Semester at Sea satisfies wanderlust

by Ashley Quintero, Staff Writer

Last year, San Diego State was ranked No. 22 in the nation for its study abroad programs, according to the Institute for International Education’s new Open Doors Report. It’s no surprise that Aztecs love to travel, and SDSU supports its students by offering a wide range of study abroad opportunities. Along with all the programs offered on campus there are also various programs to choose from, such as Semester at Sea.

Semester at Sea is a multi-country study abroad program. Students live and travel by ship to eight to 15 different cities and two to four continents.

Business junior Tanner Franklin is currently spending his spring semester at sea.

“(A family friend) did it and he was telling me about this great experience,” Franklin said. “I looked it up the next day and applied. I found out in the months leading up to the voyage that it’s actually quite popular and many of my parent’s friends have had kids sail with Semester at Sea.”

Franklin’s adventure started off in Ensenada, Mexico and he has already visited Hilo, Hawaii; Yokohama, Japan; Kobe, Japan; Shanghai, China; Hong Kong; and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Franklin said his travel to Vietnam has been life changing.

“Vietnam has opened my eyes to so many new things and has changed how I feel about the politics surrounding East Asia,” he said. “The last six days (in Vietnam) have reminded me about the reason that I came on Semester at Sea.”

Franklin has seven more destinations to go including Singapore, India and South Africa until he disembarks in London.

To Franklin his time abroad is a little more than just visiting various countries. It’s about the experience and connections he has made with his fellow shipmates.

“Semester at Sea for me has been an adventure of discovery and growth,” he said. “I like to equate it to giving yourself a second chance at your first college experience. The first few days are chaotic, like moving into the dorms as a freshman again. Nobody is on their phone like you would see back home, people talk to each other here; it’s genuine.”

He said he has learned a lot about both himself and the power of friendship.

“You learn quite a bit about yourself when, for example, you’re traveling from Guilin, China to Hong Kong without speaking the language, finally arriving at a random hostel at 2 a.m. hoping they have an empty bed,” Franklin said.

He said in the months leading up to his semester at sea, he heard from alumni that the experience “changes your life.”

“I honestly thought they were being overly dramatic, but they were completely right,” he said.

“The people who stepped on this ship 41 days ago are not the same, but better versions of themselves,” Franklin said. “We are growing together and it’s an interesting and incredible experience. To think that I have another two and a half months on the Explorer with my fellow SASers is really exciting.”

“The people who stepped on this ship 41 days ago are not the same, but better versions of themselves,” Franklin said. “We are growing together and it’s an interesting and incredible experience. To think that I have another two and a half months on the Explorer with my fellow SASers is really exciting.”

Semester at Sea is a study abroad program independent from SDSU and is sponsored by the University of Virginia. SAS does not offer summer or winter study abroad opportunities.

For more information on SAS visit www.semesteratsea.org.