GoAbroad Interview

Morgan Ganoe - Territory Manager

Morgan earned her Bachelors in both American Studies and Sociology followed by a Masters of Education in Student Affairs Practice in Higher Education from the University of Virginia. While earning her undergraduate degree she had the chance to participate in a Summer Voyage with Semester at Sea. Following graduation, she served as a College Adviser in south-side Virginia through the Virginia College Advising Corp, a partnership between AmeriCorps and the University of Virginia. During that time, she also coached junior varsity volleyball at Tunstall High School. During her Master program she worked with the Institute for Shipboard Education and after completing her degree she was offered a permanent job with Semester at Sea. She is currently Territory Manager for a region that encompasses seven states and the District of Columbia.

Djoser's Step Pyramid at Saqqara, Egypt.
Djoser's Step Pyramid at Saqqara, Egypt.

How did you get involved with Semester at Sea?

As an undergraduate, I sailed on the Summer 2009 voyage with Semester at Sea. My experience with Semester at Sea was absolutely incredible, and I wanted to pursue a career that would allow me to promote education abroad as a result. While working toward my master's degree at the University of Virginia, I had the fortunate opportunity to complete my internship with the Institute for Shipboard Education, the parent organization of Semester at Sea. Upon graduation, I was offered a full-time position at the Institute for Shipboard Education. Now, I am now the Territory Manager for the northeast region, which encompasses seven states and the District of Columbia!

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

The most fulfilling aspect of my job is meeting and talking to the students at study abroad fairs or while tabling on/off campus. I enjoy their excitement about the possibility to study abroad and visit a foreign country. Particularly, I love when students read our table banner, their mouths drop open, and they make a beeline to our table to learn more.

What is the most interesting thing about Semester at Sea Programs?

I think the most interesting thing about Semester at Sea is that it truly offers a quintessential living-learning community. Not only are you sailing with hundreds of other college students, you are sailing with your faculty, staff, lifelong learners, and special guests. As a "Double Hoo" from the University of Virginia, the Jeffersonian ideal to experience a living-learning community as being integral to your undergraduate education has been ingrained in me for years now. My experience traveling with Semester at Sea was my opportunity to experience a living-learning community, which I feel is invaluable.

What do you feel is the most beneficial component of your programs?

Semester at Sea is unlike any other study abroad opportunity. Not only do students get to participate on a voyage like thousands have before us for the last 50 years, students get to see multiple countries and cities within those countries. This unique global comparative education allows our students to engage with the people and cultures from developed to developing countries. In our increasingly globalized world, this unique experience sets our alumni apart from their peers when it comes to future opportunities, such as job applications/interviews, graduate admission, and so forth.

What characteristics do you look for in potential participants?

We like to employ a holistic review of all of our applicants. At a minimum, we like to see that students are enrolled full-time in a college or university, have completed at least one full term at the postsecondary level, demonstrate at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA, and be in good academic standing. We have their school’s judicial affairs office complete a disciplinary clearance form at time of application, and lastly, demonstrate their writing skills in a short essay. With these requirements in mind, we still encourage students who do not meet these requirements to apply as we understand that life treats people differently and some cases are worthy of exception. We are also looking for students who express a true desire to become citizens of the world and hope to gain a more global perspective.

What important advice should participants know about your program prior to departure?

My best piece of advice is to approach the voyage without expectations. It's okay if you do not know anyone else going on the trip because most of your peers will be in the same situation. Talk to as many locals as possible because those are the stories you'll remember. Prioritize what is most important to you when in port because you will want to do more things than what you can feasibly accomplish. Have a good mix of SAS field programs and your own trips so you can expand your comfort zone. AND don't forget, the shipboard community will be your first port of call with possibly 700+ students from all over the US and abroad!