This trip for me was the start of something bigger. When I stepped into the airport to head to Chennai for the first time I had so many thoughts. What would it be like in another country? How will I respond to this new environment? Will I have this great transformation that I want? But with all of these thoughts, I never once considered how this trip could be of real transformation.
That this trip could be the start of change not only for myself but also for my family. I heard all of the stories from previous students, but I still didn’t fully believe that this transformative experience could happen to me.
I was so hopeful it would, but I was still doubtful. There was this complex battle of seeing what I could experience and yet being skeptical about how this journey would go for me. It was this mixed nature of wanting to tackle this new adventure head-on, yet I still wanted to shy away and hope that this experience “will just happen”. I saw the final product, but for so many reasons I was scared as to see what this would look like for me.
If traveling to India and Nepal has taught me anything, it has taught me to dig deeper and to take time to understand the complexities of life. when I first arrived in India it was so easy for me to just look at the vibrant colors, the temples, and the people and see them just as they are. I constantly heard to take this experience and to truly reflect on what I was seeing, but that was so hard for me.
I knew what I saw, but what other story did it tell? I didn’t know much about the culture at the time, and for me, it was hard to think beyond the scope of simplicity. I think one of the stories that stuck with me the most during this trip was about poverty in India.
A guest lecturer visited our class and she briefly spoke on the children who beg for money. She explained how the adults with them might not be their parents and that y giving these children money we might be supporting a cycle that is not healthy for the child or Indian society.
I remember this moment because I think it was my first awakening of digging deeper, to look beyond what I saw. It was the first time in India that I had to put my emotions in check. I’ve always known that my “heroicness” was not and is not needed, but I learned that on another level. I had to grow to become comfortable with the knowledge that there are complexities to society, and I believe that it has helped me grow stronger in my understanding of what helping others truly looks like on a global scale.
This trip and the people I’ve experienced it with, has helped me to see that the complexities in humans are what makes us all so beautiful. Our mixed emotions, behaviors, and more are what truly makes us humans. Meeting new people and experiencing new things has helped challenge me in ways I never thought were possible.
It helped me to start exploring myself and what my complex story might be. Where do I find my identity and how do I define who I am? With only a few more days left in my study abroad trip, it’s hard for me to believe that this transformation process is over.
This journey has answered many questions for me, but I feel as if it has created more questions than what it has answered. It has made me wonder where my journey will continue and how will I find my way to make an impact on the world and so much more. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just my way of continuing the task that I’ve started, to dig deeper.