General Information

Cruise Through Your Gap Year!!!

Do you have a son or daughter, grandchild, niece, nephew, or just someone close to your heart, not yet ready for the structure of college but who has an adventurous spirit? Did you know that there are programs for that adventuresome young adult that will earn them college credit?  Does that special someone in your life want to see and do more? How about a Gap Year Program that would allow that person to spend a semester or longer at sea studying abroad giving him/her that jump-start to a fabulous future? Read one because this is really cool!

Gap Year:

A gap year is typically a year-long break between secondary school and college but sometimes after graduating from undergraduate study and before beginning graduate school or the workforce. During the gap year, a person normally travels or performs some type of regular work. Students who take gap years usually mature faster and are better equipped to benefit from higher education or decide what field they wish to pursue. A gap year can include taking advanced courses in their chosen course of study, training for a specific trade, taking an internship, performing volunteer work, or becoming involved in cultural exchanges. Studies indicate that students who take a gap year perform better in life than those who do not. Some programs award college credit which is a huge plus and can go a long way toward a degree or on a resume.

One of the most unique gap year programs is for the student to embark on a year-long cruise visiting as many as 30 countries, experiencing the global culture, and participating in programs such as marine biology, sociology, international business etc.

This is a Great Video recorded by a student participating in a program at sea.

Cruise Through That Gap Year!

What makes studying abroad at sea so awesome?

Most study abroad programs involve living in one country for several weeks, months, or even a year with little time outside the structured program.

Study abroad cruise programs follow less of a structured model and place a comparative educational experience at the forefront. The student is studying abroad on the high seas! Instead of experiencing just one country, a student will experience many (anywhere from 2 to 30 countries). With each new country, the student will enjoy new experiences, learning many different things, tasting new foods, and finding new perspectives of the world. This experience becomes the ultimate in comparative education.

Many study-at-sea programs focus on adventure. With many of the programs, students have the chance to sail through the world on a cruise ship, but other programs allow students the chance to sail a sailing ship around the world and literally learn the ropes. Education at sea won’t disappoint.

Popular Gap Year Programs:

Following are some basic informational  links to programs that will give you an overview of some of the available Gap Year programs:

Semester at Sea Fall Voyage

 Some of the countries students visit include Germany, Spain, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Burma, Việt Nam, China, and Japan.

Eligibility: College students

Program length: one semester or up to one year

More info at

SEA Semester: Oceans and Climate

Eligibility: College students; science majors

Program length: one fall semester or summer semester at sea

More info at

Outward Bound: The Florida Keys to Brazil Leadership Semester

Students will earn their Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification, learn leadership skills, and rock climb through Itatiaia National Park, as well as complete a service project in the remote Chapada dos Veadeiros village in the Kalunga community of Brazil. Not only will you gain an appreciation for the nature you are navigating, but you will also learn to appreciate the rural Brazilian culture.

Eligibility: Students, ages 18+

Program length: Approximately three months

More info at

Semester: Indian Ocean, Singapore to South Africa

Countries, including Singapore, Sunda Islands, Borneo, Java, Bali, Christmas Island, Cocos Keeling, Mauritius, and South Africa. Oh, and you’ll also earn 12 college credits, receive International Yachtmaster Training (IYT): International Crew Certificate, your PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue, and/or Divemaster Certification. Not bad for one semester abroad, eh?

Eligibility: College students

Program length: 90 days

More info at

Evolve Abroad: Marine Specialist Work & Summer Study Programs

Eligibility: Students, ages 18+

Program length: 1 month

More info at

High School Study Abroad Programs at Sea:

High school on a ship? Yes, please.

Outward Bound: The Florida Keys to Costa Rica Leadership Semester

For those high school students who have reached the age of 18

Eligibility: 18+

Program length: Approximately 3 months (85 days)

More info at

SEA Expedition.

Eligibility: High school students with sophomore, junior, or senior status

Program length: Approximately 2 weeks, summer only

More info at

Class Afloat

This is a Canadian-based program but open to international students.

Eligibility: High school juniors and/or seniors, gap year students, college students

Program length: One semester (four months) or full academic year (8.5 months)

More info:

A+ World Academy

Eligibility: Ages 15–18

Program length: Full academic year only

More info at

Conclusion and Final Thoughts:

Many years ago, my Gap Year was spent traveling through Greece. Amazing doesn’t even begin to describe that year! It inspired me to seek new adventures. My curiosity to experience different cultures was developing and years later I still yearn to travel and still do. Travel has given me a unique perspective on our wonderful world, its people, and the different cultures. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

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