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