Can the ship be contacted in case of emergency?
- The ship is equipped with a modern communication system and can be reached in the case of an emergency even when sailing far off the coast line. A daily log from the ship will always be sent via a satellite connection. The ship will be able to be located at all times by various services and on our website.
How are the participants lodgings on board?
- The lodgings are multiple bed rooms with a maximum of three persons per room. Girls and boys will have separate rooms. The ship has flushing toilets and showers. Every bedroom has its own shower and sink. The showers must be used sparingly when traveling on open water, to minimize water usage. A washing machine and dryer are available in calm weather conditions.
Where will the participants stay when on land?
- During port excursions, the participants will be lodged in hotels, youth hostels or tents.
What happens in the case of sea-sickness?
- Seasickness is part of sailing. Even experienced sailors can still get seasick. Symptoms arising from seasickness are lethargy, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. This sickness is a result of disorientation caused by the ship’s movement. Seasickness isn’t permanent, it normally subsides after one or two days and you wonder why you were sick in the first place. Even so, there are many tips for seasickness: never have a completely empty stomach, no coffee, and adequate levels of vitamin C. For those looking for a solution to seasickness we would suggest Nausyn® from Weleda. It is all natural and has no side-effects. We urge you against bringing any products against seasickness, as some of the medications can have serious side-effects.
Which courses are taught at OceanCollege?
- The course content is based on the curriculum used in the German state of Brandenburg. The lessons will include the core courses as well as German, Math, and English. There will also be optional courses such as Astronomical Navigation. External experts will be brought onto the ship in order to teach individual modules. For example: project management or weather systems. The exact selection of modules will be decided in summer 2017. Participants will receive regular evaluations to be able to better work on common abilities and better use the resources offered by OceanCollege.
What about courses not offered by OceanCollege?
- OceanCollege encourages students to learn outside of their daily courses. Especially on the return trip, where students will be given the opportunity to form study groups in which they can study topics not covered in the OceanCollege curriculum. Exceptional students will be chosen to lead these groups. The teachers will be there to answer questions as needed. Through internet connections, it is possible to hold video conferences in some ports, allowing students on board to take part in examinations at their school under the supervision of an OceanCollege teacher. The final selection of students will influence the selection of teachers in order to cover subjects such as Latin or French.
Who is responsible for school release forms?
- For the extent of the trip, a vacation request form for the participant must be submitted to their principal.
- Every student will receive two report cards at the end of their trip: An OceanCollege report card, which will include their development over the extent of the journey as well as a school report card from our partner school, the state recognized Campus im Stift Neuzelle. With these report cards, following a discussion with their school, the student can complete their regular school education. We are able to accept students from most school systems. The curriculum will be taught at a “Gymnasium” or high school level and due to the small class size the students will be provided with adequate individual support depending on their needs and abilities.
- Before we start the trip, the project team and the ship’s crew will decide upon clear rules for behaviour on board and will then be discussed with the students. The majority of these rules have already been accepted following agreement of the terms in the student contract. The students will choose a spokesperson who will communicate with the captain, project leader, and a selected teacher spokesperson, to manage the needs and wishes of their classmates. There is also a class journal and logbook, where gross misconduct will be noted. Following three entries, a student will be expelled from the trip.
- Every student will receive a detailed packing list. It is mandatory that students bring every item on the list but not more since storage on board will be limited. No suitcases are allowed on board, only travel bags or duffle bags. Every student needs appropiate sailing gear such as waterproof garment worn by sailors or dock workers. OceanCollege is currently in the process of finding a sponsor to help cover clothing costs.
- There is an on board library with books covering the core subjects, as well as a printer and computer. Students will be able to maintain communication with their schools at home, in order to stay up to date on specific topics they may have missed. Every student will be charged 240 Euros to cover their study materials.
- OceanCollege works only with state recognized teachers, in order to maintain high educational standards. These teachers, as well as the project leader will receive safety training for a traditional sailboat, so they can handle emergency situations during travel.
- The crew of the ship is a qualified team, experienced with traditional sailboats on high seas, also chosen based on their coaching ability. Their job is to safely navigate and handle the ship, and they will also be responsible for teaching the nautical courses.
- The OceanCollege ship, the Thalassa, is a barquentine. As well as meeting all safety requirements for world travel, this ship offers enough room for lessons in small groups, a large mess hall and kitchen, as well as a spacious deck.
- The trip will depart from Hamburg or the Netherlands, along the western coast of Europe, to the Canary Islands, across the Atlantic, into the Caribbean and then on to Central America. Longer port stays will take place on Tenerife, in Costa Rica, in Belize, on Cuba, and on the Azores. On the return journey, the ship will pass the Bahamas, the Azores, England, and the Netherlands on its way to Hamburg. The exact route cannot be calculated 100% as it is dependant on weather and wind forecasts, as well as the specific projects on land.
Day to Day on board
Life onboard consists of five elements:
- Every student will take part in rotating duty to provide for the entire ship. They will be under the leadership of an experienced chef, and will prepare three meals a day.
- Every student will be separated into one of three watch groups. in a 24 hour rotation with two four-hour shifts. During watch, the group will tackle sailing the ship, taking part in nautical training, working in the rigging, checking maps, log entries, and machines as well as doing safety rounds.
- When many people live together in such close quarters, it is imperative that everything must be clean and tidy. Therefore, students will be separated into groups and given cleaning duty.
- Every student participates in 4 hours of lessons 6 days a week. On Sunday there is no school, as well as during land excursions.
- A good sleep is necessary when the whole day is spent outside doing hard work.
- Every student will have approximately 4 hours of school a day, including Saturdays. Due to the class groups having a maximum of 15 students, the students will receive more individual attention. Some topics will come in the form of projects for only one module. OceanCollege strives to meet the academic goals of all students by the end of the journey.
- OceanCollege puts a lot of emphasis on proper nutrition, which is why we will bring a cook on board who will be responsible for the purchase of goods as well as for all catering for the students. There are three meals a day as well as one afternoon or midnight tea for those on watch.
Cellphone and Internet Usage
- As cell phones cannot be used on board, the students will have time during port stops to access the internet. During their trip, we hope to help students become more aware of their online activity and communications. On board, MP3 players, laptops, tablets and cellphones will only be allowed in their cabins. There won’t be any Wifi or cell signal when on board.
Rules on Land
- The students may only leave the ship at port once the required tasks on board have been completed. Students will only be allowed to travel in groups of at least three and meet up times are to be observed. Misconduct on land will also be logged.
- We suggest that every participant for this trip has the most important vaccinations. We will send out a notice with enough time for participants to get their shots. OceanCollege does not cover the expenses of the vaccinations. We would also suggest visiting a dentist before departure.
- On both of the Atlantic crossings there will be someone on board with medical knowledge in case of emergency. Every student must be covered by international medical insurance. In case of an emergency a student may be flown to a hospital. There is a fully stocked pharmacy on board in case first aid is required.