The best way to get to know a community

Before we can even try to understand a complex issue in a community, we must acquaint ourselves with the people to adjust fully. Usually, in a community that is partly similar to my own, such as coming to Andover, I jump right in with no previous experience. Since there is some common ground between the two, it is easy to approach a new situation with no previous knowledge. However, traveling to Mumbai requires that we understand something, even if it’s very small, about the community we will be helping. Through our meetings, personal readings, and videos, I have slowly learned so much about a totally foreign place. If I had tried to travel to India without these meetings, I would have been totally shocked and based my whole trip on my completely false assumption. When I become overwhelmed by a situation, I usually cannot process every small detail. I personally think that you almost have to approach it more formally in order to optimize the situation. So currently, I have been studying all about India in all my far too little spare time. If I understand a little before you go, I would at least be able to have a starting ground and I wouldn’t be as perplexed. This background information also allows me to make my own experience based off it and apply my knowledge to my personal skills to better understand a situation. However, indirect research is not the only way necessary to understand a community. You must also personally get involved with the people to have a first-hand account of its troubles. Through these two methods, I hope that by the end of the trip I will have pretty accurate description and experience in India.--Mikaela