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Shipboard Interview with Matt Palmer

By Melody Heath

            When one really thinks about it, one realizes that Semester At Sea (SAS) is a truly unique experience.  However, if it is such a unique experience, then why do so few students attend?  All of the people on this ship come from different areas of the United States and even the world.  All of the people on this ship have attended hundreds of different high schools, are pursuing various majors, and attend multiple colleges.  Through all of these differences, we all have at least one thing in common; we chose Semester at Sea for the fall 2006 semester as our study abroad experience.  What made us collectively decide to attend SAS at this point in our lives?

            I began to answer this question by interviewing a student named Matt Palmer from UCLA.  Matt first heard of SAS from the television show, “Real World.”  The “Real World” is a reality based show on MTV that depicts college aged students daily activities—usually the drunk kind.  Already, I assume that what he expects to experience on SAS may be different than some other students.  However, I didn’t find him partying it up at the Aft-Hours party like you may see on Real World, I found him sitting casually by the snack bar trying to read his textbook, The Prize.

Even though he has traveled to places like England and France with his family, Matt’s never made it to any of the countries that we are visiting.  So, senior year of high school, he and his friend decided to go on SAS as roommates.  And already, he notices the difference in people on the ship compared to the average campus. 

“Everybody’s much more outgoing,” he explains.  Since no one really knows anybody, you want to meet people and it seems to make people nicer.  He does concede that we don’t really get to know and immerse ourselves in the cultures this way, but already he’s learned a lot about the world.  Each class really emphasizes the places that we are going to visit and he knows he will learn from this experience. 

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