Monday, December 5, 2011

Verrazano Student Spends Summer Exploring Europe and North Africa by Sea

An increasing number of Verrazano students are spending time overseas participating in study abroad programs.  Lisa Migliorisi, a Verrazano student in the Class of 2014, participated in a unique study abroad program during the Summer of 2011 called Semester at Sea.  Semester at Sea is sponsored through the University of Virginia, and it uses a ship as a traveling campus to sail to various destinations on each voyage.  Semester at Sea operates during the traditional fall and spring semesters as well as during January and the summer months.

Hi Lisa.  It sounds like you had a very interesting summer.  What countries did you have the opportunity to visit on your voyage with the Semester at Sea Program?

The voyage took us to Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Morocco.

How did you find Semester at Sea?  What made you choose this particular program?

I couldn't decide on going to just one place, so when I saw this opportunity I thought it was perfect.

Can you describe your typical day as a study abroad student - both related to academics and outside of your course work.  How did you spend your time?

Well, there were two different types of days for me. A 'C' day (or Sea day) would be a class/traveling day. On those days breakfast was served from 7 - 8:30 and I would never miss breakfast. Then my first class was from 9:30-10:45. Then I would go back and take a nap because we were losing hours of sleep every night. My next class was 12:15 to 1:30 and lunch was served from 12:00 - 1:45 so I would run out as soon as class ended to grab lunch. After lunch it was usually time to read and tan. Between 1 and 4 was the most crowded time on the pool deck. And my last class of the day was 2:55 - 4:10. 

Luckily none of the classes I took were really heavy on homework so the rest of the day was dinner, snacks, (yes, there was snack time from 10:30-11:00) and movies. The TV was closed circuit so we could only watch certain movies on loop, but a lot of the people I became friends with brought their own movies and TV shows so we would have movie nights.

The other type of day was a Land Day, and during those days we were on our own. The ship would still serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner (no snack time though), but you did not have to attend. There was no curfew, and in fact they encouraged us to go out and experience the night life. Sometimes we would rent villas or apartments for the stay in certain countries and we wouldn't go back to the ship until we were leaving.

Your study abroad experience through Semester at Sea is particularly unique.  Is there anything that stands out to you about your study abroad program? 

This opportunity allowed me to not only compare the differences of one country to ours but of the various countries to each other.  I really got to see how each set of people were different than the next and even how small things like architecture of buildings differed greatly only a few miles away.

Did your study abroad experience relate to your major or minor or your future goals?  Have your career goals or personal goals shifted or changed at all because of your study abroad experience?

Before I left I was a declared Bio major with a pre-dental concentration. Although I wasn't completely sure this was what I wanted to do, I thought that I wanted to stay in the sciences.  But while abroad I took an Acting class, and my world was turned upside down. After returning back from my voyage I dropped all my science classes and registered for all arts classes. Since I had been at CSI I had only taken general education requirements and science courses. I never gave the arts a chance, but after experiencing this class I knew that I would be happier with the arts. Now, as I complete my first "arts semester" I realize that the arts are ten times harder than the sciences and it will require me to work that much harder but I enjoy this work and look forward to this challenge.

For more information about the study abroad voyages with Semester at Sea, please visit:

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