Matthew Doiron is Back-to-School and Ready to Set-Sail for a Semester at Sea

Ashburnham, MA resident and college student, Matthew Doiron will experience this chance-of-lifetime voyage through the college program called Semester at Sea.

Online PR News – 03-September-2009 – – Ashburnham, MA, September, 2009. Imagine the adventures a young college student would have if he had the opportunity to experience his entire college semester aboard a 590 foot vessel set-sail on a course to circumnavigate the world! Ashburnham, MA resident and college student, Matthew Doiron will experience this chance-of-lifetime voyage through the college program called Semester at Sea.

Doiron, 20, has been accepted for study in the Semester at Sea (SAS) Program during his 2010 spring college semester. The SAS program is offered through the Institute for Shipboard Education (ISE) of Charlottesville, Virginia. The 110 day, (spring semester) SAS program begins in January, 2010 and will end in May, 2010. Doiron will travel more than 24,000 nautical miles visiting 15 ports in 10 different countries around the world.

SAS sails three voyages per year for academic credit and circumnavigates the globe only twice per year. Doiron will cruise aboard the MV Explorer, which is a passenger liner converted into a state-of-the-art seafaring campus. The MV Explorer is a new, modern and safe passenger ship. Doiron will have access to a student union, wireless Internet, 8000-volume library and many of the amenities found on a land based campus.

The ship functions as a traveling university and residential home to more than 2,000 participants per year. The program is open to anyone from any major and any college or university.

Doiron is enrolled at Hofstra University on Long Island, New York and begins his junior year this September, 2009. He is double majoring in Psychology and Philosophy. Focused on his studies, Doiron continues to make the Dean’s list and currently receives a merit-based scholarship through Hofstra University. His goal is to become a Clinical Psychologist.

“College is a time to expand one's knowledge and I believe the best way to do that is to gather as many opinions on a subject as possible. Traveling around the world and learning about different cultures will give me a more complete view on my studies, the world, and life,” said Doiron.

With his voyage only months away, saving money for SAS is Doiron’s current priority. While attending classes, Doiron works part-time at Dylan’s Candy Bar near Hofstra University. When he was home in Ashburnham, he spent this past summer working as a basketball counselor at Meadowbrook Day Camp in Weston, MA.

To further compensate for some of these costs, Doiron has applied for an ISE Merit Scholarship and could receive up to $5,000 towards his SAS voyage. He has also applied for work-study opportunities available through ISE and could earn up to $4,000 by working in shipboard positions for two hours per day while the ship is at sea. Doiron will be notified by ISE in October, 2009 as to whether he receives either option of financial assistance.

In 2008, over 600 students received grants or scholarships to sail on Semester at Sea. Awards range from $1,000 to $10,000.

“We give scholarships and financial aide to about 40% of all of our students. We give $3.25 million in financial aid annually,” said Lauren Heinz, Semester at Sea’s assistant vice president of communications and media relations.

Sailing since 1963, more than 45,000 students from colleges and universities around the world have studied with SAS, traveling to non-traditional destinations in 60 countries. The ISE administers the program and the University of Virginia, the second-ranked public institution in the U.S., is the academic sponsor.

Semester at Sea students are enrolled as visiting students of the University of Virginia. Courses on Semester at Sea appear as regular University of Virginia courses. Grades are recorded at the University of Virginia and students, like Doiron, will receive official transcripts from the University of Virginia.

Doiron will choose from more than 70 courses in a variety of disciplines. Faculties are internationalists who integrate course content with field practice.

The theme for the Spring 2010 Voyage is Sustainability. According to, sustainability is defined as a “society of permanence”-a world in which humanity ensures its well-being across the generations by improving the stability of ecological and sociocultural systems. Sustainablity themes will be woven throughout the curriculum, complemented by an array of classes in the arts, sciences and social sciences that will offer opportunities for in-depth studies.

Doiron will sail with 800 people: 700 students and 100 professors. His Spring 2010 Itinerary is as follows:

Depart from San Diego, CA
Hilo and Honolulu, Hawaii – 4 days
Yokohama and Kobe, Japan – 6 days
Shanghai, Hong Kong, China – 7 days
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam – 5 days
Chennai and Cochin, India – 6 days
Port Louis, Mauritius – 3 days
Cape Town, South Africa – 7 days
Salvador, Brazil – 5 days
San Juan, Puerto Rico 5 days
Return to Fort Lauderdale, FL.

SAS offers Field Programs, which are organized, in-country Field Trips. Doiron is thrilled about his SAS field programs that include a 5 day visit to Beijing and the Great Wall of China, a tour of Modern Tokyo Japan and visiting Cape Town South Africa, where he will participate in an African Safari and hopefully see the “famous flying sharks” off Cape Town South Africa.

As a precaution against the potential exposure to diseases that are more widespread in the countries he will visit, Doiron is required to update his vaccinations. He recently was given a typhoid and hepatitis vaccine and will need to take “malaria pills” for the duration of the trip.

Doiron also views his upcoming SAS voyage as an opportunity to give back. Working with several children’s organizations during his trip to India and Viet Nam, he will bring soccer balls and school supplies from home and give them to those children who need them.

“I am very fortunate to have these opportunities in life, and if in my travels I can help out someone who isn't as fortunate, then I want to help. I may not have the power to give them an education or pull them out of poverty, but if I can make them forget about problems and make them happy, then I would feel extremely satisfied,” said Doiron.

Doiron plans to document his experiences via video, audio, photography and blogging on his laptop. Through the eyes of a young college student on a chance-of-lifetime voyage, he will have quite a story to tell.

Contact Information:

Kristi Maloney
Freelance Writer
204 Rindge Tpke.
Ashburnham, MA 01430