The fall 2018 semester will be an experience of a lifetime for University of Lethbridge students Amanda Sakundiak and Mackenzie Salmon, thanks to the generosity of the Brawn Family Foundation and the Semester at Sea program.

Established in 1963, Semester at Sea consists of 100-to-110-day international passenger ship voyages where students visit up to 15 countries in one semester. They learn from leading faculty and international experts, engage in hands-on field experiences and service projects at each destination and earn academic credit.

“The whole goal of our foundation is to give back and create a bigger, better community,” says Kelley Buckley (BA ’84), one of Dr. Robert Brawn’s (LLD ’16) daughters and director of the Brawn Family Foundation. “My father realized what a powerful program Semester at Sea was. Both of my kids, my sister’s kids, my sister and I have all sailed and he just felt it made a dramatic difference in our lives. As well, since four of our family are U of L alums, this was a great way to combine two programs that have impacted our lives.”

Each year, more than 2,000 participants circumnavigate the globe aboard the MV World Odyssey. Sponsored by Colorado State University, the program champions a global comparative experiential learning model as it connects students to world challenges and fosters global awareness through profound international learning experiences.

“I am so incredibly grateful and very humbled to receive a generous scholarship from the Brawn Family Foundation,” says Mackenzie Salmon. “Along with my on-ship studies, I will gain global knowledge while experiencing India, Vietnam, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, Myanmar, China, Japan and Hawaii through their in-country programs. My involvement at the U of L has been incredible in regards to my academics and Pronghorn soccer experience, and now having the opportunity to study abroad will provide me with a global experience that will be immeasurable.”

Amanda Sakundiak agrees. “Through this experience, I will be able to enhance my crosscultural awareness through travel and exposure, which for me is the best form of education,” she says. “I am honoured to participate in the program and am so incredibly grateful to the Brawn family.”

For Buckley, the experience was transformative and she’s excited for her family to be able to share it with the next generation.

“You realize how impactful your footprint can be in the big picture,” she says. “It’s changed all of our lives and we just feel that everyone needs an opportunity to go outside their comfort zone and look at the big global picture. Everything you do can make a difference.”