The North Star Project, 2013 Summer Report Number Twenty-Four, Semester at Sea — An Introduction

The North Star Project, 2013 Summer Report Number Twenty-Four, Semester at Sea — An Introduction

By John Cutshall
Update 1
Hello! My name is John and I am a student at the College of Saint Scholastica. I am a nursing major transitioning into my senior year of college. When I was in the fall of my sophomore year I made a decision to study abroad and it changed my life. The program in which I decided to study abroad on was called Semester at Sea and it is sponsored by the University of Virginia. Essentially, Semester at Sea is a three and a half month long cruise that circumnavigates the globe. We started off our journey in Montreal, Canada and proceeded to travel around the world in an easterly direction. Our ports of call included: Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Hawaii, Costa Rica (crossed the Panama Canal), Honduras, and then we debarked in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I am going to attempt to write about this amazing experience in chronological order, beginning with getting on the ship.


On August 26, 2010 my adventure began when I got on the MV Explorer to start my trip around the world. Like I said earlier, we got onto the ship in Montreal. My Mom, Dad, and Grandpa all came to see me off. I was about to join 450 other classmates on a trip that would change all of our lives. After going through security and handing over my passport, I took my first steps onto the ship. I proceeded to go and see the room that I would spend the next couple of months on. It was small, but that was expected. There were 2 twin beds, a very small desk, tv, and a small bathroom. The ship had many things to do on it. There was a full basketball court on the seventh deck, two cafeterias, a pool, a bar area, and views of the ocean everywhere! Getting on the ship, I was a little nervous about making friends, but everyone was in the same position as me and I made great friends in a very short amount of time! At that point, I had no idea how much I would learn, share, and grow with these people. They became some of my best friends, and I still stay in touch with many of them today.


I look forward to writing about my experience and sharing it all with you. This experience was truly one of a kind and helped shape the person I am today. I didn’t think that the journey would change me, but it did, in so many different ways. I can’t wait to share my stories, photos, and experiences with you. For my next entry, I will be writing about my first port of call in Casablanca, Morocco.

The North Star Project: Collaboration between The Middle Ground Journal Student Interns, The College of St. Scholastica, and North Star Academy 8th Grade Global Studies Classes, 2013-2014 School Year Summer Reports.

Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

This summer we will re-tool and re-design the collaborative program, drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This summer The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their brief dispatches here throughout the summer, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, June, 2013

(c) 2013 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 6, Spring, 2013. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.


Filed under North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

3 responses to “The North Star Project, 2013 Summer Report Number Twenty-Four, Semester at Sea — An Introduction

  1. Mackenzie Sherrill

    This is quite the trip you went on! it must have taken a great amount of courage to leave your family and friends and embark on a trip around the world. I wonder what would happen if while on the trip, you realized that you were prone to sea-sickness?

  2. Kyle Stepka

    I loved hearing about this trip and all the stories you have went through. I think it is very cool what you are doing and I am extremely jealous. And I also feel bad about how you got sea sick.

  3. Zach Friederichs

    This seems like it would be the best semester abroad ever! I can’t imagine a better way to get such an immense exposure to such a variety of beautiful areas and cultures all in just a few months. I bet you wish you could have spent a little more time in each place you visited.

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