News

Saint Peter’s Students Go Global

LUM4

Shalini Parsam ’15 (to the far left) poses with fellow LUM interns.

It’s not every day one comes across an affordable exchange program that welcomes all majors to volunteer, study and/or work at any time in one of the world’s rapidly developing countries.

However, Saint Peter’s now offers a program that offers exactly that and more to not only its undergraduates and graduates, but also to its alumni.

Saint Peter’s recently partnered with Leave UR Mark (LUM), a social enterprise that provides career enhancing internships and meaningful travel opportunities in India. The program is open to all students — undergraduate and graduate — in addition to alumni. Not to mention, it also allows all participants of all majors to choose when and how long they would like to stay in India. Between the experience and its affordability and flexibility, Wendy Garay, director of the Center for Global Learning, said Leave UR Mark is on track to become one of Saint Peter’s most popular exchange programs.

“The fact that they accommodate all majors at all levels that we offer makes it hard not to work with them and tell our students about them,” added Garay. “It’s the best program I have seen in a long time.”

Though the program is a relatively new addition to Saint Peter’s repertoire of exchange opportunities, LUM is already expanding. Originally, students could only stay in Bangalore, but in 2015-2016, they will also have the options to choose from destinations in Mumbai and Goa. More importantly, Leave UR Mark will begin offering five $1,000 scholarships exclusively to Saint Peter’s students each year.

The unique scholarship is made possible through the HCG Oncology Hospital in Bangalore, which offered to fund the grants to solely Saint Peter’s students after being so impressed with Dolly Basaldua ’17  during her month-long medical internship. While working at HCG, Basaldua acquired a wealth of firsthand experiences such as writing case studies about patients in need of financial aid, shadowing a pediatric oncologist and communicating and interacting with patients.

LUM5

Arti Patel ’15 (pictured far left in the back row of sitting girls) in Mysore, India on a day trip with the other interns.

“I can honestly say that my trip to India made me grow as a person — it made me realize there is so much more out there to experience,” said Basaldua, who is double majoring in biology and psychology. “Being in India made me become friends with people I will always have in my heart because they made that big of an impact and showed me their culture. Even if you’re not in the medical field, I would still recommend anyone to go with LUM.”

Multiple other Saint Peter’s students agreed with Basaldua. One of them was graduate student Shalini Parsam ’15, who spent her time volunteering at the non-profit SUKRUPA, which addresses the socio-economic development of the disadvantaged in urban and rural Bangalore. She recalled being inspired by her one-on-one interactions with students and feeling happy that there is a place such as SUKRUPA where they can go for the chance of a bright future.

“I am also thankful to have met the staff and other volunteers at SUKRUPA. They were very warm, welcoming and definitely contributed to a positive experience at SUKRUPA,” said Parsam. “This has been a truly humbling experience.”

Bria Brown ’15

For biology major Arti Patel ’15, the program offered her the chance to reconnect with her Indian heriBria Brown ’15tage while taking on an opportunity in the field of physical therapy. During her five-week journey, she was able to work with a multi-disciplinary team that rehabilitates children with neuromuscular and developmental disabilities.  She also explained how the experience made her more confident about traveling as well as grateful for being able to see another side of poverty that she had not been exposed to in the U.S.

Meanwhile business major Bria Brown ’15 spent her internship with marketing service Quadra Point where she was tasked with developing ideas that would help maintain and improve Campus Jockey, Quadra Point’s online social media network. No day was ever the same for Brown who would sometimes be recruiting college students to join the Campus Jockey team or developing articles, PowerPoint presentations and editing for the company.

As she reflected upon her time as a marketing intern, she pointed out that India is a developing country for which she has high hopes for in regards to its business and marketing growth.

For more information on Leave UR Mark or other exchange programs at Saint Peter’s, contact Wendy Garay, director of the Center for Global Learning at wgaray@saintpeters.edu or (201) 761-6028.