Students from across the campus, with majors ranging from Architecture, Pre-Health, to Psychology went to a faculty-led study abroad trip to India from July 22nd to August 12th. The trip was led by Dr. Radha Balasubramanian (director of Global Studies program and Professor of Russian) and Dr. Emira Ibrahimpasic (assistant director of Global Studies program). The group studied at the Vivekananda Institute of Indian Studies in Mysore, Karnataka, India.
While in Mysore students got an opportunity to learn about historical, political, economic and cultural changes transforming India with specific focus on the effects of globalization and development. In addition to lectures on topics such as history of ancient and modern India, understanding culture, health and gender, microfinance and development, effects of globalization, and leadership in global context, students also had an opportunity to visit different projects run by the Vivekananda Institute for Leadership Development (V-LEAD). Some of the projects visited included: self-help movement project focused on empowering women through microfinance, a blind school for girls from rural areas, a tribal hospital and school, and an organic farm.
In reflecting on her experience in India, senior architecture major Diane Nguyen said "I am able to see how modernity and development affects the people and the environment, but still the people are not just abandoning their culture and traditions which is something that is very admirable to me."
Students also got an opportunity to fully immerse themselves into Indian culture by attending different cultural events and mingling with local students attending the Institute. Finally, students had an opportunity to visit numerous ancient and archaeological sites throughout the state of Karnataka including Chennakeshava Temple in Belur, Chamundi Hill in Mysore, and Shravanabelagola Jain temple. Moreover, students spent a week exploring north India and vising New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur where they visited Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Fatehpur Sikri, Chand Baori stepwell, Hawa Mahal, and many more.
Shelby Sorensen, senior criminal justice major, summed up the trip by stating "Visiting India and the Taj Mahal has been a dream of mine for a long time, and coming here it has not disappointed. The Taj may be the image that first comes to mind when you think of India, but after coming here I've learned that it's beauty is just a glimpse of India. From it's deep history, colorful culture, and it's wonderful people it has been an unforgettable experience!"
Student and faculty participants (from left): Rousol Aribi (Architecture), Diane Nguyen (Architecture), Shelby Sorensen (Criminal Justice), Milla Heikkeinen (Global Studies), Brenda Lopez-Adame (Secondary Education and Spanish), Kim Euter (Global Studies and French), Radha Balasubramanian (director of Global Studies), Max Rombach (Global Studies and Political Science), Zain Saleh (Psychology), Emira Ibrahimpasic (assistant director of Global Studies), Samee Callahan (Advertising & Public Relations and Art), and Mckenzie Rowe (Psychology).