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Seamester: Caribbean Basin Voyage - 90 days

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • The Adventure

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Some of the best days of my life

This was one of the most formative and incredible experiences of my life. The 90 days I spent aboard S/Y Argo sailing around the Caribbean in the spring of 2016 were some of the best of my life. I would not have given up the time I had for anything in the world. In addition, I learned a lot, both about myself and in the Oceanography, Ship Handling, Student Leadership and the Marine Biology classes. I would like to thank Sea|mester for the opportunity to meet some of my now closest friends and see places that I had never thought I would have a chance to see.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

UNBELIEVABLE

Seamester was a life changing experience and I will never forget it. The journey I completed was Seamester's Caribbean Basin 90-day voyage. We sailed on Seamester's auxiliary sailing vessel S/Y Argo. We started at Antigua and made our way south toward Grenada. Than we started heading west to Bonaire and then eventually to Cuba. I learned everything from Marine Biology to Navigating the waters. I will miss seeing shooting stars every night and having dolphins swimming up at the bow of the vessel. I will miss my Argo family as well.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • The Adventure

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Is this real life?

Seamester was the most unique learning experience I've ever had. Not many classrooms, for example, allow you to learn the taxonomy of various marine organisms and then jump in the (warm Caribbean) water and see those organisms with your own eyes. We literally took a deep dive into the material we were learning! The combination of that kind of visual and experiential learning and being detached from reality/ off the grid is a one of a kind opportunity.

Not only do you learn marine biology, oceanography, and develop sailing and scuba diving skills, but you also learn about yourself. You push your limits, you learn what a team is, and you learn what is important and what is necessary. When you are in the middle of the ocean with 25 amazing people and the stars, you suddenly realize your Facebook doesn't matter that much.

And regardless of learning, it's hard to beat waking up on a new island every few days, knowing that you and your team got yourselves there. Its hard to beat a whole semester of ocean baths, salty hair, boom swings, waterfall swims, star gazing, hammock naps, sunsets, windsurfing, coconut drinking, and fun. And It's hard to beat adding 20 new stamps to your passport, logging 25 dives, and making 25 new lifetime friends (we just had a 5 year reunion!). All in 90 days. I will cherish my experience with Seamester always.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

I can safely say I’m a better person than I thought I could be

I was fortunate enough to be acquainted with Sea|mester through their high school community service programs and knew that it was the type of organization worth risking a semester abroad to study beyond the scope of my major. Living onboard a 112’ schooner for three months studying marine science and conducting oceanographic research doesn’t have much to do with music composition so while it was a stretch getting the credits to count towards anything, I knew this experience offered something you could never get at a traditional university.

The program offers such an amazing variety of traditional academics, practical training (from making cookies to dropping anchor), and fun that in retrospect I couldn’t imagine choosing any other program. I almost got tired of describing it to people before I left because it just sounds like the coolest experience a person can have and everybody wants to know more.

I feel more confident in my ability to lead and I’m not as afraid of misfortune, conflict, or failure. I can safely say I’m a better person than I thought I could be because of my time onboard with Sea|mester.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • The Adventure

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    7

GET A BREATHE OF FRESH (OCEAN) AIR

If you have the time and chance, definitely consider Seamester. I was on the 90-day Caribbean trip on the 112 -foot Argo (HEY OSCAR), and I have to say my time on board will definitely be one of the highlights of my life. If all you want to do is party, then please do not sign up, as you will be miserably tired and wet. However, if you actually want to get closer to the ocean rather than stay in an insulated hotel cabin, I believe Seamester is a superior option to other similar programs such as Semester at Sea (which I believe is on a cruise ship). There will definitely be times when living in close quarters with 20+ stinky people will get on your nerves, but if you grit your teeth and hold your tongue, you will find riches in friendship and the chance to behold on a daily basis a beauty that other people might only see once or twice in a lifetime (like sunsets and dolphins). Additionally, you will also get a chance to know your teachers as actual human beings and be inspired by their lives (an extra highlight for me, as my trip had incredible staff members). Just pack well, and get plenty of sleep beforehand, as God knows that when you start this program, you won't.

Basic Score Breakdown:

ADVENTURE: Full 10. Self-explanatory: what else can you describe a journey of 4,300 miles?

LIVING SPACE: 8. Bit cramped, and can be hot at times. Still, you didn't sign up for 5-star hotel accommodations, did you?

CULTURAL IMMERSION: With island skipping, unfortunately, you don't get much of a chance to really get into the native Creole culture. However, the sailing community is very tight knit, and Seamester really gives you the chance to break into that group of slightly weird, terribly sun-burned people. (I'll say it again: my favorite part of the whole trip was meeting incredible people, some of who were my teachers, some of who where fellow students).

PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION: I'd say this is the weakest part. The trip was very good, but sometimes the red-tape can be incredible, some due to complex legal problems over your head, others because of the nature of sea life. If you just keep your head down and power through however, things will be fine. Just be warned that you'll have to exercise your bull***t shoveling muscles.

HEALTH AND SAFETY: Helicopter parents, be soothed. This program is as safe as can possibly be on the sea. We observed full safety procedures at all times.

SOCIAL LIFE: A definite hit and miss at times. It mostly depends on your luck and the group you get. Some the people I was with were absolute knuckleheads and dealing with them day after day was aggravating--yet, I also met the kindest, smartest people I know on this trip. Just stay away from the former and stick to the latter.

PS: For the Caribbean trip, the list will tell you to pack wool socks. DO NOT PACK WOOL SOCKS. In fact, pack very little socks. You have been warned.