By KELSEY CASTANEDA
International Education Week occurred the week before Thanksgiving Break, and featured some exciting changes and events for Georgetown students. The Caf prepared food from different countries around the world, featuring Latin, Italian, African, Indian, and Asian dishes. The Opportunities Abroad Fair hosted several student travel agencies that were able to provide interested students with information about spending time studying abroad. On the Thursday of International Education Week, one special event occurred when senior Morgan Floyd shared her own experiences abroad by giving the “Deborah Lecture: A Student’s Perspective on India.” The Deborah Lecture Series, which honors President Crouch’s sister Deborah, brings especially courageous people to campus to speak about their past experiences. Morgan’s summer working at a school for the blind in Udaipur, India fit the bill for the Deborah Lecture perfectly. I recently spoke with her about the lecture and about her time abroad.
One of the first things that Morgan told me was that she “absolutely LOVED” her time in India. She said that she found out about the scholarship to India from Global Scholars director Patrick Barker. The Roberts Travel Scholarship was specifically designed for travel to India, but Morgan was able to pick her own program. She ended up deciding to spend a month in Udaipur at the school for the blind. This school “takes boys from local villages who are either completely or partially blind, and gives them basics for an education and a better future.” Morgan helped to brighten the future for these boys by teaching an English class during her time there, and helped brighten their spirits by “playing games with them after all the teachers had gone home.” Morgan did face some cultural challenges, though, and had to learn how to overcome things such as the language barrier. She said that “most of the boys couldn’t speak English, so I had to rely on three of the older boys to translate for me.” She even ended up learning a little Hindi thanks to her new friends.
When I asked Morgan how her experiences in India had impacted her life, she said that “it has been one of the things that has changed my life the most…the only way I can describe it is that I’ve never been more myself or felt that my life was more meaningful. I fell in love with India and all the boys.” Morgan said that though a monkey stealing her bag is pretty memorable, her most significant memory is of telling her students goodbye. She said, “I had taught the younger boys English children’s songs because songs were so much easier to learn. The smallest boy at the school, Amrit, didn’t know the word ‘goodbye.’ So, instead, he grabbed my hand and sang me Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.”
After coming back to the States, Morgan wanted to continue to help the school. She set a goal to raise money for them so they could have “clean water, another teacher and better food/living situations.” Thanks to the Deborah Lecture, the student body heard Morgan’s story and gave $200 worth of donations, which, when added to the existing Deborah Lecture fund, helped to raise over $1,000 for Morgan’s school. Morgan says that she “literally cried” when she found out because she knows how much this will help the boys back in India.
If you’re interested in the Roberts Travel Scholarship or the Mukherjee Family Scholarship that Morgan received, she encourages you to contact Emily Brandon for details. Based on her courage, passion and commitment to her goals, Morgan’s future will surely hold wonderful things after she graduates next spring.