Meet Our Community:
For as long as I can remember there are two things I’ve wanted most in life: to teach and to travel. I used to imagine myself all over the world. Stonehill College gave me the opportunity to study aboard in Florence, Italy. They also gave me the opportunity to spend many of my days inside all sorts of classrooms working with kids. Finally they gave me the ultimate opportunity: a chance to do both at once. This year I get to make a home in a completely new world and also teach. To combine both my passions in this way has always been a dream of mine.
My name is Jenny Bradley. I grew up in Springfield, VT with my parents and twin sisters. All my life my parents have supported my sisters and I in all our endeavors. And while I know my mom would rather I was a bit closer to home, she’s supportive all the same. I know this year is going to be one full of adventure and challenges and while some of those challenges (like suffering through the heat) scare me, I’m excited for them all the same.
My name is Michael Stanton and I am a second year Stonehill Service Corps-India member. I graduated in May 2013 from Stonehill with a BA in International Studies and Mediated Communication.
Much of my time at Stonehill focused around community service with various organizations in and around Brockton including My Brother’s Keeper, the Cape Verdean Association of Brockton, Battles Farm Village and the Farm at Stonehill amongst others.
In addition to my service and nonprofit work I also had the opportunity to study abroad through the School for International Training’s Post Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding program in Rwanda. During this semester I was able to immerse myself into the Rwandan culture, learn a new language, see amazing and at times horrifying sights and complete independent research on the transformation of the Rwandan media since the 1994 genocide. This work in Rwanda was driven by my interest in peace and conflict studies and my work with the Africa Service Project at Stonehill.
This past year I split my time working as a teacher at Holy Cross School, Agartala as well as St. Andre School. In addition to my work as a teacher I also had the opportunity to travel around the country and surrounding region, I formed incredible relationships with people who I consider my family and I found a culture that I truly enjoyed being a part of. At the end of the year I felt as though my service was not complete and I could not resist the opportunity to return to Agartala for a second year.
I look forward to the next year with my new community members and again experiencing all that India has to offer!
My name is Kirsten Arvidson. I grew up in Andover MA with my two sisters and fantastic parents. I came to Stonehill College 5 years ago excited to learn, meet new and great people and get involved in whatever I could. At Stonehill, some of my most proud experiences were playing on the Women’s Varsity Volleyball team and joining the Peer Mentor team for 3 wonderful summers. I was blessed to be able to go abroad to Cape Town, South Africa for the spring of my junior year and got to have many great adventures there. I graduated this past May after studying Elementary Education and Philosophy.
Many things in my life have led me to this opportunity. I grew up around parents who enforced the idea to serve your community as best you can. They also fed into my curiosity about the world by giving me the opportunity to travel, and than by going to Cape Town I got to try it out on my own. Finally, with a program that allows me to teach, I can continue to do what I love but in a completely new environment.
I’m Sarah Dillon and I was a Psychology major, Business Administration minor at Stonehill before I graduated in May 2014. And no, being a psychology major does not mean that I can read your mind. This is what I have come to find in my short time here that Indians believe. Coming to Stonehill as a Freshman, I decided upon an Elementary Education and Math double major. I remember taking college tours and hearing the tour guides say that it is normal to change your major 1..2..3…4 times before you graduate while I stood there thinking “no way I know what I want to do”. Well, I clearly did not graduate with either of those majors. However, four years later, I found myself in that original mindset as I chose to commit to a year of service teaching in India.
During my time at Stonehill, I dabbled in a few clubs and activities such as Frisbee, ski club, and ended with being Treasurer of Active Minds. But really I spent most of my free time hanging out with all the awesome people I met at Stonehill and working off campus. My Junior year I studied abroad in Stellenbosch South Africa participating in a community immersion program. I taught life skills at the primary school just a short 15 minute train ride away and learned about the needs of their small community vastly different from the college town I lived in. Between my small encounter with community development work there, and working with many inspiring organizations during the two H.O.P.E trips I went on, a year of service seemed like the best fit for a post grad student with no immediate pull towards a specific job or graduate school program. That coupled with my love to travel any and everywhere has steered me here to beautiful Agartala India.
I’m very excited we get to share with any and all of the people who read our blog what life is like for us here, so far away from home!
Hadi El Rabbat
My name is Hadi El Rabbat, I am originally from Egypt, but I was born and raised in Germany and finished my High School degree in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. I graduated from Stonehill College Spring 2014 with a bachelor in International Studies and a double minor in Conflict Resolution/Peacebuilding and Business. I love travelling and learning about different cultures and traditions, so I spent my junior year studying abroad. During the Fall I studied Health and Community in India, China and South Africa comparing the different health systems and views of various cultures. The spring semester I studied Tibetan and Himalayan Cultures in Nepal and conducted a research project on Gross National Happiness in Bhutan.
Studying abroad, meeting people, sharing different views and ideas, changed my perspectives over myself and the world around me entirely, and has left me with a travel addiction. Travelling also brought me a few steps closer to what I possibly want to do for a career, which is working with service and self-sustainable based organizations. I am currently writing this bio in Argatala India, where I am teaching with the Stonehill Service Corps at a primarily tribal school. Teaching here is a new challenge, but extremely rewarding and there is very much to learn.
I graduated from Stonehill College in May have 2014 with an Environmental Science, BS a Psychology, BA. My passion for environmental and social justice extended beyond the classroom and you could often find me organizing and participating in events such as Waterfest, Sustainability Fairs, and other similar events. In my free time, I liked to get my namaste on at Open Doors Power Yoga studio, as well as join the swim club at the Brockton YMCA.
I was a member of the Mindful Living Community sophomore year on, which landed me living in the senior courts for three years. While considering myself a very individualistic person, this experience both taught me how to be a member of a community and sparked my interest in volunteer work. My favorite service work during my time at Stonehill was volunteering at the farm on campus (shout out to Bridget Meigs!!). I also loved volunteering at the Taunton Boys and Girls Club as an assistant swim coach, My Brother’s Keeper, and The Children Museum. I was fortunate enough to participate in both West Virginia and Nicaragua H.O.P.E. alternative spring break volunteer trips which were a catalyst for applying to the India program.
Post-graduation was an unusual period of limbo in which I was waiting for my departure to India in January. However, I fell in love with my new full time job at Mei Mei Street Kitchen in Boston. This sibling run food truck and restaurant is outstanding in its commitment to using local food and humanely raised meat. They also embrace sustainability practices such as using compostable materials and recycling extensively. I have never worked for a company that I cared so much about and whose morals and values were in line with mine. Did I mention they treat their employees like gold? They gave me the opportunity to take two weeks off very last minute to join a through-hiker in the White Mountains on the Appalachian Trail.
Now I find myself in India where I hope to use my environmental background while teaching students at St. Andre school in Agartala, as well as in any other community development projects that I will seek out.
We will be trying to post every two weeks! Please follow us on our year long adventure In india!