“I truly believe that through participating in the Kirkwood Study Abroad trip to India, I now have a better idea of what I want to do after I graduate,” wrote one student.  “The trip helped reiterate my desire to live and work abroad someday and aided in solidifying my want to work with underprivileged kids.”  This student and many more went to India this year and last year, through a program led by Alissa King, sociology instructor at Kirkwood.

In 2013/2014, Alissa and Mark Bromwich conducted a study on the first (pilot) trip to India for the Master Teacher Program Year 3.  Because it was a pilot program, they investigated the impact the program had on students and if it was worth repeating a second year.  To view their research project poster, please click here.

An Indian girl showing her notes written in her notebook

Below are some student statements about the pilot program and this year’s service learning program in India.

I did not know I could be comfortable teaching 6th through 8th graders, even with a language barrier. I learned how to be patient and easy-going, even when plans change – and they inevitably change in India. Finally, I learned that I want to make a difference in India.

I learned a lot about myself, including the fact that traveling is definitely for me, and I will be doing it many more times in life. This was a great experience, and I hope others will get the chance to go to India, and even more specifically Saidham School in Faridabad- and gain the most valuable life experience that my group and I did.

This trip to India will help me with my future goals. I have made so many connections and learned so much from my time there. I want to do something that has to do with non-profit work and my goal is to make this world better. I hope this isn’t the last time I experience India.

The experience of India was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, allowing me an in-depth glimpse of a rich, vibrant culture. The ability to interact and associate with the people of India has eliminated past stereotypes, opening my eyes to the generosity and unending hospitality of a nation half-way around the world. The most impactful experience was visiting the local village. What struck me was the excitement these women expressed, even though we did not speak the same language, to welcome us in their home and offer us what they had. They did not express embarrassment for what they lacked, they welcomed us with openness and love, yes, love. Internalizing this experience, it is my quest to express more openness, generosity, and love to all I meet.

What made the greatest impact was being invited into the homes of Indian people. I was able to have extended conversations with people and find out what their daily lives were like, how they felt about their government, their job opportunities, and their future. It was through many of these exchanges that I gained a greater understanding of Indian people.

All photos in the video were taken by Kirkwood students.

About Alissa King and Mark Bromwich

Alissa King sitting near a stone wall in IndiaDr. Alissa R. King is an Assistant Professor of Social Sciences. When she began working at Kirkwood, she promptly set her sights on developing a study abroad program. She has taken students to India twice. She enjoys seeing students experience their world through a sociological lens and loves the opportunities that Kirkwood Community College affords their faculty.


Mark Bromwich photoMark Bromwich is an Assistant Professor for the Web Technologies Program, teaching web programming and design. While at Kirkwood, he has had several opportunities to work with visiting exchange students in IT, and has always enjoyed the interesting experiences. When asked to shadow the Study Abroad to India trip, he jumped at the chance for a unique opportunity provided by Kirkwood, and loved the experiences he and the students had.

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