Learning Abroad Center

Hilary in India

Recipient of the Joshua and James Haglund Memorial Peace Scholarship

"[This] has been an invaluable learning experience that has confirmed for me the importance of being flexible and able to put myself in other people’s shoes. 

Tell Us About Your Program

I was given the opportunity to study International Development and work in a grassroots NGO in India over the course of two semesters. After spending the first six weeks studying International Development in the city of Jaipur, I began living and volunteering in a rural grassroots NGO in Southern Rajasthan.

The NGO I was working with focuses their work in two main areas: the preservation and promotion of Traditional Medicine, and the planning and implementation of Integrated Rural Development projects in inhabited areas of poor and marginalized populations. Over the course of seven months with the organization, I was able to involve myself in a variety of ongoing projects, while also having the opportunity to carry out my own independent research.

How Were You Affected By the People and Culture?

In a place where women walk miles to bring clean water back to their homes, and where children are seen lugging stones along the roadside to a nearby construction site, I cannot help but be inspired by their strength, and challenged to rethink my own identity as a western woman.

What Did You Learn From Your Internship?

Participating in a wide range of activities within the NGO…has given me a deeper understanding of the lives of some of the most marginalized communities in India and enabled me to understand the hardships of an area where everything from quality schools and healthcare to rainfall are rarities. … I have gained new insight into the power of individual choices, and the importance of working towards common goals.