Thursday, July 17, 2014

Two months in

Funding my entire education on loans and by working, I have never been given this amount of money without exchanging my labor directly for it. It's because of this that I have been thinking a lot about why the donor has giving us this money for our trips. I feel that although I will be completing the requirements of the program, I owe the donor what they hoped would come of sending students to South Asia. But, I can't know exactly what that is. If it is to spread a cultural awareness about the region I believe that happened without very little effort on my part. Stereotypes and misconceptions have been broken. However, I believe this goal actually gets multiplied in its effectiveness as we tell people back home about our travels. Not only are/will my friends and family be more aware about what life is like in the area, but the people they tell will also come away with a little bit more understanding. Coming from a small town where news travels quickly, my whole town could come away now knowing a little bit more about India. If the goal of the donor was to allow us to experience growth at a personal level through our travels I believe I have achieved that. Being separated from your life back home allows you to take an almost third person perspective of it. I also believe that by working and playing with people from such a different background I have picked up insights about jobs and life. Many people believe that if they just changed cities or jobs that all their problems will be solved, however, I now know that transporting yourself into a completely different situation doesn't change who you are. If the goal of the donor was instill in us a spirit for traveling the globe I believe I have come to that point as well. I believe almost everybody would like to travel to different parts of the world but now I know that it is possible and not as scary as it once seemed. This also will hopefully effect the people I know or at least know me and I hope they think, "Well, if Dan went to India I should be able to go to Germany/China/Brazil...."

I don't know exactly why the donor decided to give money or what they hoped we would accomplish. My guess is that they probably expected a little bit of all three effects mentioned to happen and then some that I either do not know have happened or will never know.

1 comment:

  1. I think you are doing exactly what the donor hoped you might on this fellowship! I can't speak for the donor, but I do know that this person hopes these fellowships are given to students who might not otherwise have an opportunity to travel abroad. This person also had a very profound experience in India while they were a student at U-M, and hoped other students would be able to have that same experience. Of course, I believe your willingness to spread cultural awareness in your hometown and in India are both great things that can happen naturally. The more people know about each other the more it's possible that we might understand each other a little bit better.