rest of the “sea days” for a professor’s 11-year-old son, who was very interested in Japanese culture and wanted to participate in a homestay in the future.
Also, I signed up for the Interport Student Ambassador Program and other club activities. At certain ports, we picked up “Interport Students” who were from the upcoming port and we traveled together while learning about their countries. For instance, we had a Vietnamese girl with us from China to Vietnam. The ambassadors, like myself, helped them settle down to life on the ship by giving them a tour or having meals together. This program allowed me to get closer to the interport students on the ship and we sometimes traveled together when we stopped in their countries.
Needless to say, I had a great time at each port and every country I visited. I sometimes traveled with my friends, or alone. I was sometimes on SAS field programs (optional tours) or on field classes (trips organized by our professors). No matter where I was and who I was with, all views, scents, tastes, and sounds fascinated me. What I discovered through the voyage is that being in new environments does not give me culture shock, but instead a strange sense of satisfaction. The fact that people live in these countries and their unique histories/cultures satisfied me unconsciously.
The world we called “our campus” truly was our campus. Wherever we stopped, we spent some time, learned, and made lifelong friends. This was my Semester At Sea Spring 2017 voyage.