Mandy Good - 2014 Program Participant

Sunset at the bow of a ship

Bow watch at sunset

Why did you decide to the study abroad?

I was really interested in traveling, but I had never had the opportunity to. I was in school at the University of South Florida and was super excited when I heard that Sea|mester was accredited through USF. When I applied for Sea|mester I wasn’t sure I would even get in, but when I was offered a spot on Argo I was beyond excited. It was basically a dream come true!

Why did you choose Sea|mester? 

I chose Sea|mester because it was an incredibly unique option, with wonderful reviews, and a really exciting travel itinerary. I was excited to learn how to sail and scuba dive as well. The staff onboard were so great at teaching us everything we needed to know. From scuba diving to sailing to marine biology, all of the students came onboard with different levels of experience. The Sea|mester staff were so friendly and approachable; we all became great friends!
Sea|mester students during a voyage in 2014

Family photo in the cockpit of Argo

What makes a voyage with Sea|mester so interesting? 

There are so many reasons why Sea|mester is so amazing. From living on a boat and sailing across oceans, learning how to sail and dive, having your shipmates become family, learning about multiple subjects (marine biology, oceanography, leadership, etc.) and actually getting to use the things you’ve learned, and learning to cook meals for 20 people, to getting to explore different countries and beautiful destinations you only read about in magazines; I never thought I would be able to travel the world like I did on Sea|mester. I now know that sailing the world by water is the best way to go!

What is the best thing about Sea|mester that future participants need to know? 

It will change how you view the world if you let it. It really takes you out of the box you put yourself in and teaches you about yourself, other people, and how you work in a team. I never thought I would be living aboard a sailboat with 20 strangers; before Sea|mester, I don’t think I would have thought that was possible, now anything is possible!
Riding elephants in Thailand

One of my favorite days, riding elephants in Thailand

What was your favorite part about your program?

I absolutely loved living on the water; it is such a unique experience in addition to being abroad. Sea|mester is also unique in the fact it is very team oriented, so you grow really close with your shipmates. You live in a cabin with a few others, so you get especially close with them, but you are always working together as a crew. 

Standing watch was really fun. We divided up into smaller groups and we would get to hang out one on one with each other so you start to talk about deep topics and really get to know each other. When you attend a university class, you barely know each others’ names let alone goals, biggest fears, and deepest secrets.
Students studying navigation

Laughs in the saloon while studying for our navigation exam

What's one thing you would have done differently?

I would have jumped in and done the tougher, dirty jobs from the beginning. I would have taken every challenge, because some of the work you do as a shipmate may be challenging but you won’t get to do it again once you leave. And I miss it!

Describe a day in the life of a Seamester shipmate. 

It’s hard to describe a typical day since there are so many fun excursions that change each trip. Typically though, we have classes which change each day depending on the schedule we decide on, we stand watch and maybe catch a glimpse of some dolphins, or whales, or other fun animal life. Take our showers in the ocean, play games, and then do homework or listen to music in the saloon. The day always ends with squeeze at dinner (the skipper has a question of the day and we all reflect and get to know each other better). Every day is different and that’s what I loved. You kind of know what to expect and plan for, but there are a lot of factors that can toss our plan.
Sea|mester students in Thailand

Group photo in Thailand

Now that you're home, how has your time abroad impacted your life? 

My Sea|mester experience has completely altered my future plans. Instead of simply going to grad school and staying in the States to finish my education, I will be taking a gap year to teach English in Korea and really immerse myself in another culture. Sea|mester was really my first taste of travel and it helped me broaden the horizons of where I see myself in the future.