I have officially been living on the ship for over a week now! Last Wednesday seems forever ago! I boarded the ship with all the other students who have a job onboard and we were able to walk around and explore. I love my new home! The people here are amazing! I got lucky and have an amazing roommate Jessie who has become one of my good friends. We are on the second deck, which is the lowest deck allowed for cabins. I didn’t know when I signed up for rooms that this deck was the place to be. They are smaller cabins but because it is on the lowest deck it rocks the least. So when huge waves come we get don’t have to deal with our drawers whipping open or stuff flying off the shelves like other people do. The only downside is that because it is closest to the water, when waves hit it splashes our window, which can be creepy in the middle of the night.
Our room is pretty simple. It has two beds, a tiny table, a small desk, and three cabinets across from the bathroom. We have a steward named Rene who comes in and cleans our cabin every other day. It was a big surprise coming back from class to my bed made and all of my clothes folded. The sixth deck is where we spend most of our time. It has one of the dining halls, a lot of classrooms, the union, library, school store, and a snack bar. Everyone is usually hanging out somewhere on 6th or outside on 7th by the pool and weights.
The first night all of us went out to the Dome, which they closed down for Semester at Sea students. It was nice to be able to go out and hang out with new people. In the morning all the students that boarded the ship the day before helped out with embarkation. I was paired with another student Jared and our job was to tell parents it was time to say goodbye. (Worst job ever!) Everyone was on by 2 pm. At 5pm the ship took sail! A bunch of the parents stayed and waved goodbye, which made the trip finally seem real!
Classes started on Saturday (We don’t have weekends here!). The first day was easy sailing but the second day we started to hit rough waves. For three days straight we were in the middle of a storm. The waves were 20 feet high and walking to class was a funny sight to see. I’m one of the lucky few that hasn’t gotten seasick. They put barf bags all around the ship and it’s not unusual for people to run out of class. Classes so far have been really interesting and it’s sweet to see that what you’re learning in the classroom you can really use in the different countries we visit. Classes are 15-20 students so it provides a lot of one on one interaction. It’s also interesting how the teachers live with us. It’s not unusual to eat a meal with a professor or have another sit outside with your group of friends and watch the sunset. It is definitely a very different experience than campus at UND. We have had a few different inter-port people who come on the ship and stay for a short period of time. The founder of Crocs is a Semester at Sea Alum who came to our Global Studies class. Also the Dean of the next voyage talked to us about her trip to space as an astronaut. One inter-port student was a PhD student from University of Galway in Ireland. Sarah taught us about Ireland in our classes and was available to eat meals with us during the day. My friends and I ate lunch with her one day and she told us all the places we should go in Ireland and helped us plan our visit. Tomorrow morning we finally get to Ireland and have four days free of classes! At 5:45 AM all of us are getting up to watch the ship pull into the first port! I can’t wait to touch land! I’ll post an update after Ireland!