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Professor Diane Holt's Semester at Sea: Update 1

Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies

Don’t panic …we are just floating

We are currently 91 Nautical Miles off the coast of Brest (France), 603 miles from our first port of Lisbon in Portugal. In between working on my grant bid I am on dolphin and whale watch!

The faculty and staff (which we call staculty) joined the ship, the MV World Odyssey, in Bremerhaven Germany for the orientation, as the ship transitioned from a German cruise line (the Deutschland) to the semester at sea campus. As staculty had meetings, the crew busily unpacked, moved things, stocked, painted, set up classrooms, and put up the new logo with a big crane on the side of the ship. I boarded at 9am on the 7th Sept and about the same time two days later I was part of the team welcoming on board the 130th voyage of the programme.

On board we have 446 students (of which 71 are gap year and 19 are postgrad, the rest are undergrad), from 247 universities. We also have 30 lifelong learners, 62 staculty and we all represent 42 countries. This truly is an international experience.

As part of my commitment to the ship I’m teaching classes on social and sustainable venturing, and on supply chain management. Outside of this I have found my writing spot out on the aft of the ship (as you can see in the picture). My days are beginning to take on the on-ship rhythm. I get up, have breakfast, attend a global studies lecture, do some writing, have lunch, write a bit more, teach my class, have dinner, attend the evening lecture, catch up with fellow staculty in the lounge area, go back to my cabin, open the balcony windows of my cabin so I can chill watching the sea, and then get rocked to sleep!

My fellow voyagers are fascinating, and not just the staculty. One of the great things about SAS is how we get to really engage with our students and life-long learners in mealtimes and events – so I am learning more about them. We also bond over whale seeking and sightings! This voyage they seem to have more postgraduates and gap year students than typically. I’ve met graduates who weren’t able to go an undergrad because of covid and gap year students taking time between university and their schooling, including a couple of Brits!

We have actually been floating for a couple of days now – saving fuel and ambling along to Portugal. So for those tracking us on marine traffic don’t panic! We are just hanging out, taking classes and enjoying the calm oceans before our time in Portugal.

Next stop – Morocco!

Professor Diane Holt, Management Dept, Leeds University Business School