Semester at Sea Port 1: The Beautiful Dominica!

I am on a program called Semester at Sea, it is run through the University of Virginia. This program has been in place since 1963 and has had over 100 voyages, my voyage is the 108th!

I chose this program because I get to live on a boat and travel around the world, what could be better than that? I would love to spend a semester in one location and really get to know the culture and way of life, but that will have to wait! I chose this program because I wanted to see the world, I wanted to go to all of these unique countries that I will probably never have the chance to go back to.

Our itinerary is as follows: Nassau, Bahamas; Roseau, Dominica; Manaus, Brazil; Tema, Ghana; Cape Town, South Africa; Port Louis, Mauritius; Cochin, India; Singapore; Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam; Hong Kong, China; Shanghai, China; Kobe, Japan; Yokohama, Japan; Hilo, Hawaii; and finally San Diego, California! Doesn’t sound too bad right?!

Semester at Sea is a very unique experience and it opens your eyes to a whole new world. I am so excited to be able to visit all of these different countries and learn as much as I can about the local people, the culture, the food, the government, and so on.

I am from New York; born and raised. In high school I traveled to Nicaragua every year to build houses, I traveled to Greece for a few weeks with my sister one summer, and I have been to Canada a few times. Those are the only places I have been to outside of the U.S. and they were all unbelievable. I love to travel and experience new things and just put myself out there, that is part of the reason I chose this program.

I think one of the most important parts of traveling is learning about where you are. It is very important to me that I interact with the local people, eat the local food, dance the local dance, and learn about the history of where I am. As of right now, I am in the middle of the Ocean! The ship (never call it a boat…it is offensive to the captain!) is beautiful and it has everything you could possibly want, it is just like a little campus. This is going to be my home for the next few months; waking up to the ocean, doing homework outside on the deck while the wind is blowing in your face, and being rocked back and forth as I fall asleep at night. We have a gym, a spa (a little excessive, I think), a library, a computer lab, classrooms, 2 dinning areas, a pool, a pool bar, and so much more.

As far as the voyage goes: we all met in the Bahamas and left from there for 3 days at sea. Before we knew it, we were in Dominica! No, not the Dominican Republic as many people think. Dominica is a small island to the south-east of the Bahamas. Columbus discovered this island on a Sunday (Domingo in Spanish) and hence named it Dominica. We were there for two days and it was AMAZING. The island is over 90% rainforest and it has so much natural beauty.

One day I went tubing down the longest river on the island and swam in Emerald pool where there was a gorgeous waterfall. We spent the rest of the day wondering around the city and exploring everything that Dominica had to offer. The next day we went snorkeling which was mind-blowing. I had never been snorkeling before and I was amazed at how much I could see. We saw fish of all different colors, turtles, plants, and so much more. We snorkeled at a place called Champagne Reef; one of the top 10 snorkeling destinations in the world! Dominica’s national food used to be frog legs, but they are now an endangered species, so they aren’t allowed to hunt them anymore. Dominica was a beautiful island and an incredible first stop on this voyage. The locals were so nice and welcoming and the island had so much to offer, I would love to return there one day! So far this has been an amazing experience and I can already tell that I am going to LOVE it!

Submitted by Abroad101 Global Ambassador Theresa Coreli