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Michael Scarpaci is a rising senior management major who studied abroad with Semester at Sea in the spring of 2013. While on the Semester at Sea voyage, Michael journeyed to Spain, South Africa, Morocco, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan, Mauritius, China, Singapore, India, Malaysia and Ghana.
Where did you study abroad? How did you choose your program?
I first experienced Semester At Sea 20 years ago when I was a newborn, my father was a professor on the Spring 1993 Voyage. I travelled on the ship with my family as he taught and visited thirteen countries before I was two years old. I studied abroad with Semester at Sea (SAS) this past spring, a program that is academically sponsored by the University of Virginia. It offers a really unique environment because we live and study on a cruise ship that circumnavigates the world. They call it a "floating university."
What advice do you have for students who are considering study abroad?
My advice is simple: take every opportunity you have to learn and grow while in college. If it means studying abroad as well. then go for it. At worst, you visit a country you've never been to and learn all about a culture that rubs off on you and gives you new relationships and experiences. At best… well, the upside is huge, but what’s not to like about an opportunity to skip on the winter at Case and go visit a place much cooler than Cleveland? (Yes, these places exist).
How has studying abroad changed your global perspective?
It is my perspective on the individual, and how unique and awesome each person on the planet is, that has changed. In other words, after a terrific global academic experience like Semester at Sea I came to realize how an overwhelming majority of people in this world are actually quite similar. We all want to live happy lives, spend time with our families, earn an honest living, etc. Those are the principles that transcend race, religion, gender- meeting people across the world on four continents reinforced that concept. No matter how drastically different someone appeared to be, those themes were recurring as I visited and met with people from Japan to Morocco. Most of us consider college to really be the best place to learn and grow as a young adult, and it was really eye opening to travel to a continent I've never been before to see how other people live so differently. Then, once you get to know them, you feel as though they are not so different after all.
What places are next on your bucket list?
I've never been to South America, Australia, or Antarctica so I have three continents left to explore. But honestly, I want to drive from my hometown in Virginia to California and make a couple stops along the way and discover a lot of America I don't yet know about.