Newman students Brandi Boese, senior, and Diana Stanley, junior, will be spending their Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks a little differently than most students this year. Boese and Stanley will be traveling to Bangalore, India, on Nov. 24. They will be hosted by a Bangalore chapter of the ASC sisters who run the Aradhana Academy, a K-12 school in Bangalore, said Professor of History Cheryl Golden, Ph.D., who is also the newly minted director of international studies.
Golden said the trip came out of a plan from Provost Michael Austin, Ph.D. and Director of Development for Sciences and Health Sciences Therese Wetta, ASC. They wanted to reach out to the various ASC establishments throughout the world to open up opportunities for connections between students and sisters, and they found one in Bangalore.
Golden, who became the international studies director in August, said the whole plan has come together very quickly in the last couple of months, and though she is a bit nervous to send students somewhere she has never been, she trusts Boese and Stanley to do great things.
“I’m very impressed with them. They just want to dive in and get as much out of it as they can,” Golden said.
Boese, who is an elementary education major, said when Golden first came to her with the idea, she was skeptical.
“At first, I was like, ‘Oh that’s cool.’ I wasn’t going to do it. I was like, ‘That’s crazy,’” Boese said. But after a call to her mother and some time to think it over she changed her mind.
“I’m just going to go for it,” she said. “Just going to roll with the punches.”
Boese said as a future educator she is very interested in experiencing the differences between education systems in India and the U.S. She also said she plans on teaching overseas after graduation, and this opportunity will be her first foray into that experience.
Golden said both Boese and Stanley will be serving as teaching assistants, with Boese focusing on helping with math classes and Stanley assisting with English courses.
To prepare for the trip, Boese said that she and Stanley met with alumna Kelsey Sponsel, who recently returned from India, and Wetta, who Boese said has made trips to India in the past. Boese said they advised her not to “eat the ice, drink the water or get on the back of anyone’s motorcycle.”
When the students return, Golden said they will do some presentations and become sort of ambassadors to the Indian ASCs. They will also be doing some online blogging while they are in India.
Golden said she hopes this first trip will be the first step in creating future study abroad opportunities with ASCs around the world. She said senior Emily Simon will also be making a trip out of the country in the spring. Simon will be going to South Korea, where she will stay with a chapter of the ASC for a couple of weeks. Simon, Golden said, is planning on attending graduate school in South Korea, and this will be a great opportunity for her to get acquainted with the schools while also opening relations with the South Korean ASC sisters.
Golden said this first ambassador trip would not have been possible if they had not received financial assistance from both the Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies and the Provost’s office, who paid for Boese and Stanley’s round trip plane tickets.
Boese said with the ASC covering room and board and the plane tickets paid for, she only had to pay for her passport, a couple vaccinations and any extra activities or souvenirs she finds during the trip.