By Michael Strasburger | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo contributed by Jackie Werboff
While the semester is settling into a routine for most students, one Flagler student is breaking from tradition and getting her education on the high seas.
Flagler College junior Jackie Werboff is currently circumnavigating the globe on the 100th voyage of Semester at Sea, the United States’ first study abroad program held on a ship. The program is in its 45th year of operation and has had over 45,000 college students participate since its conception.
Werboff is living onboard the MV Explorer, a vessel that serves as home to about 550 students, faculty and staff. The vessel is also fitted with necessary elements to make it a traveling university such as wireless Internet, a student union and an 8,000-book library.
Werboff and the other participating students represent more than 250 colleges and universities around the world.
The voyage departed in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Aug. 28 and runs 108 days, stopping in 13 ports including Cape Town, South Africa, and Kobe, Japan, before returning to San Diego, Calif., on Dec. 14.
“I’ve always wanted to travel,” Werboff said. “I really had no idea what to expect and I think that was the best part — no expectations. It makes everything a surprise.”
Students onboard take university courses while sailing around the world. The Institute for Shipboard Education, a nonprofit organization that directs the Semester at Sea program, organizes the classes. Students earn academic credit through the University of Virginia.
“We don’t have classes while we’re in port, just when we’re sailing,” Werboff said. “Saturday and Sunday are just like any other day . . . if we’re at sea. So it’s pretty strange having eight days of school in a row and then six days of no classes.”
The Institute also holds nightly seminars with topics ranging from religious studies to photography workshops.
Werboff’s favorite part is interacting with the locals in each country. “I spent a total of eight hours with two locals from Cadiz [Spain] that I met my first night and we talked about so many things I never thought or wondered,” she said. “It’s most interesting to realize how similar we all are on this earth.”