Talk to alumni about Sea|mester and a few things are immediately evident. Bright and highly articulate, they are clearly motivated and independent, determined to travel their own path through life to make the most of the opportunities they have.
They also uniformly say the same things about the program: that it took them out of their comfort zone and gave them a newfound confidence in their abilities. That they realized they didn't have to follow a pre-ordained path to success. That the passion, enthusiasm and dedication of their teachers and the staff for what they do was inspirational.
And that they formed lasting bonds with their shipmates and have memories of an experience that will stay with them all their lives.
Over the years, we have received hundreds of letters from our alumni and their parents that describe the impact Sea|mester has had on them. Their words say more than we ever could...
trip has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I'm going to miss it
so much and I wouldn't change a thing about it."
"This was the most
incredible experience of my life! Before the trip the staff did an excellent
job of communicating everything. Every email and phone call was returned right
away by staff that was just as excited that we were going on the trip as we were
ourselves, which was pretty awesome. I am super grateful for all their hard
"The best experience
of my voyage was working together with the rest of the crew, learning how to
sail Argo, and eventually being able to control her ourselves. The staff was
absolutely excellent in teaching-- there was a good balance of teaching us the
ropes and letting us figure things out for ourselves so that we really learned
how to sail. The crew became like a family, and I will have friends forever
from this experience. I love Seamester! The program is extremely well run!
Thank you so much for the best 3 months ever!"
"This program rocks!
It changed my life and made me realize that oceanography really is what I want
to do in some form. I will recommend this to anyone! Thanks for changing my
"When I thought I
couldn't stay awake for another second, I stood watch. When I thought I
couldn't take another step, I hiked down a volcano. When I thought I couldn't
possible get any more seasick, I clipped in and booted again. When I thought I
couldn't stand in the sun without being burned to a crisp, I led sail flake.
Basically what I'm trying to say is that whatever limits I thought I has,
Sea|mester blew then completely out of the water (literally). I may never say
the words "I can't" again."
"The last three
months has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It is not just
all the places we see which are incredible or is it even sailing across the
Atlantic, which was an amazing feat. But it is the people, the bonds we forged
and all the moments that we shared."
"This was an
adventure of a lifetime. Not only did I travel and sail to some of the most
beautiful, obscure and amazing places but I have 23 lifelong friends. I can
honestly say coming to Argo was one of the best decisions I have ever made."
"This program not
only opened my eyes to so much of the world that I have never seen before but
it also opened my eyes to see the beauty that lies within us all. The
relationships that I have made will be with me for years to come. This trip changed my perspective on the world and made me believe that I am capable of anything."
"All the staff
members, namely the captain, were excellent. They knew just how much to teach,
all the while allowing us to figure many things out on our own. This added to
the exceptional motivation they all gave us while aboard."
"My time on
Sea|mester changed my life completely. It secured any thoughts on what I love
and opened my mind to an entire world I didn't know before. My thanks are
forever there. This is the greatest adventure I ever had."
"This has been an experience
of a lifetime. I have worked on boats all my life and I have a few which mean a
lot to me. Argo now holds an equally special place in my heart. I'll always
call her "home" in some way."
changed my outlook on life. It has given me the knowledge that I can do
anything I put my mind to. I have met amazing people and my time on board is
something that is indescribable and unique. Thanks for everything!"
"Sea|mester is the
best possible alternative to the real world."
"Argo has helped build character and
instilled confidence in everything I do."
"Thank you Argo, who carried us 4300 nautical
miles and was great to us!"
"On Argo we live simply with intention. I've
been aware of living with intention for sometime now, but on Argo it is
clarified. Everything is done precisely for the community. I'm very sad to be
leaving Argo. The energy that is and grows in this environment is invigorating!"
"6700 miles, five countries, two equator
crossings; what a journey this has been. Once year ago I never thought I would
be here on Argo doing a Sea|mester and here I am. This has been the highlight
of my life and this trip will forever be with me."
"I am so happy being on Argo. What a
beautiful vessel she is. Thanks again for providing me with the opportunity to
grow, love and be happy while exploring the endless ocean!"
"Waking up every morning and feeling so
alive, healthy, and happy about the place I was and the people I was with was
most valuable to me. Your program has changed my life and I'm so glad I had the
opportunity to do it."
"I am amazed, grateful, and awestruck, daily
by what an incredible experience this is for Julia, and what a well-run program
this is. I'm so very grateful to Sea|mester, all of you there, for providing
such an incredibly amazing opportunity for her, so well organized, so
professionally executed. I can't thank you all enough."
"This program creates a team mind set where
each person is no bigger than the whole. The satisfaction and feelings of
accomplishment as well as relationships that will probably last forever that
Britt came home with far outweigh the college credits, although yeah! for that
Ms. H Hazard
"It was an experience of a lifetime performed
under the direction of a very capable staff on both sides of the ocean."
Mrs. J Donelan
"We are very satisfied and would recommend
your program to anyone. The increased maturity and self-confidence is apparent."
Ms. T Townsend
"I had hoped she would
get some basic big boat sailing experience and have a good time and those hopes
were easily met. The 'round the Caribbean Sea' aspect of the journey gave Ella
real exposure to all the different cultures on the different islands."
Ms. K Reid-Koeze
"This program was excellent beyond our highest expectations. We felt it was an expensive option for a gap year semester, but your program delivered top-notch results. Her experience on Argo, the quality of the itinerary, the quality of the academics, the quality of the diving and navigating, and the staff were all amazing. I also really appreciated the blog and newsletter; we logged every day and absolutely enjoyed every word and picture!
You run a fabulous program and, specifically, the staff should be commended for
doing a professional yet fun job for our daughter's trip. Captain Steve, Al,
Leah, Kristine, and Casey did a superb job and along with Argo, provided a trip
and experience that Francesca will always remember! We hope to send our
youngest daughter and a friend to Action Quest next summer."
Mrs. A Scheiber
"We went into this with no experience
of a semester abroad. We knew Kelly would have a great experience but didn't
realize the high level quality it would be. Staff, peers, boat, classes,
destinations, all of it was incredible. Fantastic program! Kelly has grown
exponentially. It has opened up new pathways in her head and spirit."
Ms. J Burton
"The program was well run and provided
an amazing growth experience. I loved being able to follow the blog. I felt my
daughter was safe and well supervised during the many outings and activities.
From what my daughter shared regarding the experience I only have positive
things to say."
Mrs. L Hofflander
on the trip the staff makes you feel like family. There is a perfect balance of
professional friendship. They're welcoming and eager to make you love the
experience as much as they do."
"It was hands down
the best experience of my life. I loved the salt water showers, the sailing,
and just the overall atmosphere."
"Sea|mester was the
best thing I could have done for myself in this point of my life."
"I have loved absolutely
every minute on board Ocean Star and couldn't thank everyone enough for making
"The voyage was much
more that I expected. I thought it would be fun, but I had no idea how life
changing it would be. I never thought that I would make so many life friends.
Every single day I was amazed that it was more beautiful than the last. I met
people who like the same things that I do and who are great! I got to see parts
of the world I probably wouldn't have visited. I pushed myself to literally
climb mountains. I got to see things most people never will. I felt like I was
good at sailing and I enjoyed every second. I got to unplug and be a real
"I would like to
thank everyone at Sea|mester for making this voyage happen. I know there are a
lot of people behind the scenes who we never saw that work hard to make
everything happen, so thank you for all your hard work. Also, thank you so much
to the crew ya'll sacrifice a lot to do the jobs ya'll do and thank you because
ya'll made the voyage amazing! I had an amazing experience with Sea|mester and
I wish I had done a longer program and there's a small chance I might be able
to. I even would love to possibly work for the company in the future."
"I had an incredible
time and so glad I did it! When I would tell people what I was doing this
summer, they were jealous. However, I don't think they understood that we had
to work and not just sunbathe in order to reach our destinations. That's what I
loved about the program because it became more of an experience that you didn't
mind doing the work at all that would at times pushed me to my limits and
showed me that I was capable of more things than I thought."
"Ocean Star and the
people on it changed me for the
better. I would not be as confident in myself to be true to who I am if it wasn't for them. I am a very unique person, or so I'm told, but I tend to hid in a little shell, but on the boat I was completely myself and each crew member wrote how much they liked that about me."
"Oceanstar thanks for your safety and love during the last 40
days. Today as we scrubbed your decks and polished your rails for the last
time, I realized what an amazing home you have made for us. Your beautiful
sails and classic rigging created the perfect atmosphere to bring 18 strangers
together as a family to learn to share and to explore. For this I know that we
are all grateful."
"As the sun rises over the open seas one man stands alone on the
deck of Oceanstar. As the winds blow and the waves grow and Oceanstar cries to
open her sails and feel the wind a crew comes together to strike her sails and
let her loose. Through squalls and through the calmest of seas aboard the
Oceanstar, with every mile, the crew grows into a family."
"I found my true self in the Caribbean!"
"Living in a community that started out as strangers, became
friends and left as a dedicated family and devoted members of an awesome team.
This was the most valuable treasure that I gained from the voyage."
"Sea|mester first reminded me that life is about surrounding
yourself with amazing people, going to amazing places, and doing amazing
things, and second gave me the confidence to bring this creed home with me."
"Every single day was exciting and offered something new to learn.
This program is one of the best things I have ever done. I don't think there
could be a better way to spend my fall semester."
"The voyage was ten times cooler then I could have possibly
imagined. When you find yourself waking up in a beautiful new place almost
every morning, at a certain point it hits you that this is undeniably the best
classroom in the world."
"I think your organization is remarkable. The kids that have the
privilege of experiencing your voyages will never forget this trip of a
lifetime. The things they learn will carry on for the rest of their lives, and
they will have wonderful memories to share."
Mrs. M Wilhelm
"This was a life-altering experience for Clare. There was an
atmosphere of trust and acceptance and fun amidst the learning and work. What a
Mrs. S Keating
"This experience ignited a spark in me, a zest for adventure,
pushing my so-called 'boundaries' and courage to chase after my aspirations in
life. The encouragement and support I received from my fellow shipmates and the
staff helped me realize I am capable of great things, all I need to do is put my
mind to it."
"Sea|mester was probably the most fun and meaningful six weeks of
my life. It brought me confidence, sense of accomplishment, and an experience
that will last a lifetime. I learned more on this trip than I have in all of
college and have earned a thousand stories that I'll someday be telling my
"Sea|mester is a way of life, a method of thought and a commitment
to excellence. We all leave with our new habits and attitudes to spread the
values of Sea|mester to our own corners of the world. Sea|mester will live on
not just in our memories but into our future relationships, decisions and
"The Sea|mester experience is by far the best thing in the world.
It changed me completely and not a day goes by where I don't think about the
trip! I look up to my staff as role models everyday!"
"The growth and maturity we hoped for occurred and was even more
than we had expected. Jonathan gained confidence in his own ability to meet and
conquer things that were completely new to him."
"I have learned so much about myself and other people, and have
gained some amazing experiences and countless memories. Thank you for the
program and for giving me the experience of a lifetime."
"One of the best parts about Sea|mester is that each day is so
different from the last. We lack boring days, and it's a very welcome absence.
We awake to blue skies and bright days. After many days at sea, shore is
overwhelming now. We long to get back to the peace of the boat."
"This program has inspired me to live my life with more intensity,
passion and adventure than I could have ever dreamed. Sea|mester has given me a
sense of empowerment. I now feel like anything is attainable."
"The program was so much more that what I had expected. I can't
express how impressed I was with the staff and the program as a whole. The
staff was amazing, everyone was so passionate about their job and eager to
teach and interact with all of the crew. It was an amazing adventure of self
discovery that confirmed my deep desire to travel and explore."
"I know that Emily's wildest expectations were surpassed, and I
don't think she has ever been happier than when she was on Ocean Star. Her
shipmates were apparently wonderful, and the staff was confidence inspiring and
confidence building. She always felt completely safe, and felt that the
education she received was top notch. I think the voyages are an incredible
value and offer kids once in a lifetime experiences. Thank you so much for the
quality of your program and all it gave to Emily."
Mrs. A Appel
"My favorite part about the voyage is that the staff made a huge
effort to make the trip more than a sightseeing tour and some classes.It was an experience that made us all
better people.We really got to
know our shipmates on a deeper level. I got to have a truly unique,
"I thought it was an amazing experience to be living with your
teachers, who were also fellow crew members, hiking buddies, dive instructors,
and friends all at the same time.Having such a closely tied crew and staff is something that I think
makes the program as amazing as it is."
"I think the most valuable part of the program for Lindsay is that
she has matured and is much more self confident. It is like she came alive on
this adventure. Her views and general interest in everything around her and
possibilities for the future has broadened."
Mrs. L Ames
"I would just like to say thank you for an amazing opportunity and
a time in my life I will never in a million years forget. This is more than any
classroom can give to a student."
"To say Conor had an amazing experience would be a gross
understatement.It was, I believe
life changing.I want to thank you
and the entire Sea|mester staff, you were/are fantastic! Conor said,I'm glad to be home but I
really never wanted our voyage to end".Sea|mester is phenomenal... I'm just so
glad my family got to experience the adventure."
Mr. B Clancy
"The voyage alone is astounding. Add
expeditions, a great crew, good weather, interesting subject matter - how could
you lose. Having the almost daily blogs are a perfect approach for exciting
family members. Also reassuring to know your child is safe, HAPPY, and involved
in something 'epic'."
Mrs. L Jones
daughter came home quite excited about her experience. She had gone with
misgivings about acquiring her Advanced Open Water, but your crew calmed her
fears and boosted her confidence so that she was able to complete the course
and enjoy it, too! Thank you for a wonderful experience for my daughter."
Mr. R Crowe
was a trip of a lifetime - one I wish I would have been able to experience when
I was Chris's age. The structure and discipline on -board Argo impressed me and
definitely made an impression on my son. The structure and discipline of
everyday life on - board the Argo was the most valuable part of the program for
my son. When we met up with the ship in Bonaire he exhibited a greater sense of
responsibility than when he left St. Louis 5 weeks earlier and now that he is
home he seems to have a new sense of purpose and direction toward where he
wants to go with his life."
Mr. M Atkin
"I will never forget this experience and the feeling of
peace and joy that overwhelms you while you're on the open ocean with the wind
the sails and in your hair."
I love the fact that the students
are the crew and stand watch, plan and cook meals, sail and haul anchor. Beyond
the skills, they learned life lessons. They do not yet all know the "lessons"
they learned. But they will stand them in good stead. This experience will be
invaluable when she starts college. She has better people skills now, and any dorm
room will look spacious after living on a boat. What a great experience!"
Mrs. C Phelps
"Thank you for taking good care of
my daughter and for being part of this memory of a lifetime experience. The
life experience (was the most valuable) getting along with and getting to know
all the shipmates, experiencing each island and all the differences. Wonderful
growth of independence."
Mrs. C Olson
"I feel my daughter got the most
she could have out of this program. She worked hard and had lots of fun. We
knew you had a great program with great people and this proved to be true. It
was a fantastic experience!"
Mr. and Mrs. G Smith
Barbara BruceALUMNI CASE STUDYexpand
Princeton University & Sea|mester Alumni
It may seem a long way from spending nights in the Caribbean on an 88-ft schooner to working days as a Trial Preparation Assistant in the Investigative Division of the Manhattan District Attorney's office, but that's the journey Barbara Bruce made.
"I'm thinking of doing national security work and this is a great experience while I decide whether I want to go to law school."
It's a course Sea|mester helped her chart.
"I'd just completed my freshman year at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School and was living a typical college life, sleeping late, going out at night, not feeling terribly motivated. I was in the typical college mold of operating on autopilot."
Sea|mester changed all that.
"It completely altered my perception of myself. That summer motivated me and gave me real confidence in my abilities. I developed a totally new perspective. Sea|mester had me trying things I'd never done before. Our Captain used to tell us if we wanted to take a nap, take a nap when we got home. This was the only time we were going to be in such an amazing place doing such amazing things."
"I'd sleep on a hammock on deck and get up at 5:45am so I could see the sunrise. And I woke up with such a terrific sense of excitement and energy. That's not something that happens everyday at home. I remember on our first night passage to Dominica, it was a 12-hour passage over really choppy water, and most of us were throwing up. And I remember thinking that if this were happening anywhere else I would have felt horrible, but here, even seasick, I was just in heaven being on the boat with all the stars and a feeling of contentment."
"I don't take the people around me or the things I have for granted anymore. I just feel this heightened awareness of the possibilities of life."
Michael PeraticosALUMNI CASE STUDYexpand
University of London & Sea|mester Alumni
Having just completed his Masters in Shipping, Trade and Finance at the University of London, Michael Peraticos decided he wanted to get away from the usual and mundane.
"I wanted to be outside life's conventional four walls and distance myself from what I think of as stereotypical and unchallenged views of life. I wanted something radically different from what I had done so far, which was to continue straight from University into the Masters program. I wanted to live life to the fullest and try to understand myself."
He found Sea|mester through a friend who had been on the program and he thought it would satisfy his desire to travel. He joined Argo in Tarragona south of Barcelona, sailed the Mediterranean, making stops in Gibraltar, Morocco, and then the Canary Islands to pick up supplies. Then it was off on a six-day sail through the Cape Verdi islands off the western coast of Africa before crossing the Atlantic to Dominica and finally ending the voyage in the British Virgin Islands.
"It was a profound and intense experience, unlike anything else I had lived. It is hard to describe it to others because you simply have to live certain things to understand them. But I remember a fellow crewmember of mine saying on the 90th day that he was sure that many changes have taken place but that it sometimes took time for them to appear and for you to understand them. We were 30 human beings co-existing within distinct physical boundaries. I think the spirit that existed with my shipmates was unprecedented for me. We grew to be very connected."
Now in Athens working as a shipping consultant, he still feels that same connection to his shipmates.
"The experience that I lived on Sea|mester has certainly empowered me to live life how I see fit and made me believe all things are possible if you use your imagination."
Mani WhiteALUMNI CASE STUDYexpand
New College of San Francisco & Sea|mester Alumni
Mani had never had a chance to do a semester abroad, so after graduation she decided it was time to pursue a dream. She had done some sailing in the San Francisco Bay, but had always wanted to know what it would be like to live, learn and travel aboard a boat.
"I didn't want a cruise ship experience. A semester aboard should be more than a classroom with a waterfront view. Being a part of a working sailing ship was a different way of living and learning because everyone shares responsibility for what they bring to the moment. It's an opportunity to grow with every minute."
Mani was intrigued and signed up for the 40-day Ocean Star Caribbean voyage.
"My time with Sea|mester and my crewmates gave me training wheels on living a life without compromise. It opened my eyes to infinite possibilities and honed my ability to become the person I aspired to be."
She found her calling. Two years later, Mani joined the crew of Argo on a 90-day voyage from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean.
"I remember one night on watch about two in the morning. A small pod of dolphins appeared in front of our bow wake. You couldn't see them by any normal light, even moonlight – all you could see were the contours of their bodies flickering with phosphorescence, their wake trailing like fairy dust behind. It left me with a deep sense of wonder at Mankind's tiny place in a vastly beautiful and diverse world."
By the end of the trip she had achieved her goal of obtaining the Master of Yachts 200 ton theory in the hope of one day sailing her own vessel around the world. Now, that dream is coming true. Mani and her fiancé, Andrew, are hard at work building a Farrier-designed 32-ft Trimaran.
"It may take us six months, it may take us six years. But it's something we'll do."
No one who sailed with Mani has the slightest doubt.