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Finding the Spirit of South Carolina

Posted by: stahlal | November 11, 2020 | No Comment |

Photo Courtesy of “Spirit of South Carolina” Facebook Page

By Abby Stahl

Nestled in the Charleston harbor is a special opportunity awaiting the students of the College of Charleston. The Spirit of South Carolina is a tall ship built to historical specs that offers students the chance to connect with the history and community of Charleston through the very waterways that built up commerce and trade. We got to sit down with one of the program’s key administrators, Professor Blake Scott of the International Studies Department, to talk about what the College’s partnership with The Spirit offers not only students but also the community.

The ship travels through the old maritime route followed during the Triangle of Trade that allowed the early colonies, like Charleston, to build up major port cities. Manned by a small crew of trained sailors but also with the aid of the students on board, the ship travels through the Caribbean, into Havana and back up to Charleston, stopping in other southern port towns along the way. This spring, the ship would have arrived home just in time for some of the major 250th anniversary celebrations taking place for the College, and the 300th anniversary for the city in the spring, but those fell through due to the Covid outbreak that happened that March. Study onboard has been enjoyed by several students in the past couple of years, not only at C of C but also the Citadel, and the ship has hosted many tourist and local events of the city.

Editorial: Events add to Charleston's rich maritime history | Editorials | postandcourier.com

Photo courtesy of Sylvia Jarrus, The Post & Courier

Classes offered aboard included Beginning Sailing, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, and Caribbean Crossroads, appealing to a wide variety of majors and minors. Distinguished C of C faculty were sailing alongside students on board. The ship was even set to meet with Dr. Scott and his students studying abroad in Havanan, Cuba when they docked for two weeks.

Though the global pandemic put a halt to most of the program’s Spring calendar for last year, they found creative ways to continue in a socially distant manor and hope to return stronger than ever with more chances for student involvement in the future. The ship played host to the Port Cities Conference and still stands as a point of pride in the harbor. It represents not only where we came from but rather what we are, as it offers both the public and students an interactive window into history. Sure to be a unique way to see the world both now and then, the Semester at Sea program hopes to return once it is safe to do so. To learn more and to see what it’s like to live out a Semester At Sea, check out the video!

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