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SAS Sweethearts

Love has a way of finding us in the most unexpected places and for over 800 individuals (and counting!), this unexpected place was on a Semester at Sea voyage.

As Valentine’s Day casts its romantic glow across the world, we’re sharing heartwarming stories from alumni who met their sweethearts on Semester at Sea!

Mason Martin & Valeria Cintora

How did you meet? We met at CSU!

Favorite SAS memory? Our favorite memory was when did a field program in Myanmar and visited the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp. We got to feed, wash, and experience the elephants firsthand together. I was the only guy in our group and our field guide loved chatting it up. While we were there another couple was doing a traditional Myanmar wedding, in hindsight this may have been a good omen. We both fell in love with caring for the animals and enjoyed the experience.

When did you get married? We got married on September 25, 2023, in Crested Butte, CO. 

Favorite travel destination? Japan

Kaitlin (Segal) & Thomas Stoddard

How did you meet? We met on Semester at Sea. Tommy was the very first person I met in San Diego the night before we were bussed to Ensenada to board the ship. By the end of the voyage, we had become best friends and fallen in love. 

Favorite SAS memory? Tommy woke me up to watch the sunrise as we pulled into Cape Town, South Africa. It was a beautiful morning followed by an incredible day hiking Table Mountain and wine tasting all afternoon with our friends.

When did you get married? We got married on July 23, 2015, at the Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. 

Favorite travel destination? Hawaii will always be special to us because we got married there, our youngest little one is named Kai meaning “sea” in Hawaiian. We love traveling the world with our two kids, Bella (3.5) and Kai (1.5). After Semester at Sea, we had the travel bug and moved to Sydney, Australia together. 13 years later we are still living here and are now citizens! All thanks to Semester at Sea.

Shauna & Matthew Parisi

How did you meet? Matt and I both sailed as students on the spring 2010 voyage around the world. We were actually in completely separate groups of friends, so we only knew of each other but never spent time together. Fast forward to August 2011 when we were both invited to attend the Forum on Global Engagement from Boston to Montreal. It was there that we reconnected, spent time together, and ultimately shortly after started dating

Favorite SAS memory? We’ve had the privilege to sail together two times after our student voyage as staff members – spring 2014 and fall 2018. I’ve loved all of our travels together and getting to visit and revisit places together. But my favorite memory is when Matt proposed to me on the MV Explorer the night before we embarked on the spring 2014 voyage. I had NO idea it was going to happen, but Matt somehow facilitated both of our families and some friends to be there. He got down on one knee in Tymitz Square and everyone else was watching from above. I will never forget that day!

When did you get married? We got married on April 11, 2015, on the water in Dana Point, California. Our parents surprised us with a giant ice sculpture of the Explorer at our wedding reception. Two of my SAS besties were bridesmaids in our wedding too!

Favorite travel destination? Oh gosh, we have so many! I think the shipboard community might be our favorite “destination”. There’s nothing like being on the ship with everyone, watching sunsets, bonding over shared experiences. We just love it. Although we do love visiting South Africa, that might be a close second!

Shannon (Walley) & Jonathan Fore

How did you meet? In a bar in the Bahamas, the night before getting on the ship

Favorite SAS memory? Safari in Ngorongoro Crater

When did you get married? Cabo San Lucas, January 15, 2006

Favorite travel destination? The Maldives

Laura and John Babcock 

How did you meet? On the beach in Nassau before the boat left on the Atlantic crossing

Favorite SAS memory? Let’s just say we had a lot of fun in Malaysia!

When did you get married? June 1, 1996 at San Marino Community Church with the reception at The California Club in downtown Los Angeles.

Favorite travel destination? Anywhere in Italy.

Jennifer & Prithvi Mulchandani

How did you meet? Prithvi and I met on the Spring 94 Voyage; we were both in the Ionian Sea on the SS Universe, and we had just set sail from Nassau, Bahamas. We met at the first “Sea meeting” and found ourselves in the same large friend group from the start.

Favorite SAS memory? Our favorite memory is from before we started dating – Prithvi and I spent every day together in South Africa, along with our closest friends. We did everything from a tour of the Parliament and a visit to a township to driving to the Cape of Good Hope, hiking Table Mountain, and visiting wineries in Stellenbosh. But the real highlight of that port was meeting some local school teachers one night who invited us to join them at a Nelson Mandela political rally in a nearby area. We packed into our rental car, with people on laps, and got to experience the powerful Nelson Mandela delivering a speech mere months before the historic election that reinstated him as President of South Africa. We crawled under the huge yellow and white striped tent to find a spot on the grass to hear him speak – and he noticed our large, obviously American, student group and asked us to stand – he spoke of how America is a leader in Democracy, and how it is South Africa’s turn. It has been 30 years and this memory is etched in our minds and will be, forever.

When did you get married? We got married in 1999 in Reston, Virginia. Fun fact: three months after getting married, we both took a sabbatical from our jobs and sailed on the MV Explorer as staff on the Spring 2000 voyage!

Favorite travel destination? Our favorite travel destination is wherever we are going! Since two voyages, we have made a point to invest in as much exploration as possible. Especially with our kids! It was super important to us that our kids see travel as an adventure and a way to learn about culture – so when our youngest of three turned five, we started taking big trips. With our family, we’ve explored Nicaragua, Amsterdam, Uganda, Thailand, India, Cambodia, and China. Our oldest son, Ben, is on the current voyage of Semester at Sea.

Suellen and Jim Sorenson

Watch Suellen and Jim’s endearing video they submitted to share their #SASSweethearts story!

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