This past weekend has left me exhausted and filled with new experiences I will cherish for the rest of my life!
We began our journey Friday morning with a 6 hour bus ride to Coorg. After 6 bumpy hours on the bus we got settled into our hotel and ready for dinner. The hotel was beautiful! It had a circular shape all around and each room had a wall of just windows with an enclosed walk-out patio. The hotel was set in the middle of the mountains, which made us feel as if we were in a jungle all to ourselves. Needles to say, it was a great break from the hustle and bustle of Bangalore. On the morning of our first day in Coorg we visiting the Dubare Elephant Camp. I have never been so giddy and excited to see animals in my entire life. When I caught my first glimpse of the elephants being bathed in the river I knew I would never want to leave. No words can describe the beauty of these creatures. They walked with grace and allowed us to get up close to rub their sides and feed them straw. I don’t think I will ever have an opportunity to be so personal with these animals for the rest of my life. I am so thankful that there are humane places such as the Dubare Elephant Camp that give these creatures a safe place to call home.
Once we were done at the elephant camp our afternoon was booked for white water rafting. Our group had two rafts with 6 people in each one. The instructor that led my raft was so much fun! He made sure that we went over every rapid and underneath small trees that required our group to work as a team. We even jumped into the river and floated for a goo portion of the trip. Overall this was one of my favorite activities we have done in India.
The next day we left Coorg for the City of Mysore. Once we finally arrived we checked into out hotel and headed straight for the Mysore Palace. At 8:30 pm sharp the palace lit up and hundreds of visitors began snapping pictures and videos. This was my first time ever seeing a palace. It reminded me of something I would have seen in a moving. Its beautiful architecture and hallways made me think of the movie Anastasia. The beauty of the Mysore Palace has made me anxious to see the Taj Mahal in Agra.
On the last day of our weekend trip, we went to the Regional Institute of Education (RIE) in Mysore. Here we were able to have meetings with the staff and students about the similarities and differences between Indian Education and American Education. One of the questions that sparked great interest for me was “How can teachers prepare their students to be global citizens?”. During a small group discussion students from RIE and Mizzou were on the same page when answering the question posed. A young woman from RIE made a great point by saying how diversity needs to be viewed as a positive characteristic in the classroom. I also chimed in by saying how we need to teach our students to value other cultures. Because if we can understand one another that might make the world a more accepting place. At the end of the discussion I was amazed how all of our answers were so similar even though we were being taught on other sides of the world. These past 3 1/2 weeks in India have taught me that teachers are teachers and students are students no matter where you live or what religion you are. I know that when I come back to the states I will be able to foster a classroom environment that celebrates diversity and encourages everyone to become a global citizen.