This scholarship provides a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is an experience that will change you; how you view the world, its cultures and especially its people… I know that there is a lot more of the world to see and I definitely want to see it. I know why Ms. Phillips established this scholarship. Books do not teach what personal experience provides… One of the first things I learned about myself is that limitations that I had felt I once possessed no longer existed. It is amazing what you can do when you must do something… That may be the biggest lesson I learned while on my travels; that life is precious. You only get one chance at life (at least under my belief system) and that one chance is very short. I got to do things and go places that I may have never done or seen because of a wonderful lady… while I may never have the worth to be a benefactor as Ms. Phillips, I do hope that I will be able to imitate her desire to teach others in my own special way.
From the majestic to the mundane, my travels in Europe… showed me that there exists a certain beauty not just in reaching an end, but in the act of movement as well…
Irish transportation serves as a way to view my trip. I had a definite beginning and a definite end but the events between were myriad and often unexpected... I came to appreciate this constant, minute to minute act of choosing where I would go next and finding everywhere something new and wonderful…
A whole world of detail leapt out at me to fill in the scaffolding of place I had in my mind. Flat pictures gained dimension, they moved and surrounded me. I found myself frequently touching the stones in the buildings and countryside in which I stopped. I wanted my fingers to remember as well as my mind…
Shared from her journal:
May 16, 1997
First day in Istanbul. This is an entirely different world. This city is so exotic and exciting. I still cannot believe that I have seen the Hagia Sophia with my own eyes. After a semester of learning about one of the most magnificent churches in the world, today, I have stood in front of it. I can even see it from our hotel terrace.
From the final report:
Another thing I learned is that it is important to actually enjoy life. Sitting and enjoying your surroundings, interesting conversations, art and culture are things which are easily forgotten in life as I knew it at home. In a culture which seems to be based on capitalism and the ability to make money, the really important things in life are often difficult to see. I know that there are many things which are more important than success which comes from work and career, such as success in enjoying your life and living life to its fullest. I know this sounds like such a cliche; but it really is something that I have been thinking about a lot since I returned.
Because of her (Frances Phillips) generosity, I have completed successfully one of my first life odysseys. Indeed, because of the scholarship, I feel that I have been changed positively and I have recognized so many more of life’s paths.We became, in fact, quite close to Pritum and spent a lot of time with him. He took us and showed us Americans off to all his friends and neighbors and family. Pritum also took us to villages in the area where I became the first non-Indian person the people had ever seen, in person or through the media. We were so deep in the country that I felt totally detached from myself and everything I had known. This was something I had read about, but never expected to experience… I sat on my first camel, fell off my first camel, picked berries for dinner, helped dig irrigation and well canals, and really entered another world. This was the "noble" India I had dreamt of and thankfully had the chance to be a part of. This experience, in Rajastan with Pritum and his family, was what I will forever be grateful to Francis Phillips for. I may never feel or live that way again.
I learned who I was, who I wasn’t, and who I wanted to be. I learned more about art, history, politics and geology than I had in my 17 years of institutionalized education. The world became a new place which I had to decipher. But most of all, I learned with each piece of the world’s "puzzle" I obtained, that there are so many more pieces to be had… I learned a lot about my fellow citizens of the world, but above all else, I learned about me. I realized the immense influence USA has on the world, and how lucky I am to be a citizen of the States. Not only am I fortunate to be an American, but I think I am fortunate to be an American who can see both the benefits and errors in our ways.
The Frances Phillips Travel Scholarship has allowed me (to) experience things that I had only read or dreamed about. … This has been a growing period in my life where everything has come into focus. My new outlook has inspired my creativity as well as my spirituality. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for such a stimulating journey and an awakening experience.
My time in Calcutta left me with two very different feelings. First, it upset me. All the pollution, overcrowding and poverty is hard to bear witness to. I cannot imagine living every day as the Calcuttans live. I feel I am too weak to endure what they endure. Second, and more important in the long run, was the sense of enlightenment Calcutta instilled in me. Everywhere I saw hope, faith, the exciting hustle and bustle of daily life and charisma of the city and its inhabitants…Finally, I have come to personally realize that Frances Phillips was indeed a very wise woman. Independent travel, and the experiences encountered while traveling, are some of the most invaluable learning experiences most people will ever have. I believe I am a smarter, more well-
The experience is one which I will always treasure. It has opened up a whole new world for me and a whole new interest, overseas traveling…. I have gained confidence and have learned true independence.
I remember in Hungary seeing several farmers traveling with horse and cart. Not only do people not have the same modern day appliances and conveniences as the Western world, they also seem to live life at a much slower pace. I actually found this aspect of Eastern Europe very appealing and enjoyed watching all the families spending time together in the parks and just enjoying each others company.
It scared me a lot to think about all the people in the United States that will never have the opportunity to witness the power of influence we have. It’s overwhelming really. I met a lot of young people that never wanted to visit the U.S. They only see one side. They see the big nasty marketing. I loved to talk of all the beautiful things I’ve seen in the U.S. Yes, I’ve been to California. No one knew of Yosemite or Redwoods. They didn’t know about logging battles in our National Parks. They didn’t know North Carolina has islands or about the mangroves in Florida. They told me we have no history and I told them about my archaeological field school in Hillsborough…
I hope I would have made Ms. Phillips proud. I think we would’ve gotten along. I thought this scholarship would help me close some doors to a certain time in my life. I was wrong. I am even more confused. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a good thing. I have seen so many things that now it’s just a matter of trying to figure out which door I want to open first. I will always walk through because I know now that there is no telling what I will see on the other side.
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