I’m Doing Semester at Sea—Again!

On December 13th, 2010 I disembarked from the MV Explorer ending my Semester at Sea experience in San Diego where I greeted my mom who was waiting to take me home from my worldwide journey. As I stepped of gangway for the last time that day, I said to her “I will find a way to get back on that ship”.

That day has come.

On January 5th, 2019, I will be embarking on another voyage around the world with Semester at Sea.

It has been a dream of mine to work for Semester at Sea essentially since I got off the ship in 2010. The program made a massive impact on my life, drastically altering the course of my professional career and my personal values. I respect everything that the organization stands for, so it always made sense to me that I could work for the Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE) paying it forward to future students and voyagers.

I applied for my first job with Semester at Sea in 2012, and I have applied to three other jobs since then. In 2017, I got to the final round of interviews for an onship position but was turned down. I didn’t stop looking at their job board after the rejection, because I was determined to find a way to get back on the ship. Persistence, right??

About one month ago, I received a short message on LinkedIn from a recruiter with Semester at Sea’s marketing department asking if I would be interested in interviewing for an open position they had. I promptly gasped, ran around my apartment in excitement, did a happy dance, and then replied to the message within one hour of receiving it.

Less than a week later, I had completed three rounds of interviews and was sitting with a job offer in my inbox. In this whirlwind of activity, I had just landed one of the best job opportunities I could have ever asked for—I was offered the position of social media coordinator on Semester at Sea’s spring 2019 voyage.

I honestly hadn’t even been looking for a new job and it had been months since I last perused the ISE job board; but when something like this falls into your lap, you can’t help but think it was meant to be. It feels right. It feels serendipitous. It feels validating.

In this role, I will be responsible for documenting the voyage on social media in collaboration with a multimedia coordinator, producing a majority of the photo and video content that you will see coming from the ship. We will, of course, be sharing student stories and photos, as well as documenting all the ports we are visiting on behalf of the organization.

I can’t wait to actively participate in social media this time around. My voyage as a student was the main impetus for starting my blog, but social media was in its nascency in 2010. I only used Facebook at the time and took all my photos on a camera, which I then had to upload separately once I had internet access. Mobile data and smart phones were barely a thing at that time.

But you look now and social media is incredibly important part of the student experience. You only need to look at the voyage hashtags (#sassp18 or #sasfa18 for example) to see how much students are engaging with their experience online. Instagram has changed the game for travel.

I am beyond excited to experience Semester at Sea again, but this time from a totally different vantage point. Embarking on the ship as a staff member will feel familiar in the sense that I know what to expect from life on the ship and traveling full-time for 4 months but it will also feel all together new, different and incredibly exciting.

Another thing that will be different this time around is that Sam will be traveling with me! Semester at Sea has an extremely generous spousal policy which allows Sam to join me for this crazy adventure. I am so excited to share this experience with Sam and to travel the world with him by my side.

There are a lot of preparations in progress to prepare for this journey, but needless to say, I feel incredibly grateful to be offered this amazing opportunity. It has been 8 years in the making, and I look forward to every second of our 106 days at sea.

You can see a map of the journey that lies ahead for us below. You’ll notice that the itinerary is almost identical to the  voyage I did in 2010, just westward instead of eastward. There will be more updates in the weeks ahead before we leave for the voyage, but you can always follow the content I’ll be creating with the hashtag #sassp19. Stay tuned!

Author: Megan Arz

I am a travel and food obsessed Midwesterner living in Chicago and dreaming of the world. I work as a full-time program manager for Greenheart Travel, but I am also committed to integrating the travel lifestyle into my every day routines. I am passionate about ethical travel, meeting new people, creating unique memories and eating local cuisine!

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