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Semester at Sea scoops two RMC students for fall transatlantic travel

BILLINGS, September 4, 2014 – An ocean of experience awaits two RMC students this fall as part of a Semester at Sea program. During 108 shipboard days, students will visit 16 countries on a transatlantic study abroad experience.

Senior Jennifer Murphy (’15) of Walpole, Mass., and sophomore Shelby Jurewicz (’17) of Gillette, Wyo., are elementary education majors who expect to apply their experience to their careers.

Murphy returns in spring to “student teach and then graduate! I am really excited to talk to locals at each port and develop an understanding for their way of life and learn about their food and other important parts of their culture.” A traveler since her youth, she says, “Learning about culture really fascinates me. Before I go, I am researching each country. We can read all we want from books about different cultures, but actually experiencing those cultures first hand is an amazing opportunity.”  

Likewise, Jurewicz said, “I tried talking my parents into it and they wouldn’t let me until I re-brought it up and … told them I was going. I chose Semester at Sea [for RMC study abroad] because I couldn't just choose one place to go visit.

“Honestly, I hope to grow as a person, become more independent. I have to be when I'm going to London on my own for three days before the ship takes off.”

Murphy combined her love of childhood cruises with the study abroad options she perused with the director of international programs at RMC, Amber West Martin. A music video Murphy found “showing off the ship” convinced her; “Once I saw that, I knew I had to go!”

The students’ itinerary started in England in August and visits Russia, stops through Europe and the west coast of Africa, then crosses the Atlantic to Brazil, Barbados, and Cuba before finishing in Florida before Christmas.

“Going … will help me create lessons based on personal experience to enhance my students’ learning,” Murphy said.

On board, Jurewicz is taking a documentary photography class; she was a Summit [student newspaper] photographer in 2013-2014. She enrolled in marine biology, international economics, and travel literature to fulfill core curriculum course requirements for RMC so she can specialize in her elementary education major on her return. Each of her shipboard classes includes a field program based in a specific location. 

Semester at Sea offers four courses a semester that each meet half a day. Ports of call are students’ weekends, Murphy said, and classes resume as the ship sails. She is also taking anthropology and a literature course in “voyages of self-discovery.”   

This summer Jurewicz mowed lawns at a cemetery and Murphy was saving all her pay from interning at a travel agency. “I have been saving ever since I was accepted to the program. I applied for various scholarships and luckily received a few,” Murphy said.

“All my money is going to Semester at Sea, but I'm still trying to figure the money situation out. I will do my best to keep everyone up-to-date on my location during my voyage,” Jurewicz said. As part of the experience, students’ Internet access will stay sporadic. 

Murphy added,When I mention to people I am doing this, they all seem to know someone who did, and the reviews are always great!” She hopes her blog will blossom throughout her study abroad.