Gwyneth Luhmann, Class of 2017
It’s funny how in that final moment, I realized for the
first time where I was. We had traveled 10,000 miles,
to a country so different from our own. And on that last
day, I finally became aware of the pure beauty of the
country: the diversity of art forms, religion, cuisine, and
No matter where we were, be it the slums of Mumbai,
or the rural areas of Hyderabad, the people were so full
of life and culture. They are what made the country so
beautiful. Their enthusiasm to bring us into their world,
even for a brief moment, to shock us in the most stunning way, is what made this a cultural immersion.
My eyes have been opened to culture like never before.
You can read about the slums, listen to the music, watch
a Bollywood dance film, but only when you're there do
you truly learn and become an international student.
Kavya Chatterjee, Class of 2018
Today was a fulfilling day. We played in a premier
league stadium against the Chigoli Academy players;
they were from ages 10 to 14. They are very talented and
definitely gave us a challenge for the hour we played
them. We ended up winning 2-1, but it took us a while
to get the first goal in. The young boys, being almost a
foot or two shorter than us, encouraged us to play our
hardest in the scorching heat. I personally had fun being
schooled by a boy about a foot shorter than me, who
then laughed with me about it afterwards.
After lunch we drove to Kambali Lodge and experienced
traditional African living. We stayed in huts made out of
clay or wood and straw, and ate incredible food consist-
ing of stews and insima, maize flour. To end the night we
drummed together and made rhythmic sounds. Overall,
a day that I will never forget.
Carly Ryan, Class of 2017
The fifth day somehow found a way to be more meaningful and exhilarating than all the others, which I
thought would be impossible. In the morning we went
straight to Natangué where we helped out in classrooms.
During each class, the kids sit down and color or practice writing letters, but since there are not enough tables
or teachers, only half the class does the activity. While
two groups were coloring, I sat down with the children
waiting and introduced myself with my Senegalese
name, Aïssatou (the children do not understand Carly
and would just call me Toubab). The teacher told me I
could read to the kids who were waiting if I wanted.
Once I sat down with a book in hand, I remembered
that the kids' French was not yet very developed. I
opened the first page and one of the little ones, Koumba,
broke the silence that they had so well maintained, and
yelled out a word in Wolof: 'niay.' Considering the giant
elephant on the page, I assumed he was talking about
that. So I said 'éléphant' (and he repeated 'éléphant');
then the others sang the word in Wolof again, 'niay.'
When I turned the next page there was a chorus of
young voices telling me Wolof for giraffe, and I echoed.
I would then tell them the French translation and they
would all reply.
In so many ways it feels like this culture has so much
more to offer me than I have to them. Today, even the
children taught me.