BHSU student sails around the world thanks to new agreement with Semester at Sea

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, March 26, 2018/Categories: Students, Academic Affairs, College of Liberal Arts, 2018

106 days, 10 countries, 13 cities, 4 continents. That’s the adventure Black Hills State University student Keely Kleven, political science major from Williston, N.D., embarked on with Semester at Sea.

BHSU recently signed an affiliation agreement with Semester at Sea, the multi-country study abroad program, allowing students to sail around the world while earning college credit.

Keely journeyed aboard the MV World Odyssey ship last semester.

“The ship was by all terms a floating campus. We had a library, dining hall, classrooms, and bookstore on board. I took four classes and had roughly 25 students in most of my classes,” said Keely.

Keely and her shipmates visited Spain, Ghana, South Africa, India, Myanmar (Burma), Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Japan, and Hawaii. While on land for several days in each country, the students had the opportunity to explore the country’s culture, history, architecture, and customs.

“Each night on the ship faculty gave lectures regarding different topics. A professor spoke about Catalonia Independence right before Catalonia voted for independence from Spain. The lecture tied in perfectly to our port in Spain,” said Keely.

Keely’s first international experience was with BHSU in 2016. She took part in the BHSU International Service Learning Program in the Philippines, a program where BHSU students work together on a project before traveling abroad with their faculty-led group. The goal of the ISLP is to address human and community needs worldwide.

“Through these international experiences with BHSU I’ve fallen in love with traveling and connecting with cultures different than my own,” said Keely.

Several scholarships Keely has received transferred to her studies through Semester at Sea. She thanks her parents for helping her finance her experience but she said Semester at Sea also accepts federal financial aid.

When asked what advice she has for students considering study abroad or embarking on a Semester at Sea voyage, Keely says it’s simple – go.

“Find out how to finance it and go. You will not regret it. Not only will you meet awesome peers, but also some really great faculty and staff,” said Keely. “Take advantage of your opportunities and discover how wonderful the world is.”

Keely graduates from BHSU in May. This fall she will begin law school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to obtain a Juris Doctorate degree.

BHSU students can study abroad anywhere in the world. The University has established exchange programs with several partner schools worldwide.

BHSU has a variety of study abroad programs varying in both cost and in length, from week-long to year-long international experiences. The University’s Office of International Relations and Global Engagement encourages students interested in studying abroad to contact them at 605-642-6942 or email

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