Monday, March 10, 2014

Carolyn P - Semester at Sea - Spring 2014

Greetings from Myanmar/Burma! I am a junior participating in the program, Semester at Sea, and having the time of my life. So far, our ship --the M.V. Explorer-- has sailed to Hawaii, Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore, and here we are, leaving Burma and beginning our journey to India tomorrow! It's a crazy, hectic life but I am loving every second of it. I think I've done more in the past two months than I've done my whole life leading up to this. I'm learning a lot about myself, the world, and life in general. Actually, I'm probably finding more questions than answers. I can feel myself changing in ways I hadn't expected. I'm seeing a lot. In Vietnam, I crawled through the Cu Chi Tunnels used during the Vietnam War (or the American War, as they call it there- it's fascinating to see things from the other side). The past few days I explored Burma-- a country in transition recently and still today. It opened up to tourists only two years ago and it's going through many social and political changes. Seeing the poverty has prompted me to grapple with topics like privilege, quality of life, and my role as a global citizen. One thing that has struck me here in Burma is the general attitude toward life and tourists. The people have been so warm, positive, and enthusiastic in greeting us-- so eager to show us their country. I visited a school, several markets, and an elephant riding camp, all of which were great experiences. I'm glad that I still have about half (two months) of the program left, because I'm not ready to go home... I'm ready for more adventures! Anyway, I hope the study abroad planning process is going well for you, CPP students. I know it is a lot to pull together and sort through, but it will definitely be worth it in the end. Best of luck and hope to hear from you soon! -Carolyn


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Carolyn,

My name is Megan and I'm in CPP 250 class. I'm going to be studying in Dublin, Ireland in the fall. Do you have any recommendations for me since this will be the first time I'm going to a new country by myself? It looks like you are having a great time on your trip.

-Megan Walitschek

3:17 PM  
Blogger Ellie Anderson said...

Hi Carolyn!!

It sounds like you are having an awesome time going on all your adventures and I LOVE the picture you have posted!! I want to hear all about your elephant ride because I'm so jealous! Keep us updated on your activities!

Ellie Anderson

2:44 PM  
Blogger Darinka Pasic said...

Hi Carolyn!
I have heard about the Semester at Sea program before and I am glad to get to learn more about it from your posts. I am so envious of all the places you have visited and all you have already gotten to experience in such a short time! Hearing about your experience is making me even more excited to start my program in Dublin, Ireland. Keep us posted on your adventure!

Darinka Pasic

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Carolyn!

I'm so jealous of the adventures you have been on during your Semester at Sea! I have dreamed of going to the places you have and I'm so happy that you've had such wonderful experiences. As others have said, keep us updated on your journey and keep having fun!

Katie VanHerik

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Rebekah Schmitz said...

Hey Carolyn,

Your program sounds amazing! I'm so jealous. I'm planning on going to Chile in the fall. I will definitely be following all your adventures. I was wondering how you have experienced and how you have dealt with the culture shock?

Rebekah S.

10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Dublin, huh? Sweet! Well, I haven't been there and Semester at Sea is obviously little different than a tradional study abroad experience in that I didn't drop into a new country alone, but instead onto a ship and from there I venture out with people I have met. So it's a bit different, but my advice would be to put yourself out there and make as many friends and connections as you can. I feel like I can start a conversation with anyone now after meeting so many new people on the ship and in countries. Also, go in with an open mind and embrace the experience. Stuff may not always go exactly as planned, but it's all a learning experience. Take pictures but don't live through your camera lens. Be safe and don't be afraid to ask for help if you get lost! Happy planning! :)

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgot to sign my name!

Ellie, Darinka, & Katie - Thanks for your posts! I am super excited for you all. Wish I could come along! It's going to be great, I know it! :]
- Carolyn

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Hmmm. Culture shock. I've experienced it to a degree, but I think that going in with a good idea of the country helps a lot. Semester at Sea prepares us well before each port. My best advice is to go in without judgement. That really helps. If you go in expecting everything to be luxurious or just like it is at home, you'll undoubtedly end up frustrated. Just remember that you can adapt to anything and it's all an experience. Also, don't go into it with the mindset that it will be overly stressful. You'll be totally fine. =)


9:44 AM  
Blogger Katie Boals said...


Hi! I remember hearing about the Semester at Sea program and it sounded amazing! It's very interesting to hear of your adventures. I am studying abroad in Dublin next fall. I hope that all of your exciting adventures continue. Can't wait to keep reading about them!


7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carolyn!!! It looks like you are having an amazing time! I am super jealous because I love elephants! I am going to Ireland next semester so glad to hear all the CPP class work pays off! Can't wait to hear all about it :)
Amy Craigmile

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know the Semester at Sea program is much different than most study abroad programs, so I was wondering if you had to pick your own courses or were they pre-picked for you. If you did choose your own courses, what advice would you give to those who are planning to study abroad when it comes to picking classes to take?


3:52 PM  
Blogger Kris Willard said...

Hiya Carolyn! I can't believe that I will soon be in your shoes. The Spring 2015 Voyage will visit Myanmar/Burma in late February. I plan on going through the tunnels in Vietnam too! I'm wondering what classes you took and what the field labs were like. I'm taking Abnormal Psych, Disease, Epidemics, and Society, Global Health, and World Theatre through SAS. Any advice on study habits while aboard a hectic ship on that crazy-wonderful journey?
Thanks again, Kris :)

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to all who posted last semester! :) I apologize for never getting back to some of you. I hope that all is or was well for you abroad!

Kris, since I know you have yet to leave: I took Cultural Anthropology, History of Modern Asia, Travel Writing, and Drawing at Sea. I enjoyed my classes and field labs. We went to museums, gardens, and other sites, and each lab included a stop for some great food! My favorite field lab was the one for Travel Writing. It was in Casablanca, and we took a city tour, and then visited an author at his house. So neat! On the ship, there will most likely be a dining room designated as a quiet study area for part of the day (like before and after lunch, for example). There are always places to sit and work on things. Even in the hallways, there are little nooks where people curl up and work on homework. As far as study habits, I would just recommend setting aside some time between classes or at some point each day while at sea when you can work on things, so you don't get behind. There is always so much going on, and you don't want to miss out, so if you have a little free time, use it well! There are lectures and activities most evenings, so it is nice if you can get things done early. Good luck- you'll be fine. Have a ball! :)


3:38 PM  

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