Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Because all people, perspectives, and identities are welcome aboard our voyages, our community is stronger and our impact is more powerful and positive — at sea, at home, and around the world.

A More Equitable & Inclusive World Starts With Us.

Each semester, Semester at Sea brings hundreds of voyagers to explore 10+ countries. The foundation of every SAS voyage is a holistic exploration of the diversity of people, perspectives, and places we are privileged to visit. During the journey, voyagers encounter many moments of beauty, moments where injustices are striking, and moments of awe at the collective power of humanity to spark bold solutions to global challenges. Through all of these moments, Semester at Sea is committed to fostering an academic program and shipboard community inclusive of all identities.


of SAS students

are non-U.S. passport holders


in SAS scholarships

awarded each semester to underrepresented students


student affinity groups

formed aboard the ship each semester


student mentors

representing multiple schools and identities

Diversity Peer Mentor Program

Before and after each voyage, SAS can connect alumni with prospective voyagers who share similar identities. These identities may relate to but are not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, nationality, and first-generation status, among others. This informal mentorship opportunity provides a space for prospective voyagers to ask questions and get perspectives from an alumni voyager who may have a similar experience. 

Participation in the Diversity Peer Mentorship Program (DPM) is completely optional but encouraged if voyagers are concerned, or just curious, about how the SAS experience may look or feel through the lens of one or more of their identities. Our DPM program is still growing. Although we cannot guarantee to meet all mentorship requests, we will do our best to pair as many mentors and mentees as possible.

Resources for SAS Voyagers

Shipboard Resources

Every voyage offers unique programs to help promote an inclusive environment for all community members. Programming is developed and implemented by students, Lifelong Learners, faculty, and staff.

In-Country Resources

The shipboard leadership team makes every effort to help inform and empower participants from underrepresented backgrounds prior to arriving in a new port of call. However, experiences will vary for each individual, and while some participants may have a challenging experience in one port, another student of a similar background may have an overwhelmingly positive experience.

Inclusive Funding

Semester at Sea has several grants and scholarships created specifically to help support students from underrepresented backgrounds in funding their Semester at Sea experience. Click on a scholarship below to learn more.

$20K HBCU Research Fellowship!

Five $20K HBCU Scholarships available for Fall 2024!

Fellows will be required to participate in a seminar to present your research project idea, and write (with the support of our communications team) three (3) blog articles throughout their voyage so that we may follow the progress of the project.

Voyager Stories

Our shipboard campus and community, often lovingly referred to by alumni as their “favorite port,” is an integral part of the experience. Our voyage community is a microcosm of our world, which comes with its own challenges and moments of unique and powerful unity. We are very intentional about putting in the work to build an inclusive community and know that the work is never done. We continually strive to make each voyager feel welcomed and affirmed as a member of our SAS community.

Hear From Past Voyagers

And so it begins… Cannot thank my family enough for all the support and guidance they’ve given me ever since I was accepted into the Semester at Sea program. Estoy tan agradecida de tener una familia tan amorosa y me siento afortunada de tener esta oportunidad muchas gracias por todo y los quiero bien mucho! #sassp17 #semesteratsea

My friend wasn’t quite sure how to react the first time someone grabbed her braid. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond when a little boy came up and began to rub my hand, scratching it to see if the color would rub off on him. A familiar concept became unfamiliar to me in new ways. Being Black in America was a feeling I was accustomed to. And while not always being the most comfortable situation, I was familiar with being the minority in a larger group. None of this prepared me for being Black in China—an experience I was unprepared for.

ISE Staff Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

Staff at the Institute for Shipboard Education understand that creating an inclusive program and community takes time, awareness, resources, and dedicated commitment to being better. We’re so thankful to our voyagers, staff, alumni, and other members of the SAS community who, through their passion for our mission and deep experience with our program, continually illuminate new avenues for growth and transformational change. Your feedback and perspectives are invaluable.

Our organization has many long- and short-term goals supporting our continued growth in the diversity and inclusion of our program and communities. As of 2022, some of these more recent goals have included: 

  • Updates to our organizational strategic plan to create a dedicated focus on financial access for students and intentional learning communities that encourage voyagers to engage across differences.
    • We plan to increase access by clarifying areas of unmet financial need and framing new funding campaigns to meet that unmet need.
    • We are co-creating an equity and inclusion plan for international learning communities, with engagement from people of color and other underrepresented groups, in order to further advance shipboard faculty and staff training to support intentional learning communities and dialogue around diversity, equity, and inclusion, and track student feedback demonstrating increases in diversity and sense of belonging. 
  • Increased focus on ISE staff and home office resources and professional development including a recent climate survey; funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consultation; awareness and knowledge-building activities through group readings; LinkedIn Learning courses; and the incorporation of DEI self-assessment into coaching and review processes. 
  • A strategic campaign to increase the diversity and inclusiveness of our various alumni councils through updated recruitment strategies and processes.

ISE Diversity Advisory Committee (IDAC)

The Institute for Shipboard Education’s Diversity Advisory Committee cultivates and celebrates inclusive spaces within our home office, voyages, and alumni communities that affirm and support people of all identities. We strive to strengthen our perception as leaders in diversity in the international education field by increasing collaboration with key organizations, university partners, and international field operators. We also commit to finding ways to increase diversity and inclusion in our home office in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Committee Purpose
  • Increase enrollment of underrepresented groups amongst students, faculty, and staff.
  • Enhance support systems and resources for underrepresented groups pre-voyage, during the voyage, and within alumni communities.
  • Build and strengthen relationships with key university partners regarding diversity initiatives.
  • Promote diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the ISE Home Office.
  • Initiate the development of practices that increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging while identifying and addressing discriminatory policies and processes.
  • Advocate for progress toward those goals through a comprehensive and consistent strategy.

Ready to Set Sail?

Take the first step on the journey of a lifetime.