Borough student sets sail for semester

Naugatuck native Amanda Gilnack plans to travel the world this semester. - CONTRIBUTED

NAUGATUCK — Much like Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg, Naugatuck native Amanda Gilnack will be traveling the world, though not overland.

Gilnack is spending the semester at sea, through a program offered in connection with the University of Virginia.

Her itinerary for the next four months includes stops in India, Ghana, South Africa, Vietman, China, Japan, Cuba, and Gilnack.

“I wanted to get more globally diverse about everything in the business environment,” said the junior sports management major with a concentration in event and facility management and a minor in marketing at Mount Ida College in Newton, Mass. “Why not do it when I’m young.”

Gilnack said she originally planned to spend the semester in Australia, before her advisor told her about the Semester at Sea program. Gilnack figured, why not visit 14 different cultures instead of one?

She said she is most looking forward to visiting Costa Rica with its tropical rain forest and zip lining adventures.

“I heard it’s just a beautiful place to go to,” Gilnack said.

However, the trip is not just for fun. Gilnack will be taking four college courses and is also doing an honors project on legal studies around the world. Gilmack will look at the legal systems of each country she visits and write a journal as one of three honors projects she must complete for her college.

Gilnack said she will also be working in a lot of orphanages in Africa.

About 450 students and 100 faculty and staff will share quarters on the seven-deck cruise liner that will serve as the student’s classroom and home for the next four months.

“We get off at each stop and explore the countries, so we’re not on the ship for that long,” Gilnack said.

She said she will be spending four to five days in most of the countries and will be stopping in Hawaii for Thanksgiving.

She said she’s excited to meet people from all over the world and making new friends from different states and countries.

Gilnack was the only student from Mount Ida accepted into the program, but she said she has been in contact with other students who are going on the trip through Facebook.

Once the trip starts, however, Facebook won’t be available. Students only get two hours of on-board internet time for the whole semester, Gilnack said.

She said she’s a little nervous about not having any communication back home.

“I’m really close with my family,” Gilnack said.

Her journey begins this Friday when the ships sets sail from Montreal.