Newman University senior Brandi Boese and junior Diana Stanley have returned from a six-week study abroad with the Bangalore chapter of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ in India.
Boese and Stanley worked at the K-12 Aradhana Academy, teaching conversational English to the students, instructors and, especially, sisters learning and working at the school.
Cheryl Golden, Ph.D., professor of history and director of international studies at Newman University, said the sisters had Boese and Stanley interacting with students as young as 6 and sisters "running the gamut in ages and backgrounds."
"Generally, I helped with communication, English and transcription classes," Stanley said. "When we did conversation classes, being able to speak spontaneously was a big topic."
Instructors and sisters wanted to speak conversational English without having to think about the rules of the language -- and Boese and Stanley were there largely to help them with that.
Stanley focused mostly on teaching communication classes, but she was also able to teach a few music classes. While substituting in one music class, she taught the young students how to sing "Oh, My Darling Clementine" just for fun. One week later, one of the students gave her a "thank you" card with all of the lyrics of the song written inside.
"I didn't ask them to write down the lyrics in class," Stanley said, adding that she hadn't expected them to. "It was one of the most adorable things I have ever been given."
Upon returning, Stanley said she was asked if she would miss India.
"It's the people I met that really made the experience for me," she said. "The sisters were an amazing group of women who do so much for the community. I am going to miss them."
Her time in India has not influenced her educational focus at Newman University. She still plans to study history, but she said it influenced her as a person.
"Being there and having this amazing exposure to a culture very different from America culture was very influential," Stanley said.
After graduation in 2017, Stanley said she plans to attend graduate school, likely to continue her history education.
"I haven't really decided on a discipline yet, but something in history definitely," she said. "Maybe I'll study Indian history, too."
Golden said the opportunity to study abroad was great for both Boese and Stanley professionally and in their education.
"This extraordinary experience will be a great resume feature while it challenges them and offers unique experiential learning about the world, people, life and faith," she said.