Shipboard Learning for the Planet

There are lessons you learn while spending weeks on a sailboat that can’t be taught in a classroom.

That’s the idea behind SEA Semester, an unorthodox study abroad program that teaches students about the ocean, while sailing upon its blue waves.

SEA Semester introduces students from varying disciplines – science, humanities, and ‘undecided’ – to the powerful role of the ocean in the environment, over four to six weeks aboard a 134-foot sailboat.

“Environmentalism and conservation are core elements of SEA Semester’s mission,” said Lauren Zike, Web and Publications Coordinator at SEA Semester. “Students are focused on gaining a deeper understanding of critical issues including climate change, sustainability, biodiversity, human impact on the environment, and environmental justice.”

Students also get to explore off-the-beaten-path ports, from Barbados to New Zealand. It sounds like a dream yachting experience, but it’s not without its challenges.

“They tend to have a much deeper understanding of their own environmental impacts on land after spending weeks at sea living in a self-sustaining microcosm,” said Zike. “Students typically say that it was harder than they thought it would be, both in terms of the academics and the shipboard experience.”

Using the .eco domain was a natural choice for SEA Semester, who is using the domain to communicate the environmental aspects of their brand. Backed by more than 50 environmental organizations, .eco is a new web address ending for anyone committed to positive change for the planet.

“The undergraduate audience consumes information at a rapid pace from a wide variety of sources,” said Zike. “So anything we can do to quickly impress upon them the basis of our mission will be to our advantage.”

When people see the .eco symbol, they can be sure that the organization is committed to their environmental mandate.

If you’re an environmentally-minded student who shares a passion for the ocean and commitment to the planet, check out