Steamboat Mountain School Global Immersion Studies Blog

Steamboat Mountain School India 2017

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 17, 2017 4:35:32 PM


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Topics: Colorado high school, India, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning, outdoor education, life beyond college, college prep

Steamboat Mountain School GIS India 5/3

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on May 3, 2016 1:18:22 PM
Ethan '18, India, 4/30/2016
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Topics: India, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning

Steamboat Mountain School GIS India 5/2

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on May 2, 2016 4:30:24 PM
Cole '17, India, 4/28/2016
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Topics: India, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning

Steamboat Mountain School GIS India 4/29

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 29, 2016 2:10:37 PM

Kayla '17, India, 4/28/2016

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Topics: India, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning

Steamboat Mountain School GIS India 4/28

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 28, 2016 1:13:05 PM

During our youth to youth exchange and learning service project, the India group works at the Tota Rani Government School outside of Dharamsala in Northwestern India. Since the school has very few books, they asked that the group place knowledge on the walls of their classrooms.
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Topics: India, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program, Service learning

Steamboat Mountain School GIS India 4/26

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 26, 2016 12:10:40 PM
Elle '18, India, Himalaya Trek
Today was absolutely breathtaking, in many senses of the word. We woke at 6:00 am by one of our porters knocking on our tent and handing us hot Chai tea alongside a warm bowl of water for washing. We then all gathered under a large tarp and enjoyed a breakfast of porridge, chapati  (an indian flat bread), potato curry, and many other side dishes. Following breakfast we packed ourselves up and set out for our trek. Prior to that day's trek, our guides had precautioned us that it would be entirely uphill, but I had no idea what I was in for. We began hiking on a gradual uphill, nothing too challenging. The weather was pleasantly warm with a comfortable breeze blowing in our direction. Observing my surroundings, I was stunned by how tropical and diverse all the vegetation was at such a high altitude. As the vegetation began to dwindle, the terrain increased in incline. The incline didn't phase me at first; I was able to keep a steady pace upfront, simply enjoying my surroundings. It wasn't until our third steep ascent that it began to wear on me. Physically, my legs felt as if they could have walked all day, but my heart was pounding and lungs were heaving for air. Mentally I was completely drained as well. We took a break at the zenith of the peak to allow time for us to cool down and for others to catch up. At that point, lounging on a rock and gazing at the hike ahead, I was beginning to lose motivation. I figured that with this level of exhaustion, there was no way I would be able to continue at that incline for another five hours. However, I knew that no matter what, quitting was not an option. I decided to find a quiet spot away from everyone else where I could meditate for a moment and give myself a brief pep talk. I told myself to envision the feeling of accomplishment once we reach our site, to imagine all of the things I will be able to experience along the way. I will most likely only get this opportunity once in my life, so focus on all the great things about it rather than the small negative details. Being the goal-oriented and challenge-driven person I am, I also set a goal for myself to remain near the front of the group for the entirety of the trek. I knew that if I had some form of challenging motivation, I would push myself to my maximum capacity. With a new sense of energy and drive, I was ready to set out. The next segment of the hike was exhausting, composed of a compilation of strenuous uphill climbs. Although it was exhausting, I managed to maintain my goal and objectives throughout, which made the hike much more manageable. Stopping for lunch was a major relief; everyone was in dire need of a break. We ate a meal of chickpea curry with rice, chipati, and a small salad. Afterwards, a group of us sat by the river and talked while enjoying the views and bright weather, others took the time for a well deserved nap. The hike after lunch was equally as challenging, if not more, but once I found a steady rhythm it seemed to breeze by. Going over the last hill and arriving at camp was surreal. It seemed like something out of a movie. I felt as if I was in Middle Earth. The snow-covered mountains that appeared to be eons away that morning were now within an arm's reach. Crystal-clear glacial water flowed under my feet as I gazed at the lucious purple flowers that covered the hill sides. I was overwhelmed with a sense that I had never experienced before. Gratitude and awe flooded me as my exhaustion vanished. Every moment leading up to that point was beyond worth it. I would have happily climbed for six more strenuous hours just to experience that moment.

Ansel '17, India, 4/23/2016
Today was the last day of the trek. We had a small decent from Triund. Triund is an amazing camp high above McLeodganj. From here we were able to see very far into the Himalayan mountains. Both sunset and sunrise were spectacular from this point of view, and some individuals woke up extra early to whiteness the sunrise.

When arriving at the taxies that were supposed to take us back the hotel, the majority of the group decided it would feel better to finish the trek off strong, and hike the rest of the way through the forest, through McLeodganj, and back to the Zambala house. Within the group, a fun game of contact broke out and we were able to see a side of the town that we would not have been able to see had we not taken this opportunity. Arriving back,  everyone was very eager to shower and wash their clothes. Checking in at the end of the day was the highlight for most of us.  We had accomplished a lot and also made time for rest and rejuvenation. Although the trek was an amazing and beautiful experience, I think that most of us are happy to be in comfortable beds with hot, running water. Boy we are spoiled.  

Vidal '17, India, 4/23/2016
I woke up with my hair stiffer than a rock, probably because I hadn't showered in a week.  It was the last day of the trek, and I was disappointed.  I was going to leave such a beautiful place.  What helped my mood in the morning was picking up trash in Triund.  It wasn't just picking up the trash, it was also seeing how many people came to help us and thank us for the work we where doing.  People began to help us pick up trash and asked us for trash bags so that when they headed down the trail, they could pick up trash as well.  We inspired 4 locals to pick up trash with us. They said, "It is nice seeing someone caring for a place that isn't theirs," which brought a smile to my face.  It made me feel so good to think that even the little bit we were doing could make a difference. It was like we were the start of a chain reaction that hopefully will keep going until all of India is clean, and maybe the world too.

I've only been on one train ride in my entire life, it was to visit my grandparents; it was very uncomfortable because the seats where like air plane seats.  So when I got on the train to go from Old Delhi to Pathenkot, I was thinking the seats where going to be just like that.  It turns out we got beds instead of seats, which then made me think "oh great ten hours of a hard bed and no blanket".  I was wrong, the beds where not the softest beds I've slept on, but they weren't the hardest, the beds also came with blankets, pillows, and sheets.  Which made the train ride a lot more enjoyable.  Now when we got off the train we drove from Pathenkot to McLeodgang,  half way through the car ride we stopped at a restaurant.  They served us fresh yogurt, bananas, chai tea, and Indian breakfast foods.  The food was so good every one over ate, and needed some time to hang out and rest before we got on the road again.

Mason '17, India, 4/23/2016
Rohit, Anikat, Tarun, Aditay, Mahak, and Riya - these are the names of six students who introduced themselves today at the Boku Harani government school.  These are a few of the many students who wake up early, lugging backpacks larger than them selves over miles of mountainous terrain known as the Himalaya, all for a few hours of what will most likely have a massive impact on the rest of their lives. You never truly know what it feels like to smile until you have had an opportunity to be that change in someone's life. It's also impossible not to smile when you have dozens of giggling middle schoolers anxious to tell you every thing they have learned in school.

Tanner '18, India, 4/24/2016
We are two days into our service learning project, and it's been a blast! The first day was a little awkward at first. However, we all introduced ourselves and learned about the projects we would be working on throughout the week. Over the course of the two days we have accomplished lots. One group painted an entire room plus a hallway! Another group helped a carpenter put in flooring, and one person helped install part of a roof.  Our experience so far has been very impactful for us all. We have gotten to interact with all the school children as well as the teachers. School here works very differently than in America, so we learn lots about their culture from it. In the coming days, we want to get even more familiar with the staff and students and continue to do our best to make their school a better place.

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Topics: India, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program

Steamboat Mountain School GIS travelers report from India and trek

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 19, 2016 6:03:20 PM
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Topics: India, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program

Steamboat Mountain School GIS travelers report from India

Posted by Marta Miskolczy on Apr 14, 2016 11:43:37 AM
Sean Pellman '17, India, 4/15/2016, Taj Mahal
To be honest, I really don't remember what I learned about the Taj Mahal. However, one of my favorite parts of the experience was seeing all the different people, animals, and views the Taj Mahal had to offer. A lot of older men would try and guide you to the best views throughout the area expecting a tip afterward. Some of them deserved one and others didn't. You really can't realize how big the Taj Mahal is until you see it in person. The building itself is extremely intricate and beautiful, but what I didn't realize before I came was that the other buildings around it are just as beautiful. The entire area is amazing especially with all the different people and animals roaming around. Everybody seems to be in their own world doing their own thing. I loved watching how other people interacted with each other and seeing animals such as monkeys and cows wander around completely undisturbed. People wanted to take pictures with all of us since white people aren't very common here in India. That was a cool experience because everybody was extremely polite and friendly about it. However, something that kind of bothered me at the Taj Mahal was the extra privilege we received as white people. A man let us in to the "premium entrance" of the building without asking to see the upgraded tickets that were required to get in. We knew it was due to our skin color when he denied entrance to the Indian people right behind us without asking to see their tickets either. Another thing that somewhat bothered me about the experience was that no matter how much money you gave to somebody as a tip, they never seemed satisfied or showed the slightest bit of appreciation. I understand why they could feel that way and it still feels good trying to help others, but it made me feel guilty when people wanted more money than what I gave them. I've never been anywhere not in North America so being the foreigner was a new experience for me. Just the few days we've been here have made me a lot more aware of how some of the world lives. I believe that a greater appreciation for our life back home comes along with global awareness and it forces us to realize how fortunate we are. With that being said, I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity we've been given to come to such a different and amazing place and I know the rest of my classmates are as well. 
Cole Morgan '17, India, 5/15/2016, Agra Fort
We rose with the sun this morning. We wanted to watch dawn from the Agra Fort. We decided we would eat breakfast and pack once we returned from the fort. We loaded onto our bus with our guides and set off to navigate the mayhem that is the streets of Agra. Upon arrival of the fort we learned that only 25% of the fort is open to tourists because the other 75% is still used as a fort by the Indian military. The fort was surrounded by two "moats". The first was a traditional water moat and was filled with 'giant crocodiles'. The second was a land moat and would have been stalked with elephants, tigers, and other animals. Both of these moats were used as defenses and entertainment. We walked up through the the sandstone entrance and followed the series of elegant corridors and gates to a very large, very green courtyard. At this point our Agra guide, Atul, led us through a small door and up onto a balcony on the upper level of the fort. We the scene was something out of a movie. The sun was still young in the sky. It cast a yellow glow on the haze that surrounded everything. A river winded up into the horizon. Tying everything together, and dominating the view was the majestic Taj Mahal in the distance. From the balcony we looked down upon an apparent courtyard that was once a bazaar (a market in English). This is the vey place that Shah Jahan (the Shah that built the Taj Mahal) fell in love with Mumtaj (the woman the Taj Mahal was built for). I felt a sense of awe when I thought about how this was the place where one if the greatest love stories in history began. We were taken from room to room, learning of each rooms history. The opulence of the jeweled inlay in each room was incredible. Once we were done taking pictures, we came to the end of our 25%. We watched the herds of monkeys fling themselves through fences and playfully wrestle as they summersaulted down the hill as we walked back down towards our bus. From our hotel we departed on the long journey back to Delhi. Once there we will explore Old Delhi and finally embark on the train to Himachal Pradesh in the Himalaya. The intense history and incredibly rich culture of this place has not been lost on us. The colors, sights, and smells have most surely been noted and appreciated as we continue to be impressed with amazingly diverse, chaotic, and uniquely beautiful place that is India.
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Topics: India, Student travelers, boarding school with international travel program