Unfortunately, in this interview you won’t get to hear about Anne Andrew’s love of sailing, snowboarding and traveling. You’d never know, based on her interview, that she’s in Kappa Alpha Theta or that she’ll be working for Virginia State Senator Tommy Norment next semester. You’d never even know that she’s always wanted to be a lawyer and therefore plans to go to law school. (Unless you know Anne, of course.) What you will find in this week’s That Girl column is her tale of a summer in Asia on a mini-cruise ship. Sounds fun, right? Read on to learn more about Anne’s travels with the Semester at Sea program.
p. Tell me about your adventures in Asia this past summer.
p. I first found out about the Semester at Sea program in high school because my parents’ friends’ daughter was involved in it and wrote in the newspaper about it. I thought that it would be a good potential study abroad program as I got older. I always talked about it, saying how wonderful it would be, but it wasn’t until my suitemate, Leah Giles, went on it and told me what a great program it was that I really decided to go for it.
p. At first, [my parents] told me “Sure, if you want to do it.” I think they thought I wouldn’t go through with it, and they just sat back. Then I applied for a scholarship through National Society of Collegiate Scholars and received partial funding. At that point I was like, “I’m sold. I’m going.”
p. I didn’t know anyone going into it, and I think that was my biggest fear: 65 days in Asia on a ship, not knowing anyone, with very little connection back here. My parents prepared me for the worst, but I ended up lucking out. I got a corner room that was designed to be a triple, but there were only two of us. It felt very spacious, but it was probably really tiny, looking back.
p. The ship was designed just for this program. It was a 600 ft., seven-level mini cruise ship and there were only 300 students this summer. Usually in the fall or spring there are about 600-700 students. I couldn’t imagine a semester with twice as many people running around. Luckily, I never felt confined, but I did get crazy sitting in class all day and seeing the water go by.
p. I took four classes on the ship, and I was in class from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day. I’m a government major and art history minor so I took Intro to East Asian Politics, a geology class, and an art history class, which was like “East meets West, a cultural perceptions” class. Then everyone took a global studies course. It focused on all the countries that we traveled to. It was every different discipline: their history, geography, geology, government. That was a mandatory course.
p. There were probably about 25 or 30 faculty members who taught us. It rotates through the semesters; the faculty have to apply to do the program. A lot of them were husbands and wives; a couple of them had children. I know when I came to William and Mary, one of the big things was the faculty and how they’re approachable and they’ll know when you’re not in class. It’s even more so when you’re on a ship; there’s nowhere to go. Some of them had large sitting areas in their cabins, so they’d invite students over to mingle. Then sometimes you’d walk past them at six in the morning on the way to the gym or you’d be working out next to your professor. It was a very interesting community.
We were at sea a lot, but we went to eight different ports and stayed there anywhere from three to six days. Once we ported, we had that entire time to ourselves. We had to be back two hours before the ship departed for the next port. I did some traveling with the group and some Semester at Sea-sponsored overnight trips.
p. When we were in Korea, my friend Stephanie and I flew to Seoul, the capital, by ourselves. We went into the DMZ., the de-militarized zone, for a tour and two days earlier, right where we were standing, there happened to be gunshots and they were testing missiles. It was kind of intense. We wore hardhats. I have a picture of myself in the U.N. building with a North Korean guard. It wasn’t something I told my parents until afterwards, because they would have been like “Anne, what are you doing?” My favorite trip was when we were in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. The trips were an eye-opening experience in that I’ve never seen such poverty before. I’ve been to Mexico and seen places which I’ve thought of as third-world, but they weren’t as bad as the places in Asia.