FOR the last three months, National University of Singapore (NUS) student Sneha Iyer has been attending classes on board a former cruise ship on the high seas instead of at Kent Ridge.

The second-year business student has with her 600 classmates from all over the world on board the MV Explorer, which is stopping at a dozen cities as its passengers take part in 'Semester at Sea' (SAS), a semester-long study-abroad programme.

She counts Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu among her lecturers, and has had the opportunity to have breakfast and conversation with him.
The MV Explorer docked here on Saturday for a two-day stop, giving the NUS student - the only Singaporean on board this fall semester - a chance to show her new friends her country.

NUS is now among 300 universities which accept academic credits transferred from the programme, which is accredited by the University of Virginia in the United States.

This semester, which began in August, Archbishop Tutu, 79, is the 'senior statesman in residence'. An SAS veteran, he has sailed with the ship in 1997 and 2007, and now serves on its board of trustees.

On board, he lectures on issues his home country of South Africa faces, such as the impact of the World Cup in bringing people together and the role of music in its struggle for freedom and justice.

He also spends time interacting with students, who he said are the reason he chooses to keep returning to the programme.

Learning at sea