Margaret is an Ambassador who studied abroad in India
Major: Peace Studies
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad in India because I've always been intrigued by the culture that I read about in books. This program really attracted me because of the home stay and service learning components.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
During my study abroad to India, I attended a "real Indian wedding." My host mom's son was getting married, and I got to experience and participate in a week and a half of ceremonies and receptions. Not only was it an awesome way to see into the cultural ceremonies of a wedding, but I was able to meet so many people, and being able to talk to them gave me a greater understanding of the Indian way of life.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I loved my experience in India. There were times when it was extremely challenging and times when I felt very uncomfortable, but every odd quirk of India, the people, the food, the clothes, I fell in love with. I had the most amazing host mom who was my lifeline when I was there and showed me so much of Kolkata life. I had the privilege of working with Prayasam, an NGO for my service learning, and I was so impressed by their dedication to the kids they work with. I know that India is so different from the western world and for that reason it scares a lot of people off from choosing to study there, but I think it a truly unique and remarkable place, and people would love it if they gave it a chance.
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
I think India heavily shaped who I am. I think without going to India, I would have never been able to understand the Indian culture and Indic religions. I think going abroad has only solidified my need to go abroad in a more professional setting in the future as well as given me a new appreciation and understanding and love for a country and people other than my own.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Study abroad is such a difference experience that is unparalleled to any semester you will have at CSBSJU. You're living in another country! Go for it. Don't worry about finances or friends, but just focus on having a new experience and making the most of every moment while you are abroad.