Semester at Sea Fall 2006 Voyage banner


Dear Urban Connoisseur,

From the moment I sent in my deposit check into the Semester at Sea headquarters, I knew that I was about to have a very memorable fall semester.  As a result, I tried to prepare myself by reading up on the countries I was going to visit.  However, I never could have prepared myself for the impact that these nine countries have had on me.  Throughout the last three months, I have had many incredible experiences including, playing with kids at a Burmese orphanage, eating sushi with Japanese business people, listening to stories of the Balkan war from a Croatian coffee shop waitress, and sailing on Vietnam’s Mekong River.

Not only were the experiences I had while on Semester at Sea incredible, but also how much I was able to learn in such a small amount of time was also somewhat incredible.  As an urban studies major at my home university, I took great interest in studying the cities in every port we visited.  With every new world city I explored, I learned that every city was different in many ways, yet also very similar.  In recent years that has been an urbanization of the world.  People from all over the world who once lived in rural communities are moving to cities in extremely large numbers.  As a result of this large exodus from the country, mega-slums have popped up in almost all big cities of the world, especially those of the developing world. 

One of the most interesting things, and most heart wrenching things I had the ability to do while in port was to explore these slums.  By walking through the slums of various cites I had the ability to really connect with the people, to understand what I had read about for so long.  After seeing people live without water, electricity, and sometimes a roof, it made me realize how much work needs to be done in these new mega-cities.  It also made me realize that as a future urban planner, it is my job to get this work started. 

             I hope that you will enjoy reading about some of the citied I had the pleasure of visiting.  Please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions about the website.


Return to course home page Send me your comments: