June 16th, 2024

University student departs for adventure on high seas


By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on February 1, 2023.

University of Lethbridge student Leeza Voyevoda is taking part in the Semester at Sea program. University of Lethbridge photo

Leeza Voyevoda will be forever grateful for expanding her comfort zone, as the decision led to an unforgettable education opportunity overseas.

Voyevoda is a local student at the University of Lethbridge who through her intrepid spirit had the confidence to leave her hometown and embark on an educational opportunity through being the Brawn Family Foundation scholarship recipient and the Semester at Sea student.

As a Semester at Sea student, she will join close to 600 students on a ship and set sail for a semester of learning in ship board classrooms through field experiences and service projects.

“It was one of my co-workers who told me he was doing this exchange thing and how he was going to all these amazing countries and taking a semester of school,” says Voyevoda about being introduced to the program. “I literally went to my computer at work, looked it up and started applying 20 minutes later.”

The fourth-year Kinesiology major felt the opportunity is a good way to end her post-secondary journey.

Her post-secondary endeavours started at the University of Calgary, and it was a moment in time where she realized she needed more personal experiences.

“I felt like I needed to be able to make connections with my professors and after my first year at U of C, I heard some good things about the U of L, so I decided to give it a shot,” says Voyevoda. “Within my first few classes here, I was able to go up to a professor and have a conversation and that made a world of difference to me.”

When she made the transition to U of L, Voyeyoda enrolled in independent study opportunities that involved working with her professors and getting hands-on experience.

She eventually put a focus into research studies with Dylan Brown and Drs Scott Rathwell and Jon Doan, and now is considering a career working as an athletic therapist with high performance athletes.

However, she has a vision to attend graduate school and she hopes the Semester at Sea with lay a foundation for those aspirations.

“I’ve always been travel-focused and after high school I was able to travel around the Baltics a little bit and visited Sweden and Russia,” she says, noting her family is originally from Russia. “I’ve always had the itch to travel and one of my big goals is to do my graduate school outside Canada. I love to explore and get different perspectives, opinions and world views, and I see this as a step towards that.”

She’ll be taking four courses over the semester including a required global studies class and a disability across a life span – which is the realm of kinesiology.

The thing that she is looking forward to the most on the voyage comes in the first few stops at the ports in Kenya, where she’ll be going on safari, and India.

The 106-day voyage will be over 11 countries.

Voyeyoda departed from Dubai on Jan. 5 and will dock in Germany on April 20.

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