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Help Alex Make a Difference Around The World!
$270 Raised
2% of $12k goal
5 contributors
0 days left
Ended Apr 20, 2014
What is this for? If you all don't already know, I have been accepted to be a part of the Semester at Sea Spring 2014 voyage! This means I have the opportunity to take classes, earning college credits, on a ship and take part in volunteer ... More ...

What is this for?

If you all don't already know, I have been accepted to be a part of the Semester at Sea Spring 2014 voyage! This means I have the opportunity to take classes, earning college credits, on a ship and take part in volunteer projects, as it travels all over the world.  But, unfortunately, Semester at Sea is not cheap. Through grants and loans I have $15,000 raised already and plan to be able to put in $3000 of my own money into the fund, but this still leaves $12,000 I will need to come up with through scholarships, work study, and fundraising.

What is Semester at Sea?

Semester at Sea is a multiple country study abroad program open to students of all majors emphasizing comparative academic examination, hands-on field experiences, meaningful engagement and volunteer works in the global community. A wide variety of coursework from 20-25 disciplines is integrated with relevant field studies in up to a dozen countries, allowing for a comparative study abroad experience that is truly global. The University of Virginia is the program’s academic sponsor. Students from 250-300 colleges in the United States and the world participate on Semester at Sea each term. Credit earned is transferable to a student’s home institution.

- See more at:

Who Am I?

Hey! I am Alex Brandenburg and I am an English Education/Creative Writing major who is also working towards endorsements in Speech and Physical Education. Along with this I am a Paraprofessional on the Education team for GUIDE (Gaining Understanding through Involvement, Diversity, and Education). Our organization, as you can gather from the name, does programming for CSU residents to help supplement life lessons you may not be getting in the classroom. A few examples, from the education team, are programs such as Study with GUIDE, Beer Goggle Bustle, and Hip-Hop Zumbaa. Study with GUIDE was a program that focused on building study skills for participants, Beer Goggle Bustle was an Alcohol Education program where participants learned party safe tips while playing root beer pong as well as received resource sheets for alternatives to partying, and Hip-Hop Zumbaa is a program where participants will be doing Zumbaa to Hip-Hop songs while also learning about and getting resource sheets about the benefits of exercise and ideas for getting exercise on and off of campus.

Why do I deserve to go/how will this benefit me?

This is the entrance essay that got me into Semester at Sea...

In the future I will be a teacher of English, Speech, Creative Writing, and P.E. and, hopefully, be a speaker or activist for education reform in the United States. Keeping this in mind, Semester at Sea is going to build the most important skill I will need as a teacher, understanding. While visiting all of our different destinations, I will do my best to experience the differences in culture, and with experience comes true understanding. This understanding will help me to build inclusive environments in my classroom and school. For example, I have very little idea about how Chinese culture works except that they place a lot of value in honor and share food during dinner... I think. If, in the future, I have had no experience with the Chinese culture, and I happen to have students in my classroom who identify as Chinese, I would have no clue how to help them feel comfortable in my classroom. I wouldn't know what to say or how to act in order to not offend them, and if, as a teacher, I can't help my students feel comfortable and safe, they will not learn, and my job will be pointless. Thus, it’s critical that I get out in the world and experience other cultures, especially the ones I am less familiar with such as those cultures in the cities and countries on the destination list for the Spring Voyage. What’s more, as I travel I will be trying to examine how other countries education systems work. If I truly want to be a speaker and activist, I need to see, I need to understand, ways education systems in different countries work. It will help me to finish forming my own ideas for changing our education system in the United States, a system that is in dire need of help, and then focus on doing so. Aside from education, I am an English Major, but more specifically, I am a writer. I believe there could be nothing better for my poetry and writing skills, whether it be personal or professional, than writing in the beautiful and exotic places we are sure to visit. I can imagine the cityscape of Hong Kong before me, multi-colored lights glittering back at me as if begging me for seclusion, I can feel the ocean breeze lifting me into the caress of soft, blue blankets above and below as I stand upon the bow of the ship, but I want to do more than imagine, I want to feel, live, and write. The trip will be beneficial to me in more ways than I could ever explain, especially in a 500 word limit, and I plan to take full advantage of every opportunity on my trip, whether that means learning Pigeon from Locals and Hawaiians, or eating with real chop sticks. Education and writing are my passions, and this trip will provide me with the tools I need to enhance my ability to follow my passions.

What can you do to help?

I have amazing advisers and professors who are writing me letters of reconmendation and helping me through all the paperwork needed for Semester at Sea. So I only need help in two areas...


Just knowing I have my friends and families support will help me to keep working on filling out these scholarship application while still working for GUIDE and taking 16 credit hours at CSU. Sending me a message or a text every so often and letting me know you've got my back would be an amazing thing!

Help me raise funds!

Any form of donations to me would be super helpful! Even if it is just $5! The most difficult part of this process will be money. Anything you would like to do to help me would be more than appreciated, and I promise I will use every last cent of it wisely and to accomplish my goals explained in the essay above.

How can you keep up with what I'm doing during the voyage?

We will be setting up links to a blog that I will do my best to keep updated with my limited internet on the ship. It will be explaining my insights, explain what I have been up to, share my experiences, and let my family know I am safe and sound and having a blast!

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