2016 Learner Profiles

Alexandra Hurst

Hometown: Denver, Colorado

Tell us about your favorite book: Currently my favorite book is either Salvage by Alexandra Duncan or Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. Both books act as a lense to criticize some facet of the societies around us, whether that be the patriarchal rule that is prominent in several cultures around the world regardless of their stage of development, or the faith that individuals put in things that they don’t really understand, whether that be science or religion. And in the end point to the fact that we as individuals should always question the constructs that have been put in place around us. As my psychology teacher put it “we are here not only to answer questions, but to also question answers.”

Give one random fact about you:  A random fact about me is that, I hope to find inspiration for my first tattoo on this trip, or at least inspiration for a new art piece.

In class, what kind of character are you?: In class I generally am very quiet, unless I feel that I have some information that would aid in others understanding of the lesson, or would shed some light on an issue that should be discussed.

If you were a fruit, what would it be?: According to Buzzfeed I would be a mango, and you can’t argue with Buzzfeed.

What do you think will be surprising about India?: I think what will be surprising is the diversity within the culture. As outsiders we receive so few stories that we form stereotypes, and while they may be accurate in many cases they fail to include the intricacies and differences that occur within the culture.

In what ways do you feel that India will be challenging for you?: I feel that India will be challenging for me in that I have heard that it can cause a lot of sensory stimulation, and I know that it will be difficult for me to process all the new scents and sounds. However, this is a challenge I am looking forward to facing.

How do you hope to be changed by this trip to India?: I hope to be changed by this trip in having a more comprehensive understanding of the culture, as well as have a better definition of what defines a culture. I also want to walk away with a better understanding of how I operate within different settings that I have yet to be familiar with.

Alexandra HurstSee All Blogs

Ayan Ahmed

Hometown: Boston

Tell us about your favorite book: Between The World and Me

Give one random fact about you: I am the oldest of 4 kids

In class, what kind of character are you?: I am talkative but I make sure I get my work done

If you were a fruit, what would it be?: I would be a banana

What do you think will be surprising about India?: The diversity in religions

In what ways do you feel that India will be challenging for you?: I will have trouble with navigation because India has the highest population

How do you hope to be changed by this trip to India?: I would learn more about other places in the world and how the people there live. I also would become grateful for living In Boston and having many opportunities

Ayan AhmedSee All Blogs

Danielle Truxhall

Hometown: Elyria

Tell us about your favorite book: My favorite book is Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. It’s a story about six mutant teenagers that fly around the world defeating evil scientists

Give one random fact about you: One random fact about me is that I really enjoy dinosaur chicken nuggets because I think they’re cute.

In class, what kind of character are you?: In class I am a quiet and respectful character

If you were a fruit, what would it be?: If I could be a fruit I would be a strawberry because strawberries go in shortcakes, and I am a very short human being.

What do you think will be surprising about India?: I think the population and traffic will be surprising in India, since I have never been to a really busy city

In what ways do you feel that India will be challenging for you?: I think the food will be challenging for me in India, because although I have tried some of their food and enjoyed it, I’m still not used to it.

How do you hope to be changed by this trip to India?: I hope that when I come back I’ll be a lot more conservative.

Danielle TruxhallSee All Blogs

Dannibel Rosario

Hometown: Bronx

Tell us about your favorite book: My favorite book is The Outsiders by S.E Hinton. I read this book for the first time back in 6th grade and I still love it!

Give one random fact about you:  I am a shy person when you first get to know me, it takes me a while to open up.

In class, what kind of character are you?: In class I am a hardworking, supportive and open minded person.

If you were a fruit, what would it be?: If I was a fruit I would be strawberry because it is my favorite.

What do you think will be surprising about India?: I think it will be surprising how much people there is in India.

In what ways do you feel that India will be challenging for you?: What will be challenging is how different India’s culture is from my culture.

How do you hope to be changed by this trip to India?: I hope that this trip to India helps me break out of my shell so I can be more social.

Dannibel RosarioSee All Blogs

Dariela Villar

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Tell us about your favorite book: My favorite book would have to be the entire Hunger Game series. The series speaks volumes and critiques their society a lot. I feel that those books also reflects and reinforces a lot of the societal issues they have with what is happening in the U.S at the time.

Give one random fact about you: My ring finger’s nail fell off as a result of a bacterial infection this year.

In class, what kind of character are you?: I pay attention in class and don’t disrupt the lesson. However, I do laugh and sometimes chat on the side or day dream.

If you were a fruit, what would it be?: I’d be a limonsillo because I love the summer and you have to hassle with the fruit before you’re done with it in which shows the challenge of it.

What do you think will be surprising about India?: Probably the streets. I think the streets in the cities speak a lot about the country and will be interesting to see what the street vendors are selling.

In what ways do you feel that India will be challenging for you?: The conservatism will definitely be a challenge. I’m so use to wearing whatever I want, so it’ll be interesting to see how things work over there.

How do you hope to be changed by this trip to India?: I hope that my desire to travel and explore will continue to flourish.

Dariela VillarSee All Blogs

Elisheba Brown

Hometown: Jacksonville

Tell us about your favorite book: Sweep by Cate Tiernan

Give one random fact about you: I can draw

In class, what kind of character are you?: Quiet

If you were a fruit, what would it be?: Strawberry

What do you think will be surprising about India?: How the people love differently

In what ways do you feel that India will be challenging for you?: The weather

How do you hope to be changed by this trip to India?: My knowledge expands from what I will experience

Elisheba BrownSee All Blogs

Emma Ottum

Name: Emma Ottum

Hometown: I originally grew up in Encinitas, San Diego. I then moved to Los Gatos in the Bay Area when I was 12 years old.

What is your favorite book?: I love to read and have read many enjoyable books. I would have to say that my favorite book out of all of them would be A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. The book is about a 23 year old-alcoholic and drug abuser and tells of his struggles through the 12 steps of rehab. Originally, I was reading this book as a true story and memoir, but sadly they found out later that the author made up a lot of the events. I would still advise reading it though.

Give one random fact about you?: my dream when I was little was to become a race car driver and I love talking about cars.

In class what kind character are you?:The one who always talks too much and will get to know everyone in the class

If you were a fruit, what would it be?: A banana- I’ll supply you with my energy to keep you going through the day.

What do you think will be surprising about India?: I think seeing the culture and poverty in India will be surprising. I’ve never been anywhere this far away, and seeing the differences of how people live there lives compared to how we live ours will be very interesting, and possibly difficult to comprehend.

What has been difficult about preparing for India?: Actually realizing that I’ve been given the chance to travel to India with such an amazing group of students. I don’t think it will fully kick in until I’m in on the plane.

How do you hope to be different after this trip to India?: I hope that I will be different in the way that my eyes will be finally be opened to the joys and struggles of what people go through living in India. You always hear about the poverty and overpopulation there, but can never full grasp how serious it is until you see it for yourself. I also hope that the culture will change me.

Emma OttumSee All Blogs

Imani Belt

Hometown: Kalaheo, HI

Tell us about your favorite book: The Ethiopian tattoo shop, a book of short stories told from the perspective of a visitor who stumbles into an old tattoo shop in Ethiopia and is told ancient stories from an old tattoo artist; stories that were supposed to distract and numb the pain of people as their tattoos were getting done.

Give one random fact about you: I like to draw and paint

In class, what kind of character are you?: Quiet usually, unless I feel comfortable enough to be outspoken

If you were a fruit, what would it be?: Mountain Apple

What do you think will be surprising about India?: Everything

In what ways do you feel that India will be challenging for you?: Getting used to seeing millions of people everywhere as well as the commotion of traffic

How do you hope to be changed by this trip to India?: Even more open minded than I am now and to learn about the value of life of people who live there as well as to take into consideration what I take for granted. I hope to go in feeling grateful and come back overwhelmed with gratitude

Imani BeltSee All Blogs

Juan Garcia

Hometown: Chicago

Tell us about your favorite book: I really haven’t gotten into reading untill this year cause of a book I read by Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner. The book is about a story of two young boys who are friends in Afghanistan, but their friendship is wierd. Growing up in Kabul, Amir and Hassan are inseparable friends. As an adult living in California, Amir remains haunted by a childhood incident in which he betrayed Hassan’s trust. When he learns that the Taliban has murdered Hassan and wife, Amir returns to his homeland to learn the fate of the couple’s son. This book will forever be my favorite. I cried so many times reading it.

Give one random fact about you: One random fact about me is that I’m a very emotional person

In class, what kind of character are you?: In class I’m the kid who always procrastinates but gets his work done. I’m also the type of person to help keep order in the class.

If you were a fruit, what would it be?: If I were a fruit I would be an Avocado cause I’m rough on the outside but soft in the inside.

What do you think will be surprising about India?: Something that I think would be surprising to me about India would not seeing everything the way I pictured it in my head

In what ways do you feel that India will be challenging for you?: I think that India will be very challenging for my by the heat, and by seeing so many stray dogs like I heard so far.

How do you hope to be changed by this trip to India?: I hope I come back a better person that I am now, and hope to learn many new things so I can teach my friends and family. Especially this green sauce that smells like cilantro.

Juan GarciaSee All Blogs

Luz Mejia-Flores

Hometown: Portland, OR

Tell us about your favorite book: Deenie, by Judy Blume has been one of my favorite books ever since I first read it at age 14. It talked about a young girl whom lived with the constant expectation of being perfect all the time. Her mother had wanted her to be a model all her life, but at the age of 13, Deenie is diagnosed with scoliosis, a medical condition in which ones spine is not lined up correctly. she faces hard challenges and everyday girl struggles, this book helped me to be able to push through any struggle I faced as I grew older as well as knowing that there will always be rough patches in my way but there will always be a way to get around them as well as learning valuable lessons along the way.

Give one random fact about you: my favorite candy is Sour Patch kids

In class, what kind of character are you?: In class I would say I’m a quiet observer. In other words I keep an open mind and enjoy listening to what others have to say. I’m not usually the kid who raises their hand at every questioned asked, but I am one who speaks up when I’m confused about a certain subject or when I strongly agree or disagree with a topic being talked about in class.

If you were a fruit, what would it be?: if I were a fruit I would be a mango because I love mangoes. What do you think will be surprising about India?: The most surprising thing I think that I’ll see in India will be how different their ways of living are from here in the US.

In what ways do you feel that India will be challenging for you?: I feel that being in India will challenge my biggest fears. Emotionally, Physically and mentally I think that India Will challenge my knowledge and ability to adapt to constant change, whether its being far away from my family for a long period of time, or trying new food and customs I’ve never experienced.

How do you hope to be changed by this trip to India?: I hope that this trip to India helps me change my perspective on everything I know about the world I live in. I hope that I become more open about trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone daily.

Luz Mejia-FloresSee All Blogs

Ohaji Williams

Hometown: Chicago

Tell us about your favorite book: my favorite book is lovely bones which is also a movie this is because it tell the story of a young girl who killed by her neighbor but was in the purgatory state and wouldn’t pass on until her family learned to accept and forgive her death.

Give one random fact about you: multi-artist

In class, what kind of character are you?:  What do you think will be surprising about India?:  street culture and how locals interact

In what ways do you feel that India will be challenging for you?: in no ways do i feel India will be challenging, im just hoping its an awesome learning experience

How do you hope to be changed by this trip to India?: I hope to become a more compassionate, aware person

Ohaji WilliamsSee All Blogs

Raven Swing

Hometown: Santa Fe

Tell us about your favorite book: My favorite book recently has been the monkey wrench gang by Edward abbey. He’s a great writer, and I can sympathize with the characters for sure. It’s also just enjoyable.

Give one random fact about you: I didn’t go to school until 7th grade.

In class, what kind of character are you?: Depends on the class/teacher.

If you were a fruit, what would it be?: mango

What do you think will be surprised about India?: The architecture

In what ways do you feel that India will be challenging for you?: I’m curious to learn about the Hindu religion. I’d like to have my belief system challenged, I need a bit more of that.

How do you hope to be changed by this trip to India?: I’m sure it will be eye-opening. I hope to be more independent and ready to travel after this trip, and I’m ready to learn as much as I can from a culture that is different from what I grew up around.

Raven SwingSee All Blogs

Saphire Johnson

Saphire Johnson