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Semester at Sea:

A Family Tradition

By Becka

Harriet            The sun was bright and reflecting off the water, but she sat cross-legged, in the shade of the port side of deck 5, smoking a cigarette and drinking a red bull.  I came and sat before her and began our conversation.  She told me, in a strong southern accent, that her name is Harriet, she is 23 and that her home institution is the University of Texas at Arlington.  I later learned that she grew up in Midland, Texas.  She’d traveled a lot already; Europe, Mexico, the Mediterranean and, recently, she spent two months in Costa Rica with three other girls in a home-stay. 

“Did your family support you in you decision to come on Semester at Sea?” I asked.  Harriet’s response was very different that what I expected; Harriet’s father had been a student on one of the ’72 voyages and her older sister had come on ’02.  “It’s kind of like a family tradition,” she said.  It turns out that her family is very supportive, not just about Semester at Sea, but about travel in general, promoting learning and experiencing what other cultures have to offer.  The stories they told about their Semester at Sea voyages influenced Harriet’s decision a lot and helped prepare her for the experience.  Harriet’s major, International Public Relations, was also very helpful in her decision as were her previous travels. 

To her there were no disadvantages about the program.  She was very prepared for the lack of phone, internet and technology in general, “it’s not too much of a culture shock,” was how she put it.  She wants to learn more about all of the countries to be visited and gain a better understanding of each of them; plus she believes this voyage will look good on a resume.

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