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    Student Testimonial: Adventure & Academic Gap Year at Sea

    Posted November 1, 2022, 2:00 pm by TeenLife

    Meg Macdonald - Sea|mester Adventure & Academic Gap Year

    Why Did You Choose This Program? 

    I have a passion for travel and have always wanted to study abroad. I could not study abroad for an entire semester, so I decided to find a summer program that would fulfill my sense of adventure and work with the dates I was off for the summer. I discovered Sea|mester through an internet search. However, a few months before my departure, I randomly met a couple of Sea|mester alumni and talked with them firsthand about the experience. Sea|mester sent detailed information regarding the credits I would be getting through the University of South Florida. They sent information on how to work with my university to get credit for the classes. The whole process was seamless.

    How Did You Decide Which Program Was Right For You?

    My trip was the Summer 80-day Tahiti to Australia program. Not only did it include a large variety of destinations that I never dreamed I would be able to go to, but the program also had many different classes that I knew would grow my knowledge base. The photos on the website, the blog, and reading past voyage logs solidified that this program was what I was looking for. Getting to spend each day outside, sailing, and visiting some of the most beautiful islands on Earth sounded like a dream to me.

    What Was A Typical Day Like In Your Program?

    One of my favorite parts about this program was that each day looked completely different. Days on land would start similarly with breakfast on the boat, showing the ship some love, and then going about the various activities for the day. Some days it was hiking to waterfalls in Fiji. Other times it was wreck dives in Vanuatu. Some days it was exploring the beaches of the Whitsunday Islands in Australia. No two days looked the same, encouraging us to live in the moment.

    Passage life had far more of a routine to it. Each person would be assigned a watch group. Once underway, there would be a comfortable routine to watch groups. Meals, chores, and classes would all flow seamlessly throughout the day. Exciting parts of the day would be a random watch group conversation, increased swells, different stars, constellations, or dolphins and whales randomly surfacing. Every day was different and exciting.

    What Was The Most Memorable Moment Of Your Gap Year? 

    I could write a novel about my summer on S/Y Argo, but I'll stick to one story. After spending several days at sea sailing from Tonga to Fiji with large swells, we spent two glorious weeks sailing around the Fijian islands. We went for a snorkel in the soft coral capital of the world known as the Savusavu strait. I dream about how beautiful the coral is to this day. They had the National Geographic magazine featuring the article on the Savusavu strait, and we got to snorkel and dive this amazing coral after reading about it in National Geographic. To say it was unreal would be selling it short. I am so grateful for every experience Sea|mester brought me!

    What Advice Do You Have For Teens Looking for Gap Year Programs?

    One piece of advice regarding this program is that you spend a substantial amount of time with everyone on the trip, so patience and understanding are key. You live with 24 students from different backgrounds, all within 112 feet of each other. Everyone gets exhausted, and sailing is hard work; however, the best part of the trip is the close bond that grows as a result. Thinking back, they were the best roommates I have ever had.

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