Sail for a week aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas, from San Juan, Puerto Rico to St. Thomas, Curaçao, Aruba, and St. Maarten, as part of the Aphasia Recovery Connection’s (ARC) Learning @ Sea program for 2018. ARC is an international non-profit organization that has as its focus eliminating the feeling of isolation that many people face when they have aphasia.
This experience will be more clinical than academic in nature. Students will have the experience of having extended time with people who have aphasia (PWA) and their caregivers. The primary goal is to have the students use evidence-based communication techniques with PWA. A secondary goal is to give the students a better understanding of the everyday trials and triumphs of PWA and caregivers.
San Juan, Puerto Rico from where the cruise ship departs on Saturday, September 8th, 2018.
CHarlotte Amalie, St Thomas
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
How to Apply
Detailed information on How to Apply can be found here.
SPA 6505 - Advanced Practicum (1 credit hour). Please, print out the following Course Approval form Aphasia CAF 201708 , sign it and get your academic advisor's signature.
Pre-trip education/workshop-(total 6.5 hours)
SCA refresher (30 minutes)
Create/gather SCA materials (2hours)
Workshop on: (1 hour)
Additional EBP techniques that may be helpful with some PWA on board (e.g. ACRT for a spelling bee; Semantic Features Analysis for naming activities; Response Elaboration to describe pictures and/or shore experiences, etc.)
Expected behaviors and a reminder that this is a professional experience.
Planning the 4 activities that the students will lead on board with the PWA and/or caregivers. Students will prepare four 1-hour sessions targetalking/writing) and comprehension (reading/listening) (3 hours)
Facilitate Communication during ARC sessions-(total 10 hours)
Students would assist in the caregiver training of SCA (led by Brianna Kosch, CCC-SLP) (1hour)
Students would assist in at least one caregiver support group (led by Melodie Dregansky) (1 hour)
Students will assist the ARC Program Committee on specific tasks as approved by the Group Leader (4 hours)
Students will conduct four 1-hour sessions for PWA during the cruise. (4 hours including prep time)
Facilitate Communication during social gatherings and at meals-(total 3 hours)
Students will assist PWA who are traveling without a caregiver during dinner to assist with placing orders (2 hours)
Students will assist PWA on board the ship to participate in various activities (e.g. BINGO, reading menus and ordering, reading the daily activities sheet and planning activities, conversation with staff and others aboard the ship, etc.) (1 hour)
Facilitate Communication during on shore activities-(total 2-4 hours)
ARC usually has at least one shore excursion in which most of the PWA participate, and the students would go as well. Students will assist PWA and caregivers during approved shore excursions to facilitate communication and, perhaps, assist the caregivers (e.g. pushing the wheelchair occasionally, waiting with the PWA while the caregiver goes to the rest room, etc.) (2-4 hours depending on the excursion selected)
Total Program Cost: $1,956 + tuition for 1 credit hour
Cabin of double or triple occupancy
ARC participation fee
Lectures on board
Meals and gratuity on cruise line
Medical and Emergency Evacuation Insurance
Cost does not include:
Passport or visa fees
Transportation to or from Puerto Rico
Excursions at ports
Financial Aid and Scholarship Funding
Students who are eligible for loans and grants to take classes at USF may be able to use their assistance to study abroad. USF students should contact the University of South Florida Office of Financial Aid (813) 974-4700 or visit USF Financial Aid for further information.
The Education Abroad Office offers Compass Study Abroad Scholarships for study abroad. These are partial scholarships awarded on a competitive basis. Please visit our Funding Page for application information and deadlines.
Health and Safety
USF provides program participants with sickness/accident and emergency medical evacuation insurance valid for the dates of the program. Those who will travel independently, either in advance of the program or after the program ends, must ensure that they have insurance coverage valid outside the U.S.
For detailed information on travel documents you may need for your trip please visit our Passport and Visa page.
Students will need to arrange for their own airfare to San Juan, Puerto Rico and back.
This program will be on board a cruise ship of Royal Caribbean International, Freedom of the Seas. Students will stay in double-occupancy Stateroom Type: Inside Cabins on the cruise ship. Each cabin has a private bathroom.
Faculty and Contacts
Cheryl A. Paul, M.S., CCC-SLP
After years of working in a number of careers, Cheryl A. Paul finally finished her thesis in 1990, to earn her Masters of Science in Speech Language Pathology from the University of South Florida in Tampa. From the start, Cheryl worked with adults who had neurogenic communication disorders. She discovered a love for working with people who have aphasia. Aphasia is a communication disorder that can impact expressive communication (such as talking and writing) and/or receptive communication (including understand what people say and what one reads). Aphasia results from a brain injury, most often due to a stroke. Aphasia can also result from head injuries, brain diseases, tumors, degenerative brain disorders and other brain invasive causes.
Ten years after getting her M.S., Cheryl accepted a position at USF as a Clinical Instructor in Speech Language Pathology. Since 2000, Cheryl has trained more than 400 Masters level students to provide evaluation and treatment for people with aphasia.
Currently, Cheryl is still training student clinicians. She also coordinates the free adult communication support groups at the USF Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. The support program provides upwards of 16 different groups during the semester that allow the attendees to learn and practice more effective communication techniques and/or practice skills that have been impacted by aphasia. These support groups allow student clinicians the opportunity to practice evidence-based techniques for improving communication of people with aphasia. For example, Cheryl has run an Aphasia Book Club since 2003 that uses supported reading techniques to allow members to read entire books. To date, the book club members have read (and re-read) 13 books including several by John Grisham, Stephen King and Nicholas Sparks; some classics, including The Old Man and the Sea and The Call of the Wild; and the very contemporary biography of comedian Tina Fey.