Is this the world’s first floating boarding school?
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Is this the world’s first floating boarding school?

If you’ve always dreamed of getting an education on the high seas, now is your chance.

The A+ Academy is a unique boarding school – and not just because it requires students to pass a swimming test for admission. The Academy is based on a Norwegian ship and will take students on a yearlong sailing journey around the world as part of their educational experience.

The ship, the 65-meter-long S.S. Sørlandet, will take 60 qualified high school students from more than 20 countries aboard.

While aboard the ship, the students, who range from grades 10-12, will take courses from the Internatioanl Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement curriculums. They will also be required to take four hours of watch each day, in addition to their studies.

Application requirements include proof that students are already working at or above grade level, as well as an essay, two references and passing an entry interview, medical assessment and, of course, the mandatory swimming test. No sailing experience is necessary, but students will be taught to sail as part of their educational experience.

The ship will make stops in a number of different locations during the year, including Easter Island; the Galápagos Islands; Cape Verde, where students will learn to fish with locals; and Morocco, where they will stay with a Bedouin community in the desert. Other stops include Portugal, Colombia, Panama, New Zealand, Fiji, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Maldives, South Africa and Brazil. The average stop will be for five days, though some are planned to be longer than others.

The school’s founders say the unique structure and curriculum encourage international engagement and global citizenship among students, as well as building important skills like responsibility, communication and teamwork.

“Our students become engaged in living their very own global education. Beyond exceptional results in traditional academic preparation for university, our students define excellence in responsible global citizenship”, reads the A+ Academy website.

In an interview with The PIE News, Head of School Terry Davies said he believes the onboard experience will help A+ Academy students stand out from their peers who attended more traditional schools, making them unique college applicants and job candidates.

“The students are ideally suited for the first time in their lives to observe and assimilate the depth and breadth of the geopolitical reality in which they live”, he said.

“And the diversity that extends to understanding and working with others of different culture.”

“There is no question that our world is based less and less on domestic political, social and economic influences”, Davies continued.

“The sooner we understand that these are global influences, the more easily we will integrate and hopefully enjoy some success.”

The acadmic programming includes courses in four core areas: English, Chinese, Physical Education and Art, Communication and Technology.

The Elective programmes allow students to pursue an area of study of their choosing in order to prepare for university studies and career options in the sciences, humanities, social sciences or business. Electives include biology, environmental science, chemistry, physics, mathematics, calculus, world history, economics, human geography and comparative government and politics.

Tuition and fees cost about €40,000 per year, and applications are currently open for the 2015-2016 academic year.

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