The Semester at Sea program, without a doubt, was a life-changing experience for Ihab Anwar, who completed his round through the North Sea, Atlantic and Caribbean just last December. A studious academic and current student at the University of Rhode Island, Anwar won’t ever forget the incredible three month journey he shared with 700 of his fellow sailing enthusiasts; students seeking just a little bit more than the experience of classroom instruction could afford.
Ihab Anwar first learned of the famed study abroad program just two years ago, and was skeptical at first as to the freedom to learn and experience the program would actually offer. His skepticism, however, was overridden by a growing excitement to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; the chance to visit 15 different countries throughout the Eastern seaboard in one fatal swoop.
For over a year, Dr. Ihab Anwar virtually begged his parents to sign off on the adventure, gradually breaking down their defenses by showing his research on the organization, the itinerary and its long history of success and acclaim throughout the field of education. His parents, who caved just six months before the trip went underway, were quite impressed at Anwar’s tenacity, and gave their permission, and a hefty check, to the Institute for Shipboard Education in early 2014.
Learning aboard a ship, at least for Anwar, was an interesting experience, as classroom instruction was made an integral, if not central part, of the learning at sea process. Though Anwar and his classmates received a powerful firsthand learning experience in 17 different port cities throughout the globe, they were also required to sit through and complete work on such classroom subjects as science, mathematics, English and more.
Ihab Anwar appreciates the complementary learning process, or the division between classroom instruction and in-the-field experience, the Semester at Sea provided. The voyage, which totaled 108 days, provided Anwar and his shipmates a truly special learning opportunity they won’t soon forget, as well as an incredible bonding experience with each other that worked to create, in some cases at least7, lifelong friendships.
“The time aboard the MV Explorer was something that will stick in my head forever,” Dr. Ihab Anwar remarked in his journal. “I wish it would’ve lasted much longer, but I am grateful for the chance to see and experience things I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. Lisbon was my favorite place to visit by far.”