Semester at sea: Thoughts?

I’ve been hearing about this program. Looks sorta interesting. Is this program worth it or just a fun thing for affluent students and nothing more ( kind of the vibe I got from looking online). Any insight from students or even parents would be appreciated.

About 10 years ago I talked for a while with someone at a social event who had done Semester At Sea. She said that there were definitely some rich kids for whom this was just one big party, but she said there were plenty of other kids on the ship too who were there for the education. She said this was an absolutely amazing experience for her, and she learned so much about different parts of the world.

Hopefully someone with more direct and recent experience will answer too.

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My daughter has 2 friends who did SAS. Definitely many uber-rich kids and a few “regular” kids. Both had the time of their life and no regrets about doing it.

Not all colleges will accept SAS as a valid form of college credit, so check that first unless you’re ok with your kid taking a semester off to travel the world with no college credit.


Friend from college did it and considers it one of his greatest life experiences - and not a rich kid.

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Way back when, I had friends who had done this as well as a friend who was a prof on the boat (respite from research and non-tenured teaching at 2 ivies). I think they all found it fun and educational.

Fwiw, I think the non-academic elements of off campus study are every bit as important for most students as the academic ones. For many, it’s a chance to broaden their social network, experience a different kind of living (for many, not just abroad but perhaps urban), and see a different environment. Most programs are also structured to leave time for that.

I guess what I am saying is that if this is the one calling out to your kid, I wouldn’t obsess too much about it.

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It has a reputation for being a months long party cruise. If that’s your thing, go for it. It is not academically rigorous.

You might want to look into this 4 week program with the Sea Education Association. SEA Semester Summer Programs for High School Students | SEA Semester

This is NOT a party cruise. It’s marine research. For many of the participants, it sparks an interest that becomes a career in science.

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