By Wren Chan
To Future Participants of Semester at Sea,
voyage meant a lot to me and perhaps changed my life like the others
onboard. We came out of our protective bubbles at home to see a world
that is both similar and different than ours. It was truly a voyage of
discovery. There were things that I regretted not doing during the
voyage and perhaps this regret will follow me for the rest of my life.
What I regretted the most is not spending as much time as I wanted with
the people. The inanimate monuments and structures often are
distractions from what we should be focusing on, the people. A tour and
a vacation to the Pyramids can be arranged anytime but people move,
change and eventually die. History and current events are determined by
people not monuments. Therefore the first advice I would give to future
participants is to interact with the people more often.
things that I can see clearly through my experiences with Semester at
Sea is that life is a paradox, we must simultaneously look to the past
for guidance and the future for purpose. The present is when we must
act. We are both significant and insignificant. Insignificant in that
we are one in billions and our lives are short so that in time, our
very existence may be doubted by people in the future. We are however
significant in that our actions have ramifications that could change
the world. Our actions tie the distant past with the distant future.
Semester at Sea is a rare opportunity in which is is necessary to
explore and go beyond your limits.
memories of the times spent in the different ports is enough to look
back at for a lifetime. Getting lost in the middle of Japan. Meeting
family members for the first time in 13 years. Bargaining for the first
time in Vietnam. Observing people that are genuine and simple living
under a military dictatorship. Getting ripped off in India. Seeing the
sheer poverty in India yet unable to do anything. Backpacking through
Egypt for 4 days. Seeing the Pyramids of Giza. Riding a camel. Almost
getting into a scam. Getting thrown out of a bar. Climbing a steep hill
in Dubrovnik and watching the sunset. Running out of Euros in Spain on
a Sunday. Pretending to be a resident at a hostel to use the internet.
Semester at Sea is a learning experience and a challenge. It helps at
times to be without plans and proceed randomly. Often the most genuine
experiences are those that are random.