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2024 Bhisé Global Learning Experience Gives Students New Perspectives in India

By Lizz Panchyk

Eight Adelphi students were given the opportunity to go abroad during winter intersession for the Bhisé Global Learning Experience. Started by Bharat Bhisé, MBA ‘78, the program, in conjunction with Levermore Global Scholars (LGS), was established to further promote a global mindset at the university by providing students with an all-expenses-paid study tour to India. This was only the second group to participate; the first took the trip in January 2023.

The eight students were Kelvin Abraham, Lila Ariste, Joacim Carhed, Carolina Chaves, Alexander Lee, Khamkay Inthavong, Michelle Sarker and Anna Varveris. The faculty who attended were associate professor Rakesh Gupta, Thomas Kline, vice president of University Advancement and External Relations, and associate professor Chrisann Newransky.

Adelphi students and faculty gain new experiences on the 2024 Bhisé Experience to India. Photo from Adelphi Instagram

This year, the Bhisé Global Learning Experience was open to both LGS students and non-LGS students. LGS is an Adelphi program that challenges students to examine and address complex global issues such as climate change, sustainability, world health, peacebuilding and human rights and become leaders of positive social and global change. The goal of the Bhisé Global Learning Experience is to serve as an incubator for global learning in a focused, structured and experiential way through distinctive on-campus and international experiences.

While abroad, the 2024 contingent visited businesses, NGOs, healthcare facilities, environmental programs, universities, schools and cultural institutions, according to Michelle Sarker, a senior health sciences major.

As LGS is a program that helps to prepare student leaders, this trip gives them an opportunity to broaden their world knowledge.

Kelvin Abraham, a senior nursing major and a non-LGS student who took the opportunity to go on this trip, said, “I was intrigued to go because I myself, am Indian and for me it has been over a decade since I have visited my motherland. I saw it as an opportunity to really experience my native country as a more grown and mature individual.”

The LGS students who attended this exciting experience used it as a chance to grow their global learning, not just because of the LGS program itself, but to benefit them as students to be more globally inclined.            

“I wanted to go on this trip because it presented itself as an opportunity to grow my mindset, be more engaged with the global discourse on society and hone my skills in cultural understanding,” said senior Khamkay Inthavong, a double major in management and international studies. “I want to work in nonprofit management, so with that aspiration, I want to be equipped with effective cross-cultural communication and collaboration in that sector. These global learning experiences gave me those tools, spaces and firsthand insights.”

Each student who studied abroad came from varied backgrounds and majors. This gave them the opportunity to all have different experiences and take back unique perspectives. 

“I am currently serving as the President of the South Asian Student Association on campus, where I’ve learned the importance of celebrating diversity and fostering inclusivity,” said Sarker. “I knew an experience in India would enable me to draw connections between the rich culture of the country and my community engagement efforts on campus.”

There was a lot to be learned from having a direct experience. “One thing I have learned through this trip is to really appreciate the small things I have,” Abraham said. “Oftentimes, we take things like food and water for granted, and after this trip I really think it’s important to not only value what you have, but to be able to give back to those who are poverty-stricken.”

This successful trip gave students some very positive insight that they took back with him as they entered into a new semester.

“Joining this tour is about changing the course of my life — and the lives of those around me, both in the United States and India,” Inthavong said. “I am always looking for new and more effective ways to engage with my peers, colleagues, friends and family. I hope to model my love for languages and learning in the classroom through storytelling, ultimately fostering cross-cultural understanding among ourselves. I believe India transformed my way of viewing organizational behavior and human relationships because of its values in education, giving/generosity, and hard work that I observed during our visits.” 

Sarker said, “This trip is something I will never forget and I am extremely grateful to Mr. Bhisé and Adelphi for providing me with this opportunity. I was able to walk away with amazing connections and an experience that has greatly impacted my life and perspective of the world.”

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