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Faculty member Nancy Janus navigates the world
For Fall 2017 Voyage Faculty Member Dr. Nancy Janus-Berry, Semester at Sea was not something spontaneous; she has been planning to sail for over ten years.
“SAS has been a dream of mine for a long time. I learned about it in the early 2000s and I applied to go in 2006,” said Janus-Berry, who after being offered positions in 2006 and 2007, ultimately decided to wait for better timing.
While not teaching on the MV World Odyssey, Dr. Janus-Berry is a part-time professor at Ekard College in St. Petersburg, Florida. On the Fall 2017 Voyage, she is teaching three courses: Life Span Development, Children in Youth in a Global Context, and Current Global Issues: Focus on Human Trafficking.
“Spring of ’06 was my daughters senior year in high school and I just didn’t feel that it was appropriate to leave,” Janus-Berry said. “And then I was offered [a position] again in 2007 and, that year, I had committed to my school to be the faculty member in residence in London.”
This was before Janus-Berry’s life drastically changed.
“I had the accident that put me in the wheelchair so, as a result, my school doesn’t have me teach full-time anymore. Consequently, I asked the dean [of Ekard College] if I could apply with SAS and she said, ‘That’s a great idea’ so I did,” recounted Janus-Berry.
Prior to her accident, Dr. Janus-Berry was no stranger to international traveling.
“The truth is that I’ve seen this opportunity, in some ways as a dress rehearsal for me, because before the accident, which was five-and-half years ago, I used to travel with students all over the world,” Janus-Berry said. “I thoroughly enjoyed it, just really loved it, it’s always been the best part of my job. After the accident, I wasn’t sure if I could do that anymore.”
During her time and travels on Semester at Sea, Dr. Janus-Berry has discovered that, with the help of her husband Brian, she can travel internationally once more.
“I wanted to see which developing countries I could manage in a wheelchair, my hope being to be able to go back to traveling with students again, and I realized that I can as long as Brian goes with me,” Janus-Berry said.
Not to say that traveling does not come with its challenges; those with disabilities certainly face their fair share along the way, which Dr. Janus-Berry can attest to.
“I was a trip liaison back in Cu Chi [Vietnam], and the guide kind of didn’t know what to do about me,” Janus-Berry said. “I think that there probably should be a better preparation of the guides. I think it’s important for the program to find out what the tolerance is of the disabled person is.”
When asked how she felt Semester at Sea has done with making the program accessible for her, Dr. Janus-Berry replied, “I think [Semester at Sea] has been really good in every dimension. The ship is accessible, the service staff in the dining rooms are really nice to me. It’s been wonderful.”
Dr. Janus-Berry’s husband, Brian, agreed.
“They have been superb. We have never been made to feel like our requests were too much and many of our requests have been anticipated. It’s been lovely,” Berry said.
Despite the challenges faced, Janus-Berry feels that traveling the world with Semester at Sea is where she is meant to be.
“I feel like this whole program was written for me,” Janus-Berry said. “I love the water, I love teaching, [and] I love traveling with students.”