SEA Semester at Woods Hole
SEA Semester at Woods Hole Programs
Get the chance to study three-quarters of the world in only one semester. The oceans make up more than 70% of our planet, but we know more about the outer space than we know...
Who We Are Sea Education Association (SEA) is an internationally recognized leader in undergraduate ocean education. For nearly 45 years and over one million nautical miles...
This interdisciplinary program combines insights from the natural and social sciences in order to deepen students' awareness of and appreciation for the ocean. By engaging...
Journey to "Underwater Eden"... Sail throughout one of the last coral wildernesses on Earth in order to preserve its future. Join a limited group of students alongside world-renowned...
Contribute to professional efforts to protect the Sargasso Sea by participating in a real-world, real-time research related to conservation efforts and biodiversity. Students...
Connect the dots... Trace the lasting effects of past human impacts on the present. Examine historic texts on shore in Woods Hole, Massachusetts to help shape your understanding...
SEA Semester: Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures & Ecosystems (Humanities/Social Sciences)
The oceans have been making significant contributions to the shaping of cultures from the beginning of times. Experience paradise through a comparative environmental studies...
SEA Semester at Woods Hole Reviews
Can 171 and others...
Submitted by Sal - Valley Center | February 28, 2015
The most amazing, life changing program that is possible. I loved it so much I found a way to work there for 3 more trips. No better way to see the world and the ocean, all while conducting real science for real college credit and seeing new placed That you got to in an environmentally responsible way. An amazing program with amazing successes.
Understand what you're getting into
Submitted by Andres - Undisclosed | September 26, 2014
Understand what you're getting into, that's all. As an English major, I went to SEA because I had read Moby-Dick, and wanted to try my hand at sailing a tall-ship. The down-side is that, because you are conducting a ton of science research, preparing presentations, and doing a wide variety of tasks such as cleaning, cooking, etc., you really have absolutely no time to sit on the mast and think, or memorize the constellations, or play your guitar on deck (all of these things I attempted to do, and gave up on by the middle of the second week). The tiny amount of free time you do have left is dedicated to sleeping, because you end up exhausted at the end of every watch. All this, of course, not counting the random drills that wake you up in the middle of a nap, or the fact that the captain wants everyone on deck at 1 pm to hear a report on the ship's status. In sum, then, just don't expect free time, time to think, time to play, or even much time to tranquilly spend time with your shipmates. You will be worked like a dog, and you should expect that.
That being said... the experience of being on ship, hauling at lines, working in the galley, spending time in the engineering room, is incredible. My favorite moments on the ship were when I got to be lookout at 3 am, and could stand on the prow, looking out at more stars than I'd ever seen before in my life, listening to the ocean lapping up against and beneath the ship. The manual labor is actually incredibly fun: by the end of the ship, your hands calloused, your muscles twice the size than when you started, you feel wonderful. I developed a gargantuan appetite, got sunburned, and got addicted to the sea and the wind and the emptiness. I honestly do wish I had had more time to spend with my shipmates, many of whom it became practically impossible to talk to once the ship got underway (what with the difference in work schedules, etc.), and I wish I'd had more leisure time (which I think is actually important, to get the ship in a good mood, which in turn helps the crew coordinate better), but I loved the experience of being in the middle of the North Pacific, and think this program is well worth while (even if you're a humanities major).
This program is wonderful
Submitted by Matthew L. - Undisclosed | September 26, 2014
Andres seems to have nailed it down; this program is wonderful and you will love it but you will not have much freedom (the classic collegiate concept). I came into the program as a Marine Biology major and an English major and I was wholly impressed with our Maritime Literature and History class but was somewhat disappointed by the Oceanography class. My reasons: We all had a basis in English, we could all read, etc., so we could proceed naturally with the Literature and History of the sea. Some people have no idea about how a discussion works (science majors) but what's new? Not everyone has a background in science, or marine science for that matter so you start from the beginning. This is awful for marine science majors because you are literally thrown back into introductory science (it's boring), but completely necessary for those who have not been exposed. On land at Woods Hole was fun, I loved the little houses and found time to play backgammon for money (something everyone should take up). Let's take a look at the other half of the program.
Being on a tall-ship was f-ing incredible and I loved sailing and I learned a lot because I was forced to, often times in the wee hours of the morn. This is good. You are put into uncomfortable situations which force you to work as a team and get things done. The scientific equipment was crazy awesome and expensive, I felt like I was supposed to be on the Discovery Channel. Problem #1: We were very much shuttled into our research projects, there is relatively little freedom in choosing a project (this is good for non-scientists and bad for scientists). Problem #2: There is no free time and little sleep time which makes for grumpy, highly stressed shipmates. Problem #3: I did not agree with the educational philosophies of both the captain and the chief scientist. Both talented and nice people, to be sure, but there logic seemed off (i.e. fun and work cannot mix).
Solutions: Keep an open mind and bring some sarcasm, it helps. Don't worry about sea-sickness. After a day and half of it you simply don't have time to be sick anymore and you will get over it. Don't lean on the gimbled tables, the paid-crew will not look at you kindly. Do not enter the Zona de Muerte.
Bonus Bombs: The watch meetings are fun at first and then frightening once you learn that the crew is actually keeping track of emotional stability of the folks on board. Your project will get done. A bunk in the foc'sil is the best - it's huge, you have no control over bunk selection, sucker. Most people enjoy silly songs about balloons. Don't hit anyone. The captain does have a sense of humor, you just have to keep poking until you find it. The dutch do not know how to sail.
Hands-on Learning With A Taste Of Salt!
Submitted by Kaitlin S. - St. Lawrence University | September 26, 2014
Living on a sailboat for two months really puts things into perspectives. Taking away the comforts of space and privacy is a great learning experience in itself. Ship life is an awesome skill to learn. Team building and cooperation is key.
Highly recommend it for anyone looking for hands-on learning outside the classroom!
Best Time Of My Life
Submitted by Leah - Middlebury College | September 25, 2014
I decided to go on SEA after seeing a view book in my school's library and it was the best choice I have made yet! SEA was challenging in so many ways, but it was also exhilarating and life changing. Looking back on it, I am amazed at how much my confidence and problem solving skills improved over the short (8 week) program. I never thought about studying at sea, especially on a tall ship, but this program was probably the best learning and social experience of my entire college career. The crew and professors were amazing and the bonds I formed with my shipmates will last forever. In my mind, this is the best study abroad program available.