The UofA’s TEXT program is by far one of the most important experiences of my college career. It was incredible to learn about the stories of the Tibetan people straight from the source, and be able to participate in a program that seeks to share those stories with other people. I had participated in a UofA faculty-led program before, but the TEXT program takes the experience to a whole other level. We had access to people and places that most westerners wouldn’t see. Most importantly, it felt like I was part of something that’s doing good for the world. It’s so much more than a leisure trip abroad.
In addition to the important work I was able to help with, the program was an incredibly formative cultural experience. It was amazing to experience Tibetan culture firsthand. To see values of nonviolence and selflessness in peoples’ everyday actions is not easily found in the States, and it changed the way I saw my own culture when I got back. I would recommend this program to any student who is interested in global humanitarianism, Tibetan culture, Buddhism, oral history, or just having a meaningful summer experience!