A few years ago, Wade Colburn ‘14 thought that his dream of spending time abroad while in college was unobtainable due to the intense demands of biomedical engineering and his lack of language skills. However, when presented with the option of traveling with the Semester at Sea program, it seemed that Colburn had found the study abroad option for him.
“Some people believe that complete immersion in a single country is the only way to study abroad,” Colburn says. “I must say that you can experience and interact with a new culture in a matter of days. I get to learn about something in one of my classes and then see it firsthand in a port.”
Colburn’s semester abroad has allowed him to pursue his academics, while, at the same time, visiting places such as Singapore, India, Vietnam, and Myanmar. The unique educational experience offered to Colburn allows him to relate real world experiences to his learning on the ship.
In the evenings, Semester at Sea students often attend two educational events: one focuses on the current host country, and the other, called the Unreasonable at Sea Fireside Chats, involves conversations with mentors. Taking advantage of the occasions presented to him, Colburn has developed relationships with many of the mentors. He recently planned a Palm Sunday service for his shipmates with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
“The people that I have interacted with — including students, faculty, lifelong learners, and mentors — have all impacted my life in some way on this voyage,” says Colburn.