Student Perspective: Ten Game Changers I Learned In India

Ellen Scheiring, a junior at Tabor Academy, wrote this photo essay about the new ideas and perspectives she brought back from our South India: Education for All workshop this summer. She reminds us to pay attention to the subtle gifts of international travel, which can forever shift your view of the world around you.

#1. Technology is nice, not necessary.

Classroom in BangaloreConditioned to know about nothing other than “Smart boards” and “Macintosh” computers, I realized that what is actually needed in order to learn is much simpler than that.

#2. Begin and end each day with a smile.

School children in Kanakapura

At the Kanakapura school, I found every little boy and girl excited to learn something new each and every day—something that I try to take on even when I am under stress.

#3. Patience pays off.

Cochin Fishing Net

These fishermen wait for hours before these ancient nets reveal what kinds of stock they will be selling, with no way to know if they will make any money to feed their family.

4. Take a little time.

Children at Choice School

These young soul seekers taught me that each second you take to train your brain will give you a head start on your mental flexibility.

5. Shine through.

Youth at Choice School

With an average class size of around 60 students, these high schoolers quickly find ways to attract the attention of their supervisors with talents and knowledge.

6. Ditch the small-talk.


Our friendships were built on no lingual communications (due to a language barrier), but they are some of the most inclusive and genuine that I have ever experienced.

7. The perspective that history class never gave me.

Mahaballipuram ruins

This temple, built in the 7th century, was something touchable that brought my childhood day trips to Plymouth Rock, from 1620, a few levels down on the excitement-ometer.

8. Hard work can always be harder.

Workers in Tamil Nadu

Seeing the perseverance and sweat of these hard workers challenged my own assumptions about what labor looks like.

9. Embrace.

Meenakshi Temple in Madurai

Keeping an open mind to every situation is something that I learned to bring to everyday life. There is nothing that you can assume of someone before you have walked a mile in their shoes.

10. Keep your monsoon footing.

Munnar water fall

As I learned so much new information across the world from my home, it was hard to get used to filing it all away. Journaling helped me keep everything straight.

by Ellen Scheiring

Ellen is a junior at Tabor Academy in Marion, MA. She was a student on the summer 2013 Education for All: South India workshop. Ellen and the other students who participated in this workshop have created a fantastic multimedia storytelling website, Writings on the Wall, which features much more of their fantastic photography, and writing on their experiences. Definitely check it out!