One Semester, Three Classes, 10 Countries
“I love to teach and travel. This program does both,” said Professor of Economics Manijeh Sabi, Ph.D., who is spending her fall 2017 sabbatical on the faculty of Semester at Sea, a study abroad program set on a ship that offers credit-bearing classes as it sails around the world.
Sabi is teaching Comparative Economic Systems, Gender and Economics and Introductory Macroeconomics. All the classes are rigorous and attendance is mandatory, she said of student life aboard the MV World Odyssey. For faculty members, little downtime, maintaining balance at the front of a classroom on a constantly rocking ship, frequent time zone changes and inconsistent internet access are small challenges in the course of a great academic adventure.
“My experiences in each port will be quite useful when I teach economics or WORLD* courses at Sage,” she said, describing a September day she and her Gender and Economics class spent in Accra, Ghana, with Global Mamas, a non-profit, fair trade organization.
When she swapped emails with Sage in October, the ship had recently departed South Africa. “Of course, I knew about income inequality in South Africa, but experiencing it was quite different,” she said, writing of a visit to a shantytown followed by a drive along the coast to the Cape of Good Hope. “There were so many luxury apartments. It is really two worlds.” She added that she was looking forward to taking her Comparative Economic Systems students to the Asian Development Bank, U.S. Embassy and Bogyoke Aung San Market in Yangon, Myanmar, in November, where they will learn about the country’s transition to a market economy directly from policy makers and individual traders.
As the recipient of multiple Fulbright, Soros Foundation grants and other awards, Sabi has extensive international experience, including several teaching positions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. She’ll have added another dozen destinations from Barcelona and Port of Valencia, Spain, through Cochin, India, and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, by the time the World Odyssey’s fall 2017 cruise concludes in San Diego, California, in late December. And her travels after that? “There are two countries on my list: Turkmenistan and Bhutan,” she said. “You never know, I might be able to do both in near future.”
*WORLD is an acronym for Women Owning Responsibility for Learning and Doing, Russell Sage College’s general education program.