India service project available

Hannah Fermanich

Not sure how to spend your Christmas vacation next school year? Join NMU as they cross the globe to India as part of an international service project.

Students will immerse themselves in the native culture as they spend their time exploring the country and volunteering with orphans and school children.

They will visit the Taj Mahal, the Dalai Lama’s main temple, go hiking in the Himalayas as well as visit several other locations.

“I think in some ways, these trips are life changing,” said Rachel Harris, associate director of the Center for Student Enrichment.

The tentative dates for the trip are Dec. 27, 2012 through Jan. 12, 2013 and the cost is between $3,200 and $3,600. The actual dates and price will be determined closer to departure.

The price for the trip includes airfare, meals, lodging, entrance fees and transportation.

Students also need a passport, Visa and a health visit before departure; these items would be an additional cost.
They must also be enrolled in Superior Edge before leaving.

For students that are worried about the cost, Harris suggests students start saving now for the trip.

She also recommends fundraising to help cover the cost.

“It’s an adventure because it’s so different,” Harris said.

Students will spend the first few days of their trip visiting different cities and seeing the sights as well as participating in a home stay with a local family.

After that, they will travel north to Palampur where they will begin the volunteer portion of the trip.

Students will spend time with other students and orphans, teach young girls how to ride bikes and operate computers, Harris said.

“The experiences are only something you can get first hand,” said Kurt Brandly, a student who went on the last trip. “Just to see the excitement in the kids’ eyes when you show up at the school was heartwarming.”

According to Harris, this trip is a way for students to experience a new culture and to live in it.

The experience is different than staying at a resort or a hotel. Students will truly get to experience India.

“It truly makes me appreciate everything that I have now,” said Megan Keiser, a student previously involved with the program.

Students will be accompanied by Harris as well as assistant professor Gary Stark on the trip. Harris led a similar trip to India last May.

“I have changed my outlook on life because of the time I spent in India,” Keiser said.

Interest meetings for the project will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 30 and at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 4 in the Cadillac Room of the University Center.

For more information or questions about the project, email Rachel Harris at [email protected].