Send Belle to India!

Dear Friends and Family,
I want to express my excitement for an opportunity that I have in August, 2014. I have been accepted into a study abroad program in Bodh Gaya, India and hope to spend the duration of my final semester of undergraduate studies learning in a fully immersed and challenging way.

The program is through Antioch Education Abroad and is centered around exploring Buddhist studies from a variety of perspectives. Centered within a Buddhist monastery, it incorporates both academic and experience-based approaches to learning, in a way that challenges the cultural and intellectual assumptions of the students.

This is a program that ties in directly with everything that I have been exploring in my undergraduate studies. Although I am studying psychology, I have become increasingly interested in the ways that different cultures construct an image of the human psyche. I hope to expand on the psychological model found in the West but exploring the ways in which the concept of the self varies across cultures, and the affects that this has on human behavior. In addition, I am interested in better understanding the mindfulness movement in psychology by engaging in the spiritual traditions that the movement has its roots in.

This is a program that also ties in directly with my future goals. After graduating I hope to join the Peace Corps before continuing on to graduate school (possibly with the intention of obtaining a degree in Cultural and Community Psychology), and being in a country that I have never visited before, in a setting and culture very different from what I'm used to will certainly help me to be more emotionally and intellectually prepared for these later experiences. The Peace Corps is much more competitive than it used to be (currently there is a only about a 30% acceptance rate), and last year along there were three alumni of the Buddhist studies program who were accepted into the Peace Corps.

All in all, participating in this program would be the perfect end to my undergraduate education, and would expand upon the subjects that I have been studying in a unique and challenging way. Unfortunately my undergraduate institution, being a small school, is not able to provide me with any financial aid assistance for the program, leaving me to cover the cost of the program. I have applied for multiple scholarships, but it is still not enough to pay for the program. That's where you come in! Going to India is an incredible opportunity and I can't get there on my own, so I am humbly asking for your support. Please consider donating to help me cover the cost of the trip. All donations will go directly towards tuition for the program, and even small contributions are greatly appreciated!

I also need to cover the cost of a plane ticket to London (this is where orientation for the program starts), so if you cannot donate money at this time please consider donating frequent flier miles. If you have any questions about this process feel free to ask.
I cannot express how grateful I am to have this opportunity, and I thank you all so much for your support!
Best wishes,
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Belle-Pilar Fleming 
Yellow Springs, OH

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