More than 500 students, faculty, and staff of Semester at Sea® (SAS ), the nation’s premier shipboard programme for study abroad, will arrive in Galway at 8:00 am on 31 August for a one day exploration of Galway before also docking in Dublin. Ireland is the first country on the academic voyage itinerary. Sarah Cosgrove, a student from the National University of Ireland (NUI ) Galway joined the shipboard community in Halifax where embarkation took place on 23 August. All participants are traveling aboard the MV Explorer, a state-of-the-art passenger ship that Semester at Sea has outfitted as a traveling university.
Speaking in advance of her departure, Sarah Cosgrove, from Sligo and a postgraduate researcher at NUI Galway, said: “I began a Marine Science degree in NUI Galway in 2006 and I am extremely happy to be continuing my studies as a postgraduate researcher. The University has provided me with so many fantastic opportunities over the last six years and my current involvement with the semester at sea program is a perfect example of such an exciting and rewarding opportunity.”
She added: “I think the idea of this ‘floating campus’ which invites students from over 25 campuses across the US to travel the globe visiting a vast number of countries and experience multi-cultural diversity is a simply outstanding concept. I am both honoured and delighted to share this experience and I am very much looking forward to educating and informing so many international students on what we have to offer here in Galway and the west of the Ireland. It is definitely a once in a life-time opportunity.”
Semester at Sea is a global study abroad programme that traces its roots to 1963. Participants, who hail from more than 250 US and international universities, circumnavigate the globe aboard the 24,300-ton campus of the MV Explorer, attend classes in a closely knit environment with an international faculty, complete fieldwork and travel while in port, and receive course credit from the University of Virginia, the academic sponsor.
“Ensuring a positive message about Galway Harbour and NUI Galway is vitally important to open new avenues and form new relationship with the Semester at Sea programme. Galway Harbour Company is delighted to be able to support Sarah Cosgrove in delivering the key messages of promoting Galway as a cruise destination on the transatlantic passage from Halifax to Galway onboard the cruise ship Explorer,” said Galway Harbour Master, Captain Brian Sheridan.
The autumn voyage will travel to international destinations including Ireland, England, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Dominica before returning to Ft Lauderdale, Florida, USA in December. This is the 111th voyage of Semester at Sea.
Eamon Howley, managing director of BEM Ireland Ltd, said: “BEM Ireland was proud to be selected as the preferred Destination Management Company in the region by the Galway Harbour Board last September. We have put together a number of one day and three day tour packages for Semester at Sea that will showcase Galway and the West. BEM Ireland is delighted to be supporting Sarah Cosgrove, a marine student from NUI Galway, who will join the students from Semester at Sea aboard the Explorer on her journey from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Galway. Sarah will be presenting information on the west of Ireland and helping the students to select the tours that are of most interest to them. We hope she has a very enjoyable voyage and a great life experience.”
Over the years, Semester at Sea has achieved a number of significant milestones, including groundbreaking visits to countries such as the former Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and Myanmar, and participants have met with prominent leaders including Fidel Castro, Anwar Sadat, Indira Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Corazon Aquino, Sidi Mohammed, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela.