Reflection after Semester at Sea by Chase Hirshorn

Embarking on my Semester At Sea journey, we were presented with an extraordinary opportunity—to travel from Belgium to Thailand, passing through the Suez Canal and visiting 12 diverse countries along the way. However, the course of our adventure took an unexpected turn due to an unforeseen conflict in the Middle East.

Originally set to enter the Suez Canal and explore destinations like Jordan, Dubai, and India, our plans faced a change. The pivotal moment unfolded as all passengers were summoned to the Anderson Union, a spacious gathering room that accommodated everyone. In this gathering, the executive dean shared the news—we were making a U-turn in the Mediterranean Ocean, our next port uncertain. The revised plan involved circumnavigating the entire continent of Africa, still hoping to reach our final destinations in Asia.

While uncertainty loomed over our journey, I chose to maintain a positive outlook, trusting that the decisions made by the executive team were in our best interest and aimed at ensuring our safety.

Our unexpected detour led us to captivating ports such as Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, Cape Town, and Mauritius. The landscapes were diverse, the cultures rich, and each destination held its own unique charm. Despite the initial disappointment of deviating from our planned route, the journey granted us unexpected discoveries and adventures.

Cape Town, in particular, emerged as a highlight and one of my favorite ports. The immersion in South African culture, the thrilling safari experiences, heart-pounding skydiving adventures, and visits to some of the world’s finest wineries created memories that surpassed any preconceived notions of our original itinerary. Reflecting on this, I realized that these incredible moments would have never came to be if not for the diversion of our route.

This Semester At Sea voyage became a transformative journey that not only broadened my understanding of global citizenship but also equipped me with the resilience to adapt to the most unforeseeable circumstances while living aboard a ship. Our 132nd voyage of Semester At Sea has truly been an unparalleled adventure—an odyssey that unfolded beyond the constraints of a predetermined route, leaving us with experiences that will forever shape our perspectives on the world and our place in it.

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