A Learning Experience in India

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Publication Date: 8/12/2008


Rhodes international studies major Arijit Paul ’09 recently returned from India where he participated in a program called "Bharat Yatra." Sponsored by New York Life and the India Tourism Board, the program is designed to teach college students about the culture, environment and present day life in India and to inspire them to stay connected and help alleviate poverty.

“This was an eye-opening and life-changing trip. After reading the sensationalized accounts of India’s growth story in the Western media, seeing India’s reality--a stark division between rich and poor--was a sobering experience. I feel compelled to help the Indians left behind by the country’s lop-sided economic growth,” says Paul.

Every year, New York Life conducts an essay competition to select participants for the trip. Paul submitted an application consisting of his resume and a 1,500 word essay discussing India′s developmental challenges.  He was one of 15 participants (ages 18-23) selected from across the nation and the only student selected from the South. 

“We travelled to prosperous urban areas such as Bombay and Pune. But we also toured villages, farms, factories, NGOs, and glimpsed many rarely-seen aspects of India. I was struck by the optimism of the Indian people despite tough living conditions,” says Paul. 

Students were filmed during the course of the trip. A documentary containing student responses to the experience will be shown on select television channels.  Paul will travel to New York City in September to attend the launch of the documentary.