Coming of Age: For Melissa Fuller, with the ocean as her classroom, the learning was deep.
"The horn blew and I was off for the fall semester of my junior year of college. Along with some 700 students from all over the United States and almost 100 professors, faculty, and staff, I found myself on a cruise ship converted into a floating university on a program called "Semester at Sea" (www.semesteratsea.com
) through the Institute for Shipboard Education. Starting in Vancouver, B.C., and ending up in Kobe, Japan, our shipboard "community" spent 100 days visiting many other ports: Shanghai, China; Hong Kong; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Bangkok, Thailand; Chennai, India; Dar Es Saalam, Tanzania; Cape Town, South Africa; Salvador, Brazil; and La Guaria, Venezuela.
"While on the ship, we took classes just like at any normal university. I quickly became accustomed to seeing dolphins swim past my classroom windows. As the trip went on, the students on our ship gained a strange kind of "worldliness." They played African drums on the deck, listened to Brazilian music uploaded onto their iPods, and chatted about what they did on safari as if it were just last weekend's trip to the movies. It was amazing to feel comfortable roaming so many parts of the world, places we otherwise would've never had the chance to experience."