I first want to say congratulations and I am looking forward to the future of Shenandoah University as you begin your journey as Shenandoah University President. What an awesome accomplishment!
I would like to give you a little history about myself. I have lived in the Winchester area for most of my life. My family is and remains my main focus. Being from a rural area, working and raising a family was my main objective. Traveling has always been a passion of mine and I have always hoped that I would have the opportunity to pursue more traveling after my children were grown. So, after hearing about GCP and all the interesting places I could go, I took a chance and applied for GCP. I was selected by the GCP committee last spring 2008 to travel to India.
The India trip was my first experience abroad and words cannot express how much I enjoyed my trip, the experiences that I was involved in, the open discussions and the opportunity to travel abroad with Sapna Gupta (faculty leader), Bipin Patel, Dr. Davis, students and staff. My experience to India was one to remember, full of mystery, excitement, enthusiasm and many members of our India group still find time to meet and get together occasionally for a dinner and catch up and discuss our experiences.
Since my GCP trip in 2008, I have had the opportunity to host two beautiful young ladies Junna (Nursing Major) and Mitsuki (OT Major) from Japan as part of a culture experience with the Tamano Group via Global Community and Outreach in the Cross Cultural Center over the summer. What a great experience for me to be able to show two young ladies how living in the USA and especially the Shenandoah Valley can be. We toured Winchester, talked about culture differences (the best we could due to the language barrier), laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. Junna and Mitsuki are ready to come back to the states after they graduate to work in the USA. (I still keep in contact with them via email and the popular Facebook.com. I am their USA mom J) Junna and Mitsuki will always be welcomed in my home. The GCP program gave me the opportunity to see another culture in action, opened my mind to think ‘outside the box’ and extended my culture experience here at Shenandoah University.
I am a big supporter of the GCP project and have encouraged everyone in my department to submit an essay for 2009 GCP. The “Ask Me About GCP” badge that was provided by the GCP Office to promote this program for 2009 was worn with pride!
I am currently involved in the 2009 GCP task group and selection committee for this year. I hope to give my tips/ideas as a first time traveler overseas to the committee and provide them insight on my personal experiences.
I hope future GCP trips are as successful as my trip to India, and that each participant can bring back a piece of what God sent them there to find. I came back more humbled, with a stronger faith, with new friends, and memories that will last a lifetime.