As I am 95 days out from embarking on my Semester at Sea Fall voyage, I wanted to take some time to reflect on all the preparation I have done and still have to do. 

Semester at Sea has been a dream of mine since I was in middle school, but I never thought I would have the opportunity to follow that dream. At some point during my second semester of freshman year at Alabama, I started to do more research into studying abroad. I met with the EA department via zoom and discussed potential options, including Semester at Sea. As I started to look more into traditional study abroad programs in countries such as Italy and Ireland, I still could not stop thinking about going on Semester at Sea. Last summer, I made the big decision to apply for the Fall 2024 voyage. Although I knew that it was a lot of money, I did not let that stop me from enrolling in the program. 

I started to do more preparation in the fall to get ready for the voyage. I was offered a job opportunity for the school year and I took advantage of the opportunity to save some money to pay for my Semester at Sea. I met with my major advisors and the EA advisors many times to make sure everything was set in place and I was on the right track. I also had to work with the financial aid department to make sure my scholarships would transfer over. Something else I did to prepare during this time was find a sublessor for my lease for the semester I would be gone. 

My first few weeks of spring semester of this year were filled with scholarship applications. I spent a lot of time applying to scholarships offered from UA, SAS, and other groups such as NSCS. As I continued to prepare, I did face some minor setbacks. Since I came into UA with credits from the early college and AP courses, I struggled to find classes that would fit my leftover requirements for graduation. I already had completed almost all of my general education and lower division business classes. Luckily, I worked side by side with Culverhouse and EA advisors in order to add an international business minor and get special approval for some classes I would be taking. Once I got past this situation, I started to work on getting all my vaccines and medications. I was able to go to the Student Health Center on campus to obtain most vaccines and medications I needed. I was glad I was ahead on this as it took time to get some medications filled and/or ordered. 

Other things I have done in preparation include attending a PDO, booking flights to Amsterdam (departure port), registering for classes through SAS, and doing extensive research on my journey ahead. I was able to get in all the classes I needed, but registration was very nerve wracking. I will be taking Global Studies, Marketing, Comparative Economic Systems, and Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship on the voyage. My journey will embark in Amsterdam and disembark in Bangkok. The ports the voyage will be stopping at include Portugal, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Hong Kong, and Vietnam. As of today, I have accomplished a lot in preparation but still have much more ahead. I know all the time and effort I have put in will be more than worth it when I embark on my once in a lifetime journey this fall. I cannot wait to explore the world via ship and gain a broader understanding of the world!