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I don’t have any sailing experience. Does that matter?
Experience is not necessary. The experienced crew will teach you everything you need to know about life aboard a ship. From setting sails to steering and if you’re not afraid of heights you can climb the masts. Everybody helps with the daily duties on board like cleaning the decks or assisting the cook in the kitchen. When you are experienced in sailing, you can help the other trainees or learn new things like navigating, knotting, etc.

I’m going alone, is that a problem?
A lot of people travel by themselves or with a couple of friends. From experience, we can tell that learning other people takes very little time. Especially when you keep watch together. During International Exchanges there are different nationalities in one watch, which creates diversity and a lot of fun. A lot of trainees make friends for life!

What is so special about an International Exchange?
The nice thing about an International Exchange is that you not only learn about sailing and life aboard a ship, but also about other cultures and countries. Apart from sailing, there are every day intercultural activities like games in which everybody can participate. In the harbour, you will meet trainees from other countries on ships from all around the world. Together you will have fun at the crewparade and have more fun at the crewparty.

What is the language aboard?
The language aboard most ships is English (and sometimes a mixture of all nationalities present). The crew speaks English and most teaching and instructions are in English. If you’re not a native English speaker, people will explain again or we will look within the group for somebody to translate.

What is it like aboard a ship on the high seas?
Aboard a ship, you keep watch. That is more than just looking out over the water in search of land! During watch, you are responsible for the ship, together with the rest of the watchkeepers and the professional crew. Manoeuvring, climbing the masts, setting the sails, making coffee or provide a snack. Usually, there is a three-watch system aboad.
In an International Exchange, we try to mix the watchkeepers as much as possible. Every watchkeeper has duty twice a day. For example, your watch could be from 08.00 to 12.00 hours and from 20.00 to 24.00 hours. Life aboard is always different and every day and watch is different when it comes to the weather, the wind or the view. From sunshine to rain and from dolphins swimming along the bow to a beautiful sunset!


Safety, Good Seamanship & Careers at Sea. IMO Secretary General E.Mitropoulos commends work of Sail Training International. Read more

The first STH team of young Greeks competed aboard the Dutch brig Morgenstern’ during the Tall Ships Races Baltic 2009. Click to see the movie (created by Martin Blouet)
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