My name is Ricky Matthews and I am a senior studying civil engineering. I will be traveling to the country of India, specifically to a small village community called Talasari. I will be living with the Jesuit priests in their community in the village. These Jesuits specifically help run the village schools. There are approximately 6 elementary schools across the sprawling village community. Their mission is to provide an above average education to a community that would otherwise suffer with India’s poor public education system. The Jesuit support provides educational opportunities for the children that allows them to pursue education after elementary school. I am currently feeling a little nervous. I have been to India before and I have gone to this same village before, but that was with a large group from Santa Clara. I will now go into another country all on my own. I am also worried about being in an environment so different from what I am used to for such an extended period of time. My home life is very comfortable and I just returned from a vacation, so I now have to prepare myself for a very different living situation. Despite these worries, I am extremely excited to get settled into my living space and begin working with the children. My daily life will involve working in the schools with the children and then continuing to work and play with the kids after school during their after school programs. I am hoping to learn about my ability to live and work in an environment from what I am used to. I have never spent anywhere near this amount of time outside the country, so this will be a whole new experience. I am hoping to see how well I manage this type of environment especially since I have been considering applying for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps after college. JVC gives 1 year opportunities in the US and 2 year opportunities internationally. Through my Jean Donovan Fellowship I believe I will be able to clearly see if I could handle such a commitment, whether it be domestically or internationally. Finally, I am looking forward to living and working with the Jesuits themselves, some of whom I have met before, and building relationships with the kids in the village. I have always enjoyed working with kids, and that was a focus of mine as I looked for a Jean Donovan placement. Therefore, I believe this placement will be everything I was looking for and I cannot wait to get started.
- Ricky Matthews