Op-Eds Opinion

Tales of a Semester at Sea

Gabby DeMarchi/The Student

Gabby DeMarchi

A&E Editor

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of installments from Gabby Demarchi who is currently studying abroad as part of the Semester at Sea program.

Life aboard the Ship: Adjusting to a Semester at Sea

Greetings SCers! I have been aboard the MV Explorer for exactly a week now and so far, everything has been going quite smoothly.

Life on the ship is unlike anything else. When I boarded the ship, I found out that my room is stationed directly next to the engine. Now, I have trouble sleeping in general. The only way I can fall asleep is when the room is pitch black with no noises at all, so upon hearing that my room was right next to the engine, I panicked. I can officially say that it hasn’t been that bad. It isn’t too loud at all, which I am totally thankful for. I’ve also found that the motions and vibrations of the ship put me right to sleep. It’s like being rocked like a baby, so soothing. The other thing you have to get used to is walking around while the ship is moving.

Now that is an experience.

It is not uncommon to see someone take an extra step to gain their balance or stumble a bit as they rush to find their next class. You are constantly swaying as you walk. You just have to try your hardest not to lose your balance and sway right into someone!

The classes on the ship have been very enjoyable as well. I’m taking four classes. Global Studies is one, which everyone has to take on the ship. This class prepares you for each port we visit and gives you history about the countries we will be exploring.

I’m also taking Globalization through Cinema. While I’ve only had that class once so far, the one piece of homework I’ve been given is to watch Casino Royale.

That’s the coolest homework I’ve ever been assigned!

Half the time I’m on the boat I tend to forget I’m going to school! Between planning for the different ports, trying to catch up on sleep (the time has already changed twice since I’ve been on the ship) and trying to stay in touch with family and friends, it is sometimes easy to forget that I’m here to learn too!

All of the classes are great though. The teachers are amazing. All of them are experts in their field, and you can tell they truly love what they are teaching.

The other SC students and I have been having a great time. On several occasions, the four of us (Ryan Murphy, Ryan Donahue and Lindsay Hutchinson) find ourselves getting dinner together and hanging out. We have very much stayed in close contact with each other, yet we also seem to be doing our own things and making our own friends at the same time.

Overall, this experience has been great thus far. While I’m still trying to get comfortable with my surroundings, I also already feel as if I am part of this great SAS community. Community is really stressed here. Everyone is so open and friendly.

Oh my, Dominica!

What a country. I honestly had the most amazing time, and it was only the first port. It is one of the lesser known of the Tropic Islands, but people need to know about this country.

Dominica is known as the Nature Country. Blue skies, blue waters and the greenest foliage you’ll ever see are the three best ways to describe this amazing country.

With my two days in port, I hiked, swam, met locals and ate some amazing food.

On Jan. 23, I hiked Middleham Falls. Let’s just say I’m not a big hiker. I’ve done some hiking in the past, but I wouldn’t consider it a hobby. The last time I hiked, I climbed Mt. Greylock and that kicked my butt.

The hike was totally amazing, but the best part was getting to the incredible 100-foot waterfall. While we were there, we got to swim and take pictures. I, of course, took pictures with my Terrible Towel (for my Mom).

Cheryl DeMarchi wants me to take pictures with the Terrible Towel in every country (like the commercials on ESPN), and I am totally down to do it. It’ll be cool to look back at all of the Terrible Towel pictures I took. Maybe I’ll even send them to ESPN.

After our hike back into Roseau (the capital of Dominica), junior Ryan Murphy, and another friend Hannah and I explored Roseau for around four hours. Along the way, we met some amazing people, had some great cuisine and just truly experienced the culture for what it was.

When our first day of Dominica exploring was in the bag, we prepared ourselves for another amazing day. The day before, the group of us met this amazing cab driver, Ken. He made us a great deal none of us could pass up. The deal was he would take us anywhere for the day for just twenty bucks.

Most cab drivers in Dominica take advantage of the stupid American kids who have money, but Ken wasn’t like that. He wanted to show us his country and he wanted us to experience the pure beauty and amazement of it. With that, Ken took us to Scotshead, which was a place where we could see both the Atlantic and Caribbean oceans. While there, we hiked some more and swam in the bluest of waters. The whole place was breathtaking.

Ken then took us to this little place called Rodney’s Retreat for lunch. It was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Apparently, people flock there to get married. While there, I picked and ate guava, orange, grapefruit and cocoa.

I literally fell in love with Dominica, and we were only there for two days. Dominica was amazing, but I know it’s only going to get better. The next port of call is Brazil. Get ready for some great stories!

Learn more of Gabby’s travels as she is blogging from all around the world this semester.

Gabby DeMarchi may be reached at gabrielle.demarchi.s12@semesteratsea.org

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