Thursday, October 13, 2005

Cal Poly at Sea

The latest crazy idea is Cal Poly at Sea. I've known since freshman year that if I didn't do any sort of travel or study abroad, I would regret it. Now I'm in my fourth year of college, and I'm running out of time to fit that into my schedule.

The At Sea program had its first informational meeting today, where professors and past years' students talked about what it was like. The ship is the Golden Bear, a ex-navy "oceanographic survey" vessel, which is now used by the California Maritime Academy for training their cadets. They let Cal Poly on as guests to study and travel with them.

The program rotates between Asia, South Pacific, and Latin America routes; this spring quarter, the route is to Latin America. The ports that the ship stops at this year are: Zihuatenjo, Mexico; Callao (Lima), Peru; Valparaiso, Chile; Cocos Island (belonging to Costa Rica); and Caldera, Costa Rica. Look, they speak Spanish there! ;)

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the program costs more than a typical quarter at Cal Poly... Although their brochure claims that it's not by much, since it says the program costs $5570 and it claims a quarter costs $5504. I'd have to go look at last spring quarter's financial data to see how much it costs me, specifically. But then I've made some money at Microsoft this summer (and maybe next summer), and thus I've saved my dad that money that he otherwise would have had to spent on me this summer, so maybe it can work out... The thing is, I really really want to do something abroad before I graduate, so I want this to happen. I suppose I could always get a small loan to cover it, if nothing else. Wells Fargo would charge $260 or so for the privilege of a 12-month $6000 personal loan... I figure, if I want this enough, I can make it work one way or the other. (Not going into debt would obviously be preferrable, but with the Squirts going to college soon, I don't know what my dad's finances are doing.)