India Summer Program: Service Learning & Cultural Immersion testimonials
The ACM India Summer Program was a life-changing experience for which I will always be grateful. India, and especially Melghat, is a microcosm of so many crucial global issues – education, healthcare, women's rights, child development, poverty, hunger, sustainability – so the educational opportunities in this program are unparalleled. Furthermore, Melghat is a remarkable place; I fell in love with the land, the people, the culture, and my work with the beautiful tribal children. Each day offered challenges, fun, triumphs, and failures, all of which contributed to my understanding of our world as well as to my own self-growth. I have a better grasp on the nature of service, the complexities of development, and the trajectory of my own life path. I will never forget the friendships I made with ACM faculty and staff, with Maitri volunteers, with my host family in Pune, the villagers in Melghat, and my fellow ACM students. My summer with ACM in India was nothing short of unforgettable, and I cannot wait to return to India.
—Kate Squiers, India, Summer 2011
The ACM Summer Program in India was undoubtedly the best summer I have ever had. The experiences I had with the Korku people in Melghat were insightful, fun, and challenging all at the same time. Despite their impoverished living conditions, the Korkus are some of the nicest, most fun people I have ever met. Not only was I able to work with the adults, I also played frisbee and soccer with the children every evening. I am still in touch with many of the people in Melghat, and plan to return several times in the future.
—Dan Read, India, Summer 2010
The ACM India Summer Program afforded me the experience of a lifetime that I will never forget. Our time spent in Pune equipped me with valuable language skills and introduced to me different facets of Indian politics, culture, history and daily life. What I most appreciated from the program was the unique opportunity to spend five weeks conducting a survey on young women and children's health in Melghat. I was able to experience the complexities, challenges and successes of international development firsthand. Most importantly, I was able to make personal connections and friendships that I continue to keep to this day; I am incredibly fortunate to have participated in this program.
—Alexa Wilcox, India, Summer 2010
Going to India was one of the most important decisions of my life. Not only did I affirm my career path to work in the field of International Development, but I also gained a whole new cultural understanding of Indian life that is now a part of me forever. I think of my host family in Pune as my extended family, as they made me feel like India is my second home. We still keep in touch via snail mail. Aside from my time exploring Pune, working with the Korkus in Melghat was incredibly rewarding. I gained unparalleled first-hand fieldwork experience about the status of women’s reproductive health in tribal India. Living amongst Korkus for three weeks taught me how to cook south-Indian food, how to properly wash clothes in a river, and how to simply embrace the quiet moments throughout the day. I will never forget the hours I spent with Korku women and girls, fostering intimate connections between people who would otherwise be worlds apart. I know I will return to India one day, and hopefully give back even a fraction of what they all have given me.
—Emma Tuttleman-Kriegler, India, Summer 2011
My summer in India was truly the opportunity of a lifetime. Spending time in both the villages of Melghat and the busy city Pune enabled me to see such different aspects of Indian culture. I thoroughly enjoyed living so simply in the village of Chilati where we got to play with the most adorable kids ever in the evenings while devoting our efforts to our projects during the day. Back in Pune I stayed with the best host family I could of hoped for and learned so much from them. More than anything else I miss the people I left back in India. I will always remember the meaningful relationships we formed with our translators, the ACM staff, the children we worked with, and our host families which formed such a critical part of our time in India. I am so grateful for my ability to have participated in this ACM program, which has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my life.
—Shawn Rajendram, India, Summer 2012
I spent the summer working in a village area in the state of Maharashtra. I lived without running water or electricity and it was the most liberating experience of my life. I got to see, firsthand, the complexity of development programs and work beside other dedicated non-governmental organization workers. The ACM provided language and cultural training that was relevant and useful. Spending time in both an urban and rural setting helped me to explore the extreme complexities of Indian society. I have immense respect for all the people I met in conjunction with the ACM Summer Program in India; it was the most empowering experience of my entire life.
—Liz Steele, India, Summer 2010