It feels good to reflect on the days I’ve spent in India. Though it isn’t noticed at first, when I think about it, I believe I have learned so much during my time here. No I haven’t learned anything about Biology or Mathematics but is that what Experiential Education is for anyways? Instead, India and the people I have met have taught me about myself and my place within this world. They have taught me about beliefs I hold, values I cherish, as well as how important these things are to learn about not only for myself, but for everyone.
My homestay Mataji in Varanasi taught me about perspective. She used a Hindu theological story to tell about how we perceive experiences. If you think of your experiences with positive thoughts then you will have positive experiences and positive memories. It seems pretty self explanatory until its opposite is examined. If you think of your experiences with negative thoughts you will only have negative experiences. Instead try to think of these as times to learn and grow. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Another lesson was one from one of my classmates and it was about patience. I had a hard time relating to them and found myself disagreeing with most of what they said. I could have easily argued or expressed my anger to them but what could have been learned from that? Instead I stayed patient, and I learned more about myself through the differences I had with them and how I reacted.
I’ve learned about respect and faith from my instructor Saurabh. He told me that in recent times, children and adults are both lacking in respect towards their elders, teachers, and family and faith in their own ability to achieve their goals. He says that many people are hooked on following the crowd, idolising celebrities, and finding justification through their peers. With this trend people forget their moral responsibilities and their individual selves.
From Delhi to Varanasi, to Rishikesh and Ladakh I have learned many lessons, and have had many Experiential Education opportunities, all being formative to the person I have become. Now, during our last month in India I have realized that the greatest lesson I have learned outside of a classroom is that with an open mind, education can be received at any place and at any time.