Letting India In
Dec 22, 2010Social justice, peace and development are just a few of the ideas students who studied in India this past semester studied. The group, along with students from Gustavus Adolphus College, took on the challenges and conflicts that a developing nation like India faces firsthand every day.
Students immersed themselves in Indian life, especially the lives of those who face some of the biggest challenges.
Concordia students worked with groups that helped women gain equality, studied in the urban slums where the poorest Indian citizens live and participated in home stays with members of the India LGBT community.
Not every interaction was easy, and for many students coming to terms with the Western mindsets and the realities of life in India was a challenge.
Rachel Mathiowetz '11, New Ulm, Minn., was especially affected after visiting the slums in India, then eating dinner at a westernized mall the same day.
“The experience definitely opened our eyes to poverty in India,” she says. “This contrast of westernized upper-class Indians living right next to the poor lower-class Indians is something we continue to observe and consider while in India.”
Despite this, group leader Dr. Jonathan Steinwand believes that students left India with the ability to see their lives in an entirely different way.
“India is the greatest teacher,” he says. “[It] trains us to be more curious, present and open to serendipity in our everyday lives.”
Read the group's blog.