Ready for an adventure with a purpose? Request info »
  • Search SEA Semester, Summer and High School Programs
Sea Education Association

About SEA

Student Stories

Claire Parker

Claire Parker

SEA Semester Class:

S-226 (Oceans & Climate)


Bates College



SEA Semester Research Focus:

Scientific Research - Effect of ENSO Strength on Eastern Equatorial Current Transport

Why did you choose SEA Semester?

For years I had really wanted to spend time on a tall ship. I looked at a couple programs involving tall ships, but SEA Semester was easily the most scientifically rigorous. The scientific rigor, plus the descriptions of life at sea, with emphasis on the destination being the sea itself, and the friendly signatures of “Fair Winds” (indicating cheery people I’d like to spend time with) made my decision to apply only to SEA Semester.

What were the strongest aspects of SEA Semester?

The community building (under flowing necessity to rely on each other and be relied upon), the hands-on oceanography even in areas unrelated to the student’s project, and the JWO experience.

What were the most challenging aspects of SEA Semester?

Being JWO was stressful. There were so many important things to remember, with everything happening at once, seemingly too few people, and the unexpected happening at light speed, while still trying to be a pleasant individual—I was always worried about what kind of leader I was being as I gave my friends orders, but never had enough mental capacity at the time to figure out if I was the kind of leader I wanted to be. I also had some trouble adjusting to not being able to use the galley whenever I wanted to. The academics in the shore component were more vigorous than I had expected, but were generally very interesting and relevant.

Words of advice for future SEA Semester students?

The best advice I can give is to remain open to whatever might happen. It might be raining during watch, but there’s nothing you can do about that, so accept the fact you’re going to get wet, and try to enjoy the watch anyway. Your watch might be on watch during the Christmas party, but remember that this means you can sleep afterwards while many other people will have to stay awake. A negative attitude will just bog you down in your sad complaints.