Thursday, November 3, 2016

Studying abroad in America, SEA Part 1 of 2

Hello everyone! My name is Kyra Thompson I am a sophomore studying marine biology at HPU. I am currently studying abroad as a part of the SEA semester program. For those of you who have not heard of this program I will explain it a little more. The program I am in is called Ocean Explorations and it has a maximum capacity of 24 students in the program. The semester is split into 2 six week chunks. The first six weeks is called the "shore component" where you live and study and take classes in Woods Hole, MA which is on Cape Cod. The second six weeks is called the "sea component" where, in my program, we travel to New Zealand to sail around in a tall ship doing research and taking more classes.

My semester started much later than HPU session started. I arrived here in Woods Hole, MA on September 26, 2016 for move in day here at the SEA campus. When I first arrived here on this small campus I was very nervous to see how I would fit in with everyone. Once being assigned my cottage, my family helped me into my room. In my house we had 8 people, 5 girls and 3 boys. The way this program works they have you become a sort of family who live together and also cook dinners together as a group. This was my favorite part because we had some very yummy meals made in my house.

Both program classes S270 and C270 
Once moved in orientation started where we learned about the classes we are going to be taking as well as how everything runs on campus. On campus with us was another program so we had two separate classes on campus at the same time. The total number of people in my program was 15. Some of the first nights together we all were getting to know each other by playing board games and card games. My favorite thing we did was go to the beach and ride the bike paths around Woods Hole and Falmouth. The weather and scenery was beautiful here for early fall. 

The classes we took here on shore were Nautical Science, Maritime Studies, and Oceanography. Our captain, Pamela, taught our nautical science class where we learned more about the tall ship we will be sailing, the Robert C. Seamans, terrestrial navigation, and celestial navigation. This class was my ultimate favorite because I got to learn more about what could be a part of my future career, living on boats. Maritime studies was more like a history class tying it all in terms of maritime history. Oceanography was like any other basic oceanography class you would take at HPU but with an additional research project attached to it that we will continue to do while at sea.
Navigation tools and charts

We took a couple field trips, one to Boston and one to New Bedford. In Boston we learned about how it used to be an old port town and a very popular one at that. We also learned how historical events that occurred there connected to maritime history. In New Bedford we went to the whaling museum and got lots of information on whaling history and how New Bedford was involved in that.

Tomorrow is my last day here in Woods Hole for my shore component. I can not believe that six weeks has already flown by and we have taken in all kinds of information that will be useful to us on the boat. I fly to New Zealand to start my actual abroad part of this program. I am super excited to start sailing around having no contact with the outside world. The best part is going to be using Polynesian navigation where you use nothing but the stars not even a compass to sail and navigate from place to place.

I will post and update again once my six week sea component is over and I gain wifi again in New Zealand on land. Wish me luck!

The tall ship we will be sailing in New Zealand, yes they still exist

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