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Two College Professors Embark on Semester at Sea in Spring 2013

Posted on 6 November 2012 | 8:41 am

Two College of Charleston professors will travel more than 25,000 nautical miles to 12 countries in 106 days through the Semester at Sea program. Communication professor Merissa Ferrara, and theatre professor Susan Kattwinkel will teach three classes each during their time at sea.

Semester at Sea is a study abroad program that runs on an 836-passenger cruise ship and travels around the world each semester with faculty and students from across the world.

They will board the ship on January 9 and travel to Hawaii, Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Burma, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, and Spain.

“The experience seems incredible and it is something I’ve wanted to do since I was an undergraduate. My husband and our three-year-old twins are coming and I am so excited to share this experience with them,” Ferrara said.

Ferrara will teach an interpersonal communication course along with intercultural communication and a media and gender class.

“With a communication program that is student-centered,” Ferrara said, “being able to bring back cultural experiences will be wonderful.”

Kattwinkel will teach courses on world theatre, religious theatre, and puppetry. She hopes that her previous travel experience to Japan and China will help enforce her impact on the students.

“We will travel to some places I have already been to, so I will be taking previous knowledge with me to help the students understand the cultures better,” Kattwinkel explains. “Students will be able to actually experience the cultural theatre that I will teach them. This opportunity is too good to pass up.”

She encourages College of Charleston students to study abroad and hopes to influence them by being a personal example.

“I am going to use my overseas experiences to impact my students here,” she said, “it will make a huge difference because I won’t be reading out of a book, I will be teaching my personal experiences.”

The 2013 spring Semester at Sea program is the first semester to invite highly renowned entrepreneurs aboard.

SAS has partnered with the Unreasonable Institute to launch a program that will allow students to work with and learn from the entrepreneurs as they experiment in taking their technologies to local markets.

Over 20 entrepreneurs including Neal Baer, co-founder of Law and Order, Jochen Zeitz, PUMA chairman, and Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, will join faculty and staff as they travel the world.

“The entrepreneurs will become part of the learning environment,” Ferrara said, “making this a meeting of the minds for people who love to travel.”

Ferrara can be reached at and Kattwinkel can be reached at

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