Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Scott Friesner

Second Advisor

Nicholas Andreadis

Third Advisor

Christina Chin


This thesis chronicles a twenty-one year old American college student's volunteer experience in India. Photographs and first-person narrative are used to illustrate the insights gained over the course of a month living with a Tibetan host family in northern India. Teaching English to Buddhist monks, volunteering general assistance at a daycare center, and exploring the city of Dharamsala are among the various experiences that shed light on the cultural and societal differences between two very different worlds, the developing and the developed. Photographs bookend each chapter to help illustrate scenes described in the prose and captions are paired with each photograph to explain its relevance. When the author prepared for her trip she referenced popular guidebooks in an attempt to fully understand her exotic destination. She found, however, that general descriptions were not able to accurately explain the struggles a first time traveler might experience, instead focusing on the thrills and high points of a typical vacation. In any true adventure one experiences discomfort, uncertainty; and insecurity, all of which are necessary to achieve personal growth and greater global understanding. This qualitative research functions as a helpful document for those traveling or volunteering abroad independently for the first time.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Included in

Fine Arts Commons