The Study Abroad Newsletter

Worthwhile Time at Sea!

Rachel Cabanalla
Semester at Sea, Worldwide

Rachel Cabanalla jumping on top of the Great Wall of China My Fall 2010 semester was and will always be the most amazing time of my life. I never thought that I would really be able to study abroad because of financial issues, but being given a scholarship from UH Hilo so that I was able to travel the world on a ship to 11 different countries was way beyond what I could have ever imagined as part of my college years. I gained so many unique and unforgettable experiences, I met the most genuine and kind people, I opened my eyes and my heart to see so much I never thought I ever would. I immersed myself in a lot of volunteer work, which always were the most rewarding parts about being in the countries.

Rachel Cabanalla and a friend on a boat in southeast Asia

During my semester at sea I not only learned about the world, but I also learned a lot about myself. I realized there are a lot of things in life that we take for granted and I saw people who have absolutely nothing realize that the most important things in life are health, family, and a positive spirit. I think studying abroad is an amazing experience, but being able to literally go around the world is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will be forever grateful for.

Rachel in front of a mountain peak Being on a ship where the ages of passengers ranged from 6 months to 90 years old really made a remarkable community. I got advice and mentoring from people that have done things I always dreamed of and that could show me what I need to do in order to make those dreams come true. One of these people was Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was basically our mascot for the semester. He gave the most incredible speeches that always made me feel a sense of hope and drive to make the world a better place. There are so many different aspects of Semester at Sea that really make it the best study abroad option. I am forever grateful for that experience and will remember all the places, people, and things that I encountered!