SEA Education Association (SEA)
Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean
Spring Semester Program
SEA Education Association (SEA) offers college students a study abroad that challenges them intellectually and physically by combining the sailing adventure of a lifetime with the study of the deep ocean.
SEA students participate in a 12-week program that takes place half on shore and half at sea. The interdisciplinary program begins in Woods Hole, MA one of the world's great centers for ocean research.
SEA Semester: Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean (CCC) - This semester will introduce students to the Caribbean region through first-hand accounts of island life followed by their own field-based observations at sea. Students will examine the legacies of colonization alongside ongoing modern issues of environmental change and sustainability while visiting multiple ports of call.
CLICK HERE to watch the SEA Semester Video
Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean (CCC)
Few places on Earth can compete with the natural beauty and rich, cultural diversity of the Caribben Islands; and yet the Caribbean of today bears little resemblance to the islands encoutered by Christopher Columbus over 500 years ago. Known now as a vacation destination, what is lost on many visitors is the complex and often devastating history of exploitation shared among all Caribbean Islands. That fateful day of 'discovery' and the waves of European expansion and colonization that followed represent one of the greatest environmental and human transformations of all time. The conquest of indigenous cultures, the exploitation of natural resources, and the development of slave plantation systems have left a legacy still visible today in the environment and identity of each island.
Tourists are encouraged to view the Caribbean as an unvaried and homogenous experience. In reality, each island, despite being stymied by centuries of colonial rule, encapsulates a unique community striving toward responsible economic growth, social justice and sustainable use of valued natural resources.
Over the course of this semester, students will be introduced to the Caribbean through first-hand historical accounts of island life followed by their own field-based observations of the region's natural resources, diverse ecosystems, and environmental and cultural resiliency. Exploration and examination of Caribbean history, culture and land/seascape on shore in Woods Hold will be furthered at sea by multi-day port stops at selected islands during the sea component. Students will confer with local experts whose insights will allow them to deepen their knowledge of issues of sustainability in the Caribbean. Past student research projects have explored topics including fisheries management, coral reef biodiversity, ecotourism, cruise ship pollution, gender in postcolonial societies, and regional cooperation initiatives.
See Pre-Approved SEA Semester Course Listing
NOTE: Core Curriculum designations on this list pertain to the OLD Core only
Marine Environmental History (300-level, 4 credits)
Employ methods and sources of historians and social scientists. Examine the role of human societies in coastal and open ocean environmental change. Issues include resource conservation, overfishing, pollution, invasive species, and climate change.
Maritime History & Culture (300-level, 4 credits)
Explore impacts of European maritime ventures on the societies they contacted in the Atlantic or Pacific, with focus on the resulting social, political, economic, and cultural changes. Investigate responses documented in the post-Colonial literature of indigenous people.
Maritime Studies (200-level, 3 credits)
Relationship between humans and the sea. History, literature and art of our maritime heritage. Ships as agents of contact change. Political and economic challenges of contemporary marine affairs. Destinarion-specific focus.
Nautical Science (200-level, 3 credits)
Learn the fundamentals of sailing ship operation, in preparation for direct application at sea. Navigation (piloting, celestial and electronic), weather, engineering systems, safety, and sail theory. Participate as an active member of the ship's crew on an offshore voyage.
Oceanography (200-level, 3 credits)
Explore how interconnected ocean characteristics (bathymetry, seawater chemistry, biological diversity) and processes (plate tectonics, surface and deep-water circulation, biological production) shape global patterns across mutiple scales. Discuss destination-specific environmental issues and hot topics in marine research.
All students are expected to live on the SEA campus in student housing. Each house accommodates 10 students. Please take note of the following:
- The cost of food is included in your program cost. Each house is provided with a weekly prepaid grocery card. Students provide their own food and do their own cooking in fully equipped kitchens. You will plan menus, shop, cook, and clean after meals as a house. This setup provides great community building!
- Bring bed linens and towels. Each student is provided with a pillow and a standard size twin bed. There are laundry facilities in one of the student cottages.
- Each student bedroom has desks and storage areas.
- Students may bring cars to campus. A bicycle is also helpful to have during the Shore Component (spring, summer, fall).
- No pets allowed.
On board ship, you will share space with up to 35 people. Your bunk will line the inside of the ship somewhere between the bow and the stern. Each bunk has two small storage areas. Though there is very little personal space, your ship and shipmates become your home and family for six weeks.
Take a virtual tour of one of SEA's ships!
For a detailed description of program costs please see the Program Cost in the box at the top of this webpage. Tuition is paid to USD, while program fees are paid directly to SEA. Sea Education Association (SEA) is pleased to announce a variety of merit-based financial aid awards for SEA Semester students. For more information, please click here.
Passport is required for all international travel. SEA will send information about country entry requirements. Be sure to follow all instructions from SEA.
CLICK HERE to watch the SEA Semester Video