Miranda is an Ambassador who studied abroad in India
Major: Integrative Health Science
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I wanted to open my heart up to a different culture than my own. Studying abroad allowed me to participate as a global citizen; I grew and learned in ways a classroom could never fulfill. India allowed me to experience a lifestyle that threw exciting curve balls at my every single day I walked out of my host mother’s house. Embracing difference while recognizing similarity between India’s culture and my own was—and continues to be—an astounding experience for me.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
There was a day after our first month in Kolkata where a few of us decided to wander around the city for the day. We woke up early and took the metro to Park Street where our school was located—it’s this great street with a plethora of tasty restaurants and lots of fun vendors. From there we found ourselves walking towards the Hooghly river; it is a tributary of the Ganges River and is holy to many Indians. Once we arrived, I was awestruck with the beautiful rituals taking place all around us. We found a river boat vendor and went on a spur-of-the-moment tour. After making our way back to Park Street, we found a fun new restaurant and scarfed down some of the best pizza I have had in my life. I remember thinking how incredible it was to be halfway across the globe exploring a place, once foreign to me, with familiarity.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Deciding to study abroad is one of the best decisions of my college career. I built life-long friendships, grew into a more competent global citizen, learned a lot about who I am, and ate a whole lot of tasty food! People often think India is a place vastly different than the United State, that it is a place where only people looking to be pushed out of their comfort zone travel. However, Kolkata is a beautiful, buzzing city with exciting new restaurants, beautiful arts, incredible food, and adventures around every crowded corner.
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?
Studying abroad helps you gain life experience that a classroom cannot compete with. It is a great way to fulfill credits while living and learning in a different culture. Often, studying abroad might be a person’s first time out of the country or out of the country without family; so, experiencing abroad with a group of fellow Bennies and Johnnies as well as a faculty director is a huge comfort.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Do it! Pick a trip that fits your interests yet allows you to learn about a culture—and more importantly, yourself. Keep your heart open to new and unexpected experiences, because those are the moments you will remember for a lifetime.