Not too many students get to spend a full semester studying abroad. And fewer yet get to spend that time visiting eight different nations or territories while taking a full load of courses with a curriculum expressly based on those destinations. But that’s what 16 students at the College will be up to during the spring 2020 semester. What’s more, they’ll be experiencing it all from onboard the traditional wooden tall ship Spirit of South Carolina.
Adventure at Sea: Where History Lives is a new study abroad program developed by Brumby McLeod, an associate professor in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the School of Business. McLeod’s program will feature courses in economics, entrepreneurship, leadership, basic sailing and Caribbean culture as well as film and photography in adventure tourism. The multidisciplinary program is open to students from any academic discipline. Interested students should apply before the deadline of Oct. 14, 2019, by logging onto https://cofc.via-trm.com.
The students who enroll in this program will board the ship in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, in January 2020 and embark on their journey from there. They’ll spend time in the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas, before sailing back to Charleston in late April.
McLeod has arranged to have fellow faculty members join the crew at various junctures. For instance, Blake Scott from the College’s International Studies Program will join the students in Cuba to teach contemporary Cuban culture while they visit ports in that nation. And Godfrey Gibbison, a professor of economics who is interim dean of the Graduate School as well as dean of the School of Professional Studies, hopes to join the ship in Jamaica – his homeland – and teach macroeconomics using Jamaica as a case study.
McLeod refers to this brand of education as project-based learning.
“I’ve done this sort of program with students who’ve traveled with me to Iceland and to Banff, Canada, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates,” he says. “When the curriculum is developed with the destination in mind and lessons are drawn from the experiences that students have in these places, the impact is formidable.”
But the students who sign up for this program won’t just be studying, they’ll also be serving as members of the crew, helping to raise the sails, stand the watches and tend to the ship as they sail from island to island.
“They’ll not only learn to manage the ship,” explains McLeod, “they’ll be disengaged from the distractions of daily life and forced to focus on life lessons that only time aboard a traditional ship can teach.”
The fee for this study abroad program is $14,900. Students who enroll in the program won’t have to pay for additional room or board during their time abroad. According to McLeod, need-based scholarships are available to support participation in the Adventure at Sea program, which is being offered through the College’s Center for International Education.
Feature photo by Karen Ryan