August 19, 2002 11:00 pm
Chad Dodds ().
Chad Dodds ().

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Eastern Oregon University junior Chad Dodds is preparing for an unforgettable fall term — one in which a ship will be his classroom and the world his laboratory.

Dodds will spend fall term aboard the S.S. Universe Explorer as part of the Semester at Sea Program. Dodds will attend college classes on the ship while making a 3-month, near round-the-world voyage. The journey starts in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Aug. 31 and ends in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on Dec. 9.

Dodds and the other students in the Semester at Sea program will receive a smorgasbord of international experiences. They will make stops at cities in eight countries. The stops will range from 2 to 4 days. Students will do practicum assignments for their classes at many international stops.

"I'm looking forward to it. I am extremely excited,'' said Dodds, a 2000 graduate of Union High School. "...The program gives you a chance to immerse yourself in other cultures.''

The S.S. Universe Explorer will make stops in Kobe, Japan; Shanghai, China; Hong Kong; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Penang, Malaysia; Chennai, India; Mombasa, Kenya; Cape Town, South Africa; Salvador, Brazil; and Havana, Cuba.

Dodds, a business administration major, already has plans for many of his stops. In Hong Kong he will interview the manager of a hotel for a business class. In Vietnam he will travel to nearby Cambodia to visit the Angkor ruins of the ancient Khmer Empire. The ruins, which date back to 900, are comprised of temples, a palace, a canal system and a wall that is 8 miles long.

Not all of Dodds' plans during stops are related to class assignments. For example, in Japan he will hike Mount Fuji, the nation's tallest mountain at 12,388 feet.

Dodds, 20, is one of about 600 students who will study and travel aboard the S.S. Universe Explorer. The 617-foot long ship has many amenities including a 13,000-volume library, a weight room, a pool and a fitness center.

The Semester at Sea program is run by the Institute of Shipboard Education, which is based in Pittsburgh. Semester at Sea is designed primarily for undergraduate students seeking to include study abroad as part of their academic experience. The program is 26 years old.

Semester at Sea's academic sponsor is the University of Pittsburgh, which appoints the academic dean for each voyage. The dean is responsible for academic planning.

Students earn credits through the Universit of Pittsburgh.

Dodds will earn 18 credits, all of which will be transferred to Eastern.

Dodds, the son of Tom and Sue Garwood of Union, learned about about the program last winter from a flyer he saw on the EOU campus.

It will cost Dodds more than $14,000 to participate in the program.

Anyone who would like to help Dodds with his expenses should write him at 307 20th St., La Grande 97850.