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University of Virginia Is New Home for 'Semester at Sea'

I'm Faith Lapidus with the VOA Special English Education Report.

Three times each year, the Semester at Sea program takes more than six hundred college students sailing around the world. Since nineteen sixty-three, almost forty thousand students have taken part.

The University of Pittsburgh, in Pennsylvania, has organized the program since nineteen eighty. Last month, the Institute for Shipboard Education announced that Semester at Sea will soon have a new home: the University of Virginia.

Virginia will take control of the program beginning this summer. University President John Casteen says it will help the school increase its international activities for students.

The Semester at Sea program takes place on a ship named the M.V. Explorer. Students and professors live and work on the Explorer. Classes are held each day that the ship is at sea.

The ship is really a floating university. It has classrooms, a library and a computer laboratory with wireless Internet. It also has a student center, a store, two dining rooms, a swimming pool and an exercise center. And the ship has two hundred crew members.

Most of the students in the program are from the United States. But students have also come from other countries around the world.

Each student must take at least four classes during the one hundred day semester on the ship. On shorter summer trips, students must take at least three classes.

In one required class, students learn about the places they will be visiting. Students have traveled to sixty countries over the years. Recent stops have included Venezuela, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya, India, Burma, Vietnam, China and Japan.

When the ship is in port, students take part in field activities organized by the teachers. In the past, students have stayed with local families, visited universities and traveled to places of historic interest.

The cost is about sixteen thousand dollars for the one hundred day semester. The cost for a sixty-five day summer trip is almost ten thousand dollars. Officials say financial aid is offered.

For more details, you can visit the Semester at Sea Web site: semesteratsea dot com.

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. Internet users can read and listen to our reports at I’m Faith Lapidus.