The Parikrma Way

Guest Post By: Jessica Hernandez Martinez, a Junior studying Finance and Information Systems. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through a Foster Exploration Seminar in India, during Early Fall Start 2023.

Once I stepped out of the aircraft and felt the humid air hit my face, I knew I was in for a hot but adventures three weeks in India. I have always told myself I could never become a vegetarian but after having Indian cuisine and tasting tradition dishes from different regions that is becoming a real possibility. Their vegetarian and vegan meals were so delicious I would serve myself second and even third while sitting around the dinner table with friends who I felt comfortable with, making me feel at home even though I was halfway across the world. I made many friends that I stay connected with till this day, we were there for each other through sick days, 2am flights, crossing the hectic streets in Bengaluru (Bangalore) and haggling with street vendors. Nothing beats unwinding with friends and grabbing dinner together before putting on face masks after a long day.  

One of the most important aspects of the Business India program is the social entrepreneurship component. Seeing how businesses develop by tackling a specific need within their community has further solidified what I want to do in the future which is use my degree to create a positive impact in people’s lives. For example, Akshayapatra is an NGO dedicated to feeding 2 million children (about the population of Nebraska) every day in 22,000 schools across India so that no child goes hungry while in school so they can better excel academically and lift their families out of poverty alongside them. I was fortunate enough to watch this process from start to finish; we began by visiting the factory in Bangalore where the vegetarian meals were being made in the morning that would later be distributed to Parikrama, a nearby school.  

One of my favorite and impactful experiences in India was getting to know the kids at Parikrama. I have never seen such curious kids who are not afraid to raise their hands and dream big dreams. That is all due to their holistic way of learning known as “the Parikrama Way.” They do not only care about a student’s grades but also their home life if they have enough to eat and to have them learn multiple languages. Unlike other schools in India their courses are taught in English because they prioritize building skills needed to land a job after college at an early age. We all ate lunch together from the meals provided by Akshayapatra and bonded over our favorite BTS idols. 

Having those hands-on experiences is what makes Business India’s study abroad program so special and memorable. The beautiful views are also ones I could never forget, especially the Golden Temple and the Taj Majal. Overall, I can say this short trip has really expanded my horizons and gave me clarity on what my values are, which is cultural preservation, family and understanding. I hope to one day return to India but until then alavida.