Thu 10 Feb 2011
I now understand why Phileas Fog, from Around the World in 80 Days, wanted to see if he could travel around the world. He didn’t do it for a bet or even to run away from an investigation. He wanted to see the world! Now, my journey was not as action-packed as Mr. Fog’s or even filled with as many stops. However, my May term cross-cultural to Nepal was about as close as anyone could get.
Messiah offers one of the nation’s top 12 study abroad programs. They offer semester long programs as well as three week trips. I was unable to spend an entire semester in a country because of my major/minor requirements but I did have the time to spend the three weeks after school finished traveling on a short term trip.
I chose Nepal because I have had previous experiences in India and I wanted to learn more about that area of the world…and boy did I. The professor that took us on our trip was born and raised in India and spent many years teaching in Nepal. He knew everything about the culture first hand. He started our experience by having read a few books about the country. We had three meetings and discussed the cultures, traditions, and history of the nation. This helped us to have background knowledge so that we could be prepared for our time in the culture.
Once we traveled to Nepal (which is located on the other side of the world…where Mt. Everest is located), we spent our days studying the culture. We would have a Nepali class in the morning so that we could learn the language (since the trip fulfills one of your language requirements). Then, we would spend the rest of the morning learning about the religions, traditions, and cultures of the people…from the Nepali people themselves. After we learned the knowledge, we got to go into the streets of Nepal and experience it. What a great way to learn!
We got to visit the royal palace, a Hindu temple, a Buddhist stupa, many schools, and a Nepali home for a home stay. We also were able to volunteer our time to paint a needy school and help at a field day. What a life changing experience! In my opinion, studying abroad at Messiah College goes above and beyond anything that Phileas Fog ever could have dreamed!