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Open Letter to Future Semester At Sea Students

by Corey

Dear Future Semester at Sea Students:

My voyage around the world has truly been a voyage of discovery.  Semester at Sea will drastically alter your perception of the world, and hopefully will influence the way you interact with it.  As you take part in this cultural experience, I hope you gain as much insight into the impact of migratory forces as I have. 

Migration is everywhere.  Itís in the souvenirs you buy and in the people you greet.  I now realize that white Christian America had blinded me to the troubles of the rest of the world and the range of causes that either push or pull people from their homes.  I can now assess the role of colonial ties with firsthand experience; gauging the degree such legacy has on the modern state.  British colonization brought Hong Kong into the forefront of the international business community, a success that China prefers to leave unaltered.  And French occupation shaped the way in which the modern Vietnamese read and write.  Established colonial ties create a network of comfortable migration, linking the two nations as we enter the 21st century.

The power of one member to alter the future of an entire family is yet another aspect that amazes me.  My Japanese culinary adventure exposed a niche that many foreigners tend to fill.  The frequency of exotic restaurants and their origins add to the lessons learned on my voyage.  Whether from Sri Lanka or Brazil, the bold aspirations of one distant cousin or grandfather can shape the lives of every relative forward.  With the promise of employment and commitment of a small immigrant community, the cycle of families back and forth between home country and host country riddles the Japanese landscape. 

Semester at Sea will open your eyes and provide you with a taste of the wonders that await you.  My deepest hope is that as you venture through the exciting countryside and bustling cities, is that you take a moment to appreciate the generations of compounded migration that result in what you see today.


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