Wednesday, April 30, 2014

All Aboard: The Voyage of a Lifetime

Every semester, the Ashland University Global Education Office sends student abroad to different locations around the world to expand their educational horizons.  This semester 10 students took advantage of these opportunities. However, one student chose to explore the foreign in a way that can only be described as unique.

Sarah O'Connell, a junior, has spent the past 4 months traveling the world aboard the Semester at Sea Ship connected to the University of Virginia.

"This entire experience has been indescribably fantastic," she says.  "I've met people, made connections, done service trips, and ate great food.  Some of my greatest experiences are recorded in my blog, Sarah at Sea 2014."

Sarah took advantage of this opportunity because she has always wanted to travel abroad but was never able to decide where she wanted to go.  So when she learned about the Semester at Sea program she was completely sold on the idea.

"The idea of adventure and circumnavigating the globe while taking classes on a ship sounded so enticing," she says.  "Not only that, but we would also travel through 14 different countries and 3 different oceans."

When the ship docks on land, Sarah travels even more by visiting those countries and cities.  Visiting all of these countries has broadened Sarah's mind so that she can be more aware of world issues from being immersed in different cultures.  Some of Sarah's adventures listed in her blog include: The Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and camping in Africa and exploring the African Safari.

But even with all of these once in a lifetime experiences, it has not distracted Sarah from the main focus of this trip:  school.

"Every day we have classes, programs, lectures, and clubs that run on the ship.  We also have two cafeterias, a gym, and a pool."  Sarah adds, "All of that, with the added bonus, of doing all of this on a traveling ship."

The courses that Sarah is taking combine with global travel to offer her a unique load of classes that cannot be taken anywhere else.

"I'm taking: Intro to Anthropology, Oceanography, Theories of International Relations, and Acting," Sara says.  "All courses require field journals that have to do with the subject and are added to our grades.  I knew I would be better acquainted with the cultures while taking these courses because they are applicable to me as I travel the world."

Even though there were times that Sarah missed home, had troubles adapting to the customs of foreign cultures, and struggled with balancing her studies and travels, she claims that she would definitely recommend this program to anyone.

"Beyond a doubt this has been the most amazing experience I've ever had," Sarah said.

For more information about how you can study abroad like Sarah contact the Ashland University Global Education Office in 100 Founders Hall or e-mail us at  Be sure to check out the Ashland Abroad Office site for a list of all our programs and opportunities.

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