The Semester at Sea Lifelong Learning Program invites adventurous adult travelers to grow, experience, and explore on our academic voyages. This one-of-a-kind opportunity provides adults a second chance at fulfilling their study abroad dream. Julie Adams is a Lifelong Learner on board for this semester who views her voyage as “a chance to do something I always wanted to do but wasn’t ready for in college.”
Julie is a free spirit who loves to travel, learn, and push herself out of her comfort zone. She is a psychologist in her home state of Washington and a first-time voyager. Julie said she came on Semester at Sea because she was craving deep reflective conversations and a chance to expand her view of the world and is grateful for the ways her new experiences have challenged and changed her perspectives. Her goal for the voyage is to learn as much as possible, and she is doing so by taking a wide range of exciting courses, her favorites being International Mass Communications, Psychology of Music, and Travel Writing.
“This is a voyage of transitions,” Julie explains. “It is a time of self-discovery for both college students and many older adult voyagers. It breaks the rhythm of routine, allowing for a change of course and the chance to try something new and different.”
“When I look at my email, I see that I get the same emails every day, and I am reminded about how easy it is to get into a rut. And so, part of me thinks I need to change things up, and doing something like Semester at Sea changes everything up. After this voyage, I’ll go back and say, ‘Oh my gosh! You are all doing the same things you did before I left, and yet during that same time, I’ve had all these incredible experiences,” Julie says.
Through her experiences as a Lifelong Learner, Julie has decided to become more heavily involved in climate change and ocean conservation activism when she returns back home. She said she grew up with an awareness of the environment and the knowledge of practices such as recycling, but while on this voyage has recognized that is not the case for everyone. Her classes on the ship, such as Global Studies and Oceanography, discuss the impacts of climate change and its effects on our world. This opportunity to learn about global issues in such a unique environment has helped Julie realize this is her true passion.
Students say some of the first things they notice about Julie are her positive attitude, contagious smile, and self-confidence. She has traveled on many field programs where she has enjoyed making fun memories with the students, such as stargazing in Wadi Rum, visiting the cat monastery in Cyprus, and walking inside the Taj Mahal. She also said it was moving and eye-opening to see first-hand the impact of British colonialism in Kenya and the poverty in India.
But one of the most significant parts of this voyage for Julie is the accomplishment of being here. In 2014 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and encephalitis that disabled her for two years, forever altering her outlook on life. Knowing she may never have been able to be on this voyage makes her incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be here.
“You had to have hit rock bottom to be able to count the drops in your life every day that add up to a pool of gratitude,” Julie reflects. And for Voyage 131, her pool of gratitude is bigger than she could have dreamed.