Bangalore, India – June 20, 2011

Well, my time with Session I of USAC here in India is about to come to a close. After five long weeks here in Bangalore, my time is just about over. Thursday marks the last day of classes for me, and after that we will each be going our different ways. Some will be returning home immediately after classes end, some are going to journey a little more throughout India and then go home, and some of us are going to travel for a little bit and then come back and start the second session of the program. I’m planning on going to Mumbai, Jaipur, Agra, and New Delhi before coming back to Bangalore. By then, I’ll be very tired and very willing to meet the new set of students, teaching staff, and opportunities that await during the second session.

With this in mind, I fear that this last journal may be a little more nostalgic than it should be. I just got back from a delightful and very relaxing weekend with eleven of my new best friends in the amazingly beautiful Goa. We spent the weekend on the beach, in the pool, laying in the sand, getting tan (and getting a little bit burnt), and just enjoying the little time we had left together. I am very sad that our time as a group is so close to ending. We truly bonded like a family, and I can only hope that the second session will become as close as our small group did so quickly. Before we all head back to our different directions, we still have plans to tour the slums, to attend a henna party, and eat a final farewell dinner with our Resident Director and his family.

After the presentations of the last Service Learning class, I realize now that some of the things I have seen so far in India do not adequately describe the Indian scenario. The village, school, orphanage, and many of the parts of India we were shown may not be representative of the whole country. International aid, government intervention, and a whole lot of help from Christ University’s Centre for Social Action have heavily influenced these locations. Therefore, they might not show what the majority of India’s rural villages, schools, and orphanages are. However, I believe these will be a guiding light for what others across the country can grow to become.

The many actions of so many different help groups have combined to start a movement for the betterment and empowerment of the people of India, and have helped tens of millions of Indians out of poverty, neglect, malnutrition, and abuse of human rights. But there is much that still needs to be done. After my time here in India and with this Service Learning class, I will be able to investigate with my friends and family the many ways that we back in the United States will be able to use our time, talent, and treasure better the lives of people in this beautiful country, 10,000 miles away.

Last Group Picture
Our study abroad group at the Resident Director’s house. We enjoyed authentic Indian food and shared our favorite memories before all going our different directions.

Taj Mahal
Between Session I and II, we journeyed to northern India to see the world-famous Taj Mahal. In this picture, a small group of students smile below one of the most beautiful buildings ever constructed.

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