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This is my story

Victoria Williams ’14

Semester at Sea

At first the idea of studying abroad seemed like a crazy dream, somewhat out of reach. But then I decided that it was something I needed to do. I hope that by traveling abroad I will become my own, independent person. I will learn to form my ideas based upon different perspectives rather than just my own. I hope to find that by losing my comfort I will grow to be comfortable in any situation.

I chose Semester at Sea for this exact reason. I will take classes on a boat but I will also have the opportunity to explore 12 different countries.

Preparing to study abroad was more work than I expected. But with the help of Susan Carey, assistant director for Study Abroad in the University’s International Center, I took things one step at a time. After being accepted into the program, I had to write scholarship essays to help pay for my adventure. There was a lot of paperwork to complete, like applying for a passport and visas, and filling out all of my health forms (including forms for five different vaccines!). I also had to sign up for classes and figure out which trips I wanted to take while in port.

After completing all of the paperwork, I had to figure out a budget. I knew going into this program that I would be spending a lot of my savings. To help with the costs, I got a job waitressing and saved all of my paychecks.

Everything about this trip excites me but I am most thrilled about doing service work in the different countries. I signed up to help out in orphanages and elementary schools, and I will work with Habitat for Humanity in South Africa.

The thought of leaving my friends and family for so long does scare me a bit. The only communication I will have is through email and an occasional phone call—no Facebook or Skype. Because keeping in touch will be difficult, I started a blog so everyone can follow me on my trip.

No matter how much work and time it has taken to prepare for this adventure, I am ready for a life-changing experience. I just have to go with the flow, get out of my comfort zone, and try new things. It will all be worth it in the end.


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