Every school year, the Amarillo College Presidential Scholars travel around the globe with the intention of making a difference. This year, the scholars traveled to Nepal and India. But they’re not the only ones who got to embark on a global adventure.
A handful of instructors and staff members also traveled 10,000 miles and experienced culture, food, beautiful sites and people.
After the 15-hour flight from Dallas to Delhi, the travelers finally made it to India. They rested in a proper bed and had some real food before embarking to experience the sites and culture of India.
For some staff members, such as Bob Austin, it was the first time they’d traveled with the Scholars.
“The Taj Mahal was my favorite site, more magnificent than imagined; pictures do not do it justice,” said Austin, vice president of student affairs. “It defies description, something that can only be understood if you have been there before to experience it.”
Honors Coordinator and Professor Judy Carter said while she appreciated the sites, she also enjoyed other aspects of the trip.
“You might think it would be the Taj Mahal or the Kathmandu Valley Living World Heritage Site or the elephant climb to the top of Amer Fort,” Carter said. “All of those were magnificent. But the most magical times were those shared with the people of Nepal and India.”
During her time with the Presidential Scholars and the global competency program, Carter has had chances to interact with people from several countries.
There was one thing about the people of India that stood out, she said.
“We observed that no matter what caste a person might belong to, they each were living to be the best they could be in that circumstance,” she said. “Everyone seemed to be devout Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, hawker, beggar, entrepreneur. The people were genuinely friendly and did everything they could to show hospitality toward us.”
Carter said the group was treated to a performance of native dance during their last night in an ashram. The performers, children ranging in age from 6 to 18 years, were excited and asked the travelers to perform in return. A computer science major responded to the request.
“Thankfully, Chris Balash was ready to show off some magic,” Carter said. “The audience gasped in delight. We shared happiness.”
The people of India and Nepal also made a lasting impact on first-time traveler and intstructor Lesley Ingham.
“Overall, I learned that human beings are resilient,” Ingham said. “Even in the toughest of circumstances, they somehow make their lives productive, meaningful and even happy.”