Philosophy Professor James Hagan has been taking students on trips to Asian countries for 15 years. India, China, Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia are all places on the list.
“Asia is my thing,” said Hagan.
This winter, from Dec. 27 to Jan,12, roughly 25 students can go on his latest trip to India, but he said seats are filling up quickly.
The trip includes visiting various different parts of India, and getting a real taste of the India’s culture, he said.
“You can smell the incense, you see the monks mediating, it’s really powerful stuff,” said Hagan.
Megan Harris, a 24-year old Castleton alumna, went on the trip in 2011 and loved it.
“We went to Calcutta, spent a lot of time in North India, near the border of Nepal. We got to see monks and nuns in their temples,” said Harris. “India is the dirtiest, most beautiful, friendliest, scariest and the most enlightened place in the entire world.
“Though I’m no world traveler – this being my first real experience with the foreign – I can’t imagine a place more pleasantly different than India.”
Hagan said studying abroad is extremely important for students to better understand the world they live they live.
“It’s a very powerful tool, and kids are changed after the trip,” said Hagan.
Harris supported his assertion saying she came back a different person.
“It really was life changing … I’d get back on a plane and go there in a heartbeat,” Harris said.
For her Harris said, for her, the trip provided not only insight on another culture, but also left her with perhaps more questions than answers, and she said she’s ok with that.
“If I could say anything about India, it is that I have no idea what to say. Anyone who knows me knows I am not easily confounded, that I am a reactionist always poised with a response,” she said. “If India gave me anything, it was the ability to be okay with not knowing the answers — something that formerly kept me up at night.
“I have never been less sure of myself and more comfortable with my obliviousness than I am now.”
Despite having traveled there numerous times, Hagan is excited for the trip, and hopes students are as well.
“It is very rewarding, the impact it has on these kids … I really enjoy what I do,” said Hagan.
Students interested in going on the trip should contact Hagan via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.