The Collegian
Saturday, April 20, 2024

International Reflection: UR student travels to 11 countries as part of the Semester at Sea program

<p>Photo courtesy of Angelina Makretsova. &nbsp;</p>

Photo courtesy of Angelina Makretsova.  

Junior Angelina Makretsova is originally from Belarus and had the opportunity to do two study abroad programs, one associated with UR and another independent study abroad program.

Makretsova is a business administration major with concentrations in Marketing and Management Entrepreneurship. For her first semester abroad in fall 2022, she chose to study in one of UR’s partner schools, Singapore Management University, a globally ranked school for business and management studies, according to their website.

“I didn’t want to go to Europe because I am from there,” Makretsova said. “I wanted to do something different and went all the way to Singapore.”

Historically, most students study abroad in Europe. For the upcoming Fall 2023 semester, the majority of students applied for programs in Spain, Denmark, Italy, the UK and the Czech Republic, according to an email from the Office of International Education. 

By choosing a program in Singapore, Makretsova was able to challenge herself by taking a lot of tough yet enjoyable courses centering around business and finance, she said.

“My favorite course was on strategic brand management,” she said. “My professor was German and he did an awesome job of bringing in local business people with whom we were able to network. I actually got my last summer internship through one of these connections.”

Makretsova said living in Singapore was the best part of studying abroad. 

“I lived in the city center and biked 10 minutes to my city campus,” she said. “Often after class, we would go to a cafe and watch the sunset and just do fun things like these. Those were probably my best memories there.” 

After her semester in Singapore, Makretsova decided to take part in Semester at Sea, an academic program that brings college students together for a semester to travel to 11 different countries, all while living and studying on a ship, according to their website.

The Semester at Sea program is not affiliated with UR and Makretsova is currently on leave from UR to embark on her Semester at Sea journey. Students interested in this program will have to take a gap semester to pursue this program, Makretsova said.

“It’s 500 students. We study on the boat and we travel together. It sounds insane but it’s a lot of fun,” Makretsova said. 

In addition to studying, Makretsova took advantage of the unique curriculum and travel that makes up classes full of culture, entertainment and adventure, she said.

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“We have very interesting and fun field trips,” Makretsova said. “For my strategic management class, we will go to a winery in Spain and see how the winery operates, and you also get to drink wine, which is super cool.” 

Makretsova said seeing a ceremony at the equator in honor of Neptune Day on her way from India to Kenya was her favorite memory. 

“There is an award given to voyagers when they pass the equator. We were nominated to receive the award and we did things like jumping in the pool, kissing a fish and having salt thrown at us.” 

Makretsova implores UR students to explore. 

“Singapore taught me about a completely different culture for me,” Makretsova said. “Whereas my Semester at Sea experience enabled me to adapt to new environments.” 

Contact international editor Ahona Anjum at ahona.anjum@richmond.edu.

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