Cultivating Global Citizenship

Semester at Sea teaches students how to interact with a wide range of cultures and people from varied backgrounds — pushing students’ understanding of the world into new directions and perspectives. Our program ultimately helps students become global citizens who are prepared and motivated to take on the world’s most pressing issues.

What Is a Global Citizen?

Global citizens are members of a world community who contribute to and respect the worlds’ values, practices, and cultures.

A global citizen is aware of one’s self, mindful of cultural influences, engaged in learning about and accepting of all people and places, has empathy toward others, and has developed a global understanding of how we are all connected.

Semester at Sea students are bright, thoughtful, and involved young thinkers, eager to gain a deeper understanding of the world. Students of all majors and backgrounds have found that the academic program not only fits the requirements of their majors, but goes far beyond that to magnify their knowledge of the world and their commitment to global understanding.

Why Become a Global Citizen?

The journey toward developing a global citizenship perspective is exciting and sometimes challenging — but the rewards are far-reaching and last a lifetime.

A New Perspective

Semester at Sea students engage with people of other cultures, learning how they live and what makes them unique. These experiences, combined with academic context and a supportive community, allow for lasting shifts in perception toward a global worldview.

Personal Growth

The first time a student steps foot onto the ship, their path toward personal growth begins. They will face many challenges during their voyage that will push them outside of their comfort zones, test their belief structure, and change their perspective on cultural norms.

Global Leadership

Once students’ eyes are open to the realities and challenges of our world, they become empowered to be agents of change as they seek to make a difference in local and global communities.

Creating the Next Generation of Global Citizens

Students are the future. We believe our students will do great things in the world because of the education and experience they receive during Semester at Sea, both in the countries they visit and on the ship. Students who embrace our mission often change their major or life goals to reflect more service learning opportunities. We hope to create leaders who will have a positive and lasting impact on this world. We hope the lessons learned on a voyage will influence a lifetime of empathy and global awareness.

It is our responsibility to create opportunities that enable students to realize their full potential on our interconnected planet and within the international community.

Learning Cohorts

You may apply to participate in a learning cohort as part of your Semester at Sea experience. Semester at Sea currently offers two cohorts: 1) Social impact (the Chapman Impact Cohort); and 2) the Engineering Cohort. We encourage all engineering majors and students interested in the Chapman Impact program to indicate their interest when submitting their admission application.

Learn more:

How It Works

Semester at Sea introduces undergraduate students to global and comparative studies by focusing on structural and social changes taking place in the world today by:

  • Building the insight necessary for perceiving and understanding our increasingly complex and interdependent world
  • Learning how to interact with cultures and people of developed and emerging nations
  • Developing a better awareness of one’s own culture through comparison and contrast with other cultures
  • Observing and understanding world issues through first-hand observation
  • Learning to think critically, with knowledge and understanding about the variety of issues and opportunities that challenge today’s world
  • Developing a better understanding of the relationships between nations of the world
  • Learning about one’s self through service learning projects
  • Growing through the challenge of living and learning in a closely integrated shipboard community.

Voyage Community Values

The Voyage Community Values are the bedrock of every Semester at Sea voyage. Together they encapsulate the culture we aim to foster and the organizational vision we aim to achieve — to be an internationally recognized leader in forming global citizens who positively impact our interconnected world. This vision being realized is dependent upon every voyager embracing and enacting these values while on the ship and in port.


We commit to the health, safety, and well-being of ourselves, all members of our voyage community, and members of the communities we will visit.


We understand our actions and attitudes have an impact locally and globally. We always seek to positively affect the planet and the people around us near and far.


We honor the inherent dignity of all people with an abiding commitment to freedom of expression, scholarly discourse, and the advancement of knowledge. We have the right to be treated, and the responsibility to treat others, with fairness and equity.


We ensure inclusive environments that welcome, value, affirm, and embrace all people within the shipboard community and in each country we visit. Learn more about diversity and inclusion.


We are honest and ethical in all of our interactions, including our academic work. We hold ourselves accountable for our actions.


We model the highest academic standards of preparation, inquiry, and knowledge and consistently seek to understand complex issues and express informed opinions with courage and conviction.

Semester at Sea Learning Outcomes

Each voyager’s journey is unique. Here are some of the many positive outcomes that we have seen exhibited by our students through their voyage experiences:

Hear From Past Voyagers

Semester at Sea was the best decision I made while getting my undergraduate degree. The experiences I had have impacted who I am, such as seeing the southern cross constellation for the first time and truly understanding that we are all global citizens. I think about my voyage everyday and can’t wait to travel as a Lifelong Learner someday!

A lot of my personal travels and the path toward the creation of Pencils of Promise started as a student on Semester at Sea. It was not only the best, but most important thing that I’ve ever done because it set me on the path to becoming a global citizen.

Ready to Set Sail?

Take the first step on the journey of a lifetime.