It’s not surprising that Semester at Sea (SAS) is one of CSU’s most popular education abroad options. Voyaging around the world via cruise ship is something most college students — or anyone for that matter — would sign up for in a heartbeat.
Environmental Engineering junior Rachel Obrien knew that an opportunity like SAS doesn’t come around often. She made the choice to join the Spring 2017 voyage and couldn’t be more pleased with her decision. Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering staff caught up with Rachel during the program to get insight into her experience.
What appealed to you about the Semester at Sea program?
I’ve wanted to do Semester at Sea since my sophomore year of high school. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to fit it into my schedule, especially after switching majors so late [Rachel declared Environmental Engineering as her major a year ago], but when I found out CSU was going to be the academic partner for Semester at Sea I knew I just had to do it.
What has been your favorite part about it?
I love that Semester at Sea takes you to so many unique countries that I never even imagined I would have been able to travel to on my own.
Any advice to someone considering Semester at Sea?
My advice to other students considering Semester at Sea or even just to study abroad would without a doubt be to just do it. Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity that you cannot pass up, so take advantage of the time and resources CSU provides and go abroad. I know years from now I would have regretted not going.
Doing all the requirements with registration and visas and everything was very stressful and a lot of work, and I did have to take many summer courses to fit it into my schedule, but in the long run it’s definitely worth it. I would have always been living with that “what if” in the back of my mind if I hadn’t chosen to go.
Another piece of advice is if you are considering studying abroad, save your elective credits to take while you are abroad, or consider adding a minor to take classes towards that. I was only able to find one class that contributed to my major, and my other two classes had to go towards my minor.
Anything else you’d like to share about your experience?
Something that has been a big adjustment for me is being open to just going with the flow. I am generally a planner and like having things very organized, but when you are abroad, everything rarely sticks to the plans. I have had to become much more flexible and accept things as they happen.
One of the best times I’ve had on this trip so far has been just wandering the streets of Tokyo with no set destination in mind.