Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Fine Arts (Integrated Arts and Education)

Department or School/College

Creative Pulse Program

Committee Chair

Dorothy Morrison


India, Self Discovery, Teaching English, Volunteering


University of Montana


The impetus for my journey was the desire to learn more about another culture, and pursue the idea of the old cliché: be the change I wanted to see in the world. This journey fulfilled the requirements of the project in multiple ways. It was a major risk to travel to another country with a language barrier on my own. The amount of work it took to prepare for the trip and face the challenges of the experience itself was very labor intensive. I had to do this because I needed to see that I could make a difference. I also had preconceived notions that were thankfully extinguished. I have struggled with the need to feel in control of my life, my surroundings, and my world. My passion for women’s rights and cultural understanding have led me down many different paths, but the journey to India had the most to teach me about the world and myself. I did not do anything cliche like find myself in India, but I did discover what I was capable of on many different levels. In this paper, I hope to express who I was before my experience and the changes it made on my perspective and my life. My travels in Goa extinguished a part of me that felt powerless and hopeless, and much of that was through the unexpected door of the failure of my expectations. The title of the paper is Around the World and Back: A Discovery in India because of the web of changes the trip made well into my return. It is in narrative form, following the major events before, during, and after my trip. My attempt to present both the best and the worst of me as I took part in this trip will hopefully give an accurate portrayal of my growth and my work in India. In this two-year process (June 2006 to June 2008) forcing myself to go outside my comfort zone for three weeks made all the difference.



© Copyright 2008 Charlie L. Gaare