Upon returning from her Traveling School semester, Emma Owens realized a passion for learning in classrooms without walls.  Now, a student at Fairhaven college, Emma plans on taking her passion to India. As a recipient of the Adventure Learning Grant, Emma will travel around India studying their education system.

“My project is a culmination of my passions: the promotion of equitable education, access to schooling for marginalized communities and the analysis of transnational colonial influences. The adventure learning aspect of this grant removes the inherent structured nature of higher education and allows recipients to freely explore, unhindered by traditional study. I believe that education is most powerful when it evolves to allow students to be fluid and curious within it. Adventure learning doesn’t begin or end in a classroom, it is based on informative experience and enriching relationships,” Emma said of her upcoming adventure.

In India, Emma will focus on studying the country’s educational disparities. Poverty, gender, and the lingering influence of colonization have caused a gap in educational access in rural parts of India. For ten months Emma will travel through India, connecting with locals during homestays and learning about the educational opportunities available in rural villages. She plans to use the research and connections she makes in India as a catalyst for change when she returns to the United States, critically examines the complex issues surrounding education in India, and presents on her observations.

Her interest in experiential education stemmed from her semester in southern Africa. Her time with The Traveling School inspired her to apply for the Adventure Learning Grant so she could continue her education beyond university walls.

“I felt stagnant in high school,” Emma said, “I combed through school college fairs for gap year or study abroad programs and stumbled across The Traveling School — a high school semester abroad program that posed a solution to all my frustration. This first taste of the world outside of my sheltered bubble was both shocking and intoxicating. For the first time in my life, I began to critically engage with the merits and serious inadequacies of public education and found myself fueled to act by my complete disillusionment.”

Emma hopes her time with The Traveling School isn’t limited to her semester as a student. Upon graduation she plans on applying for a Traveling School teaching position and sharing her love of adventure learning with future Traveling School students.

“Attending The Traveling School was a pivotal experience for me as a student and has shaped my interest in experimental and alternative education that has led me to where I am today.”

Maddy Eglian, Development Assistant