Adventure of a Lifetime

One of my good friends forwarded me an email about this fellowship at the end of August. I looked at it and thought, “wow what a cool idea,” then it fell to the wayside as school began to pick up. As I was scrolling through my email in late October I ran across it a second time and really began to think seriously about applying. Initially the idea of going alone was intimidating, but as I sit alone in the Frankfurt airport I couldn’t me more ready to experience this by myself. India has always fascinated me. Elephants are my absolute favorite. I can remember being young(er) and mesmerized by their role in Indian society. India has a long and beautiful history with Elephants. As I got older my interest in India became less based on elephants and more on how Indian culture differs from American culture. I am so excited to experience a new culture so intimately!

I really tried not to get my hopes up about this fellowship. I didn’t want to be let down. As soon as i got the email from Janelle, I was completely ecstatic! It felt so good to be able to email Sparsha and tell them that I was definitely coming. Realizing that this abstract application would soon become a reality was both thrilling and terrifying.

I chose Sparsha because they are a large organization that seeks to reach numerous facets of society. Nisarga Grama is just one branch of a very large organization. I am in the Elementary Education program, so I knew that I wanted to do something with kids. Sparsha does this in a lot of different ways, but the permanent shelters really peeked my interest. They facilitate residential education programs for underprivileged kids. It’s a concept that I think is really awesome and could be adapted in the US. Most alternative Ed programs in the US aren’t residential. It will be interesting to see the difference a residential program makes in terms of academic success.While at Sparsha I am working to understand the relationship between residential programming and educational progression. Many of the kids Sparsha works with were engaged in child labor or come from homes that did not facilitate access to education. They are far behind in terms of grade level when they arrive and the shelters do an incredible job of bringing the kids up to where they need to be.

I will be living in Bangaluru. I am, however, not certain whether I will be in the heart of the city or in the outskirts. The location of my homestay is different than the site where I will be working.  There is still a lot up in the air (like what i’ll be doing each day), but that makes me feel even more excited! This will truly be an adventure

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One last selfie with my siblings before I left, clearly my brother is thrilled

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About Madeline Stagner

Madeline is a sophomore who was recently accepted into the Elementary Education program and will be pursing a major in Language Arts. After graduation, Madeline is interested in teaching in the classroom for several years and eventually pursuing a career in education policy.

3 thoughts on “Adventure of a Lifetime

  1. Hi Madeline,
    I am just now getting to read over and comment on the blogs, but it’s really cool to go back and see this and read your other posts immediately following and see the progression! I like what you said about getting the email, thinking of applying, applying, hearing back, and finally being in the airport ready to go. It all happens so fast, doesn’t it?? I think back to when I was in high school and my family planned a trip to Scotland. I remember very vividly standing in my parents’ living room when my mom said, “Just think, in six months from now, we’ll be in Scotland!” It was like, whoa, that will be great, but six months is so long! I couldn’t believe how quickly that time when (and how quickly the following decade-plus went). Your optimism will serve you well in the coming weeks, as well. From what it sounds like, there’s a good mix of having a plan and “Well, here we go!” And don’t forget to see the elephants!
    -Dan

  2. Hi, Madi! Does it feel real yet? I wish you the very best on the transformative journey you have ahead of you! I cannot wait to discuss more how this experience changes and reinforces your beliefs and viewpoints on education. I taught abroad in a former life and found it so valuable in building my personal educational philosophy. I am excited to follow your journey through the blog and hear all about your time in India when you return to campus! And I second Dan – see the elephants!

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