Hannah Crichton: Sailing the world with Semester at Sea
Sunrise at the Great Wall of China was "epic," says
'I have realized what I have -- and what I don't need.'
Interview by Kiné Camara, University Communications Intern
Visited: Spain, Morocco, Ghana, India, Singapore, South Africa, Mauritius, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Japan, and Hawaii
Travel Program: Semester at Sea; I took classes with mostly American students and some international students
Academics: I took the following classes with American and international students:
- Global Studies
- Intro to Comedic Acting
- Intermediate Spanish
- American Contemporary Social Issues
Amazing mentor: I had the opportunity to take classes from Desmond Tutu. He is the most life-changing man and a great mentor. In Global Studies, he lectured about country relations, apartheid, philosophies, and ways to make the world better.
International roommates: On the ship I lived in a cabin with two roommates, one from Germany and another from Bangladesh. While visiting each country I lived in homestays, hostels, and even camped outside!
Hannah Crichton studied with Desmond Tutu.
Meeting people: I met students on the ship and when I traveled on my own, I met locals by asking for directions, help, or a place to sleep. Locals were always welcoming when I took interest in their culture. I also did a service project in India and stayed in the village.
Favorite place: I camped out on the Great Wall of China one night and in the morning the sunrise was epic.
Favorite new-learned word: Ubuntu (Bantu language) means "I am because we are". This word embodies a philosophy of caring, sharing, respecting one another, and engaging in community. I learned this philosophy from my professor, Desmond Tutu.
New-learned cultural norm: In India, I learned that there are norms about which hand to use for a hand shake, eating, etc. Following these cultural norms was important to show respect.
Meet more globe-trotting students:
Most memorable experience: While in Morocco, on a hike to the Berber villages, my tour guide (a local) revealed that he was a huge Shania Twain fan. For the remainder of the excursion, we belted Shania Twain songs together and it taught me that people can relate to each other everywhere no matter the differences between them.
Greatest challenge while studying abroad: To be open-minded and avoid judging other cultures. Other cultures are different, not wrong, and I learned to respect that.
Advice to a student looking look to study abroad:
- Do something you have never done before.
- Live in the present.
Paying for study abroad: I was fortunate to have my father and grandmother pay for the trip. It was significantly more than a typical Western quarter.
Advice for families:
- Give your student space to experience their study abroad.
- Upon their return, listen intently to your student's experience.
How did your study abroad experience change your future plans? My perspective on life is significantly different. I have realized what I have and what I don't need. I am grateful and want a career in which I can give back.