My name is Selena Campos. I am seventeen years old and I am from Redwood Valley, California. The reason I applied for this trip was I always wanted to travel. I honestly didn’t care where to; I just knew that I wanted to go. It would be my first time out of California, and I was worried I would miss my family a lot. But the weeks few by too fast for me and by keeping myself busy I didn’t miss my family.
When I found out I was selected to go I was happy but my family was even more excited and happy than I was. I felt I would miss out on a lot of stuff, but everyone let me know it’s be waiting for me; nothing would change. I expected India to be crowded, hot, and noisy, with different foods. In India, the most amazing experiences for me were the other students. At first I thought it would be a long three weeks; but when I bonded with everyone, it made time go by fast—way too fast. It’s crazy how you can get so close to people you just met hours ago.
Second, I’d have to say all the people in India. The stares and everything made me feel like when an Indian or someone of a different race than American comes and how we stare. It kind of put me in their shoes. But as the days got closer, I got more excited. I really didn’t think I’d get to go on this trip even after I was selected. I didn’t want to get my hopes up and not be able to go.
Most of the people we met were so kind and friendly. India is such a peaceful country despite the noise. Although I don’t mind it, I’m going to miss the India craziness. Another amazing experience for me was the Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad. I thought it was going to be a huge spectacular place, but it was really simple. I wasn’t having a good day that day, but just being able to explore it by myself let me feel better.
These experiences helped me learn more about myself than I thought because I now know I can trust and let people in in such a short period of time. It also let me step out of my comfort zone. I could actually allow myself to have fun and not worry about problems back home. I realized that it’s okay to do things for yourself. I’m going to be more independent when I get back. Also, it taught me to just go with it. You’re going to regret later, maybe in a day or years later, if you hold back. I wish I had realized that sooner in the trip.
These experiences truly helped me learn about India for myself. I got to see firsthand and think my own thoughts about India instead of hearing about it from people who have never ever been there. You can’t just listen to others’ stories. Go out and discover for yourself.
There are many similarities but also differences between India and the US. For me, I think India and the people are more friendly and welcoming. Second, I feel their education passes the US. But then also, not all children are allowed to go to school—mainly girls. Different places have a different way of teaching. Both the US and India have poverty but India has way more because they have more population. It’s also more noticeable in India. This trip taught me about global citizenship and anyone can be one if you’re accepting and willing to contribute to that country. That can mean going by the way they dress or just helping out.
This trip has helped me overcome challenges and grow personally. One challenge I overcame personally was talking with others and letting them know me. At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to, but everyone was so friendly, which made it easy. In the end, I don’t want to say goodbye to any one of them. I believe we all have a relationship with each other and hopefully it’ll last. In the future, these experiences will empower me to do just about anything. Knowing I survived these weeks and had an amazing experience doing so will always be in my mind whenever I’m having doubts about anything. Just take one day at a time or even just an hour but you’ll make it and have an experience from it. Whether it be a good or a bad experience you can always know did it.
A global issue that I have become aware of through my participation in the 360+ Leadership Collective is water. I will be more conservative with water because I’ve been able to see not all people have running water or even clean water. Water isn’t the only thing I have been aware of. I will work on other issues as well.
Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone I’ve met while on this trip. Especially the other students, because without them, this trip wouldn’t have been the same. Take a chance when an opportunity like this is given to you. I have made memories that will last a lifetime. I will remember the people and experiences hopefully forever. I hope to come back to India. It’s going to be weird going back to the USA because I’m so used to the traffic here. It wasn’t as bad as I imagined; I like it better than the driving in the US. This trip has helped me grow in ways I didn’t know were possible. I thought I’d go home the same person, but I can already see the change in me.