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Student Stories

Malcolm Johnson

Malcolm Johnson

SEA Semester Class:

C-238 (Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean)


Wichita State University



SEA Semester Research Focus:

Scientific Research - Effects of Ocean Acidification on Pteropods in the Caribbean
Humanities Research - Conservation Efforts of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico

Why did you choose SEA Semester?

I chose to study abroad with SEA semester in order to learn skills that other students could only dream of learning. No other program offers you the chance to not only do school work but to develop an ability to sail.

What was the singular most memorable moment of your SEA Semester experience?

On the evening of Christmas, after an amazing day of merriment, joy, and a sperm whale, I was on bow watch. Below the bowsprit I heard splashing and squeaking. I peered over the boat and noticed shimmering figures in the water. Dolphins were playing in our bow wake, glowing due to the bioluminescent plankton hitting their bodies. The scene lasted about an hour and can only be described as ‘magical’.

What were the strongest aspects of SEA Semester?

Every time I was woken up, usually for watch, I knew that I would learn something new. There were plenty of skills to be taught and practiced daily, requiring attention every moment. I learned more during the 6 weeks at sea than most people do in a year of school.

What were the most challenging aspects of SEA Semester?

The most challenging aspect of SEA Semester was the first week at sea. In this time, one must get over sea sickness, get their sea legs, learn all the lines and how to handle them, and become competent in oceanic science procedures. The only way to overcome the challenge is to work even harder to familiarize oneself with the vessel.

Words of advice for future SEA Semester students?

Be prepared for the adventure of a lifetime!