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Ron Hansen on Unsplash

In this blog series, SFU's Health Sciences students, Silvia, Christine, Lindsay, and Martyna journey to India and share their experiences on what it's like working and volunteering there. These personal accounts encompass memorable anecdotes, reasons to volunteer, tips on travelling to India and so much more!  

In this Series


Statue of deities
Durga Puja 2011

Unlike just any festival, Durga Puja is likened to "Disneyland, the Olympics, Christmas and an art gallery all in one." Join Martyna, Silvia, Lindsay and Christine in their celebration of Durga Puja, an annual Hindu festival in Kolkata. As they weave through busy streets and celebrate festivities, the girls share their exciting experience with us in this blog entry. 

Children sitting on a fully decorated float
The Liminal Moment: Our Arrival to India

This is where it all begins. Four SFU Health Sciences Co-op students share their incredible journey to India as they land in Mumbai, one of India's largest cities. Along with some new friends, Lindsay, Martyna, Silvia and Christine take a quick tour of Mumbai before heading off to Kolkata.

Handmade clothing
A Little More About Destiny Reflection

Looking to find out more about Destiny Reflection and all the opportunities they have to offer? Here are some details on who the foundation is, how they came about and what their plans are for the future. Come take a peak! 

Dog standing next to basket with ducks in it
Misconceived Perceptions About India

We all have our own sets of biases and preconceived notions, but unless we experience things first hand, they are merely based on conjecture and not facts. Martyna is here to break down some common misconceived perceptions about India by providing a comparison between horror stories she's heard from friends before leaving and the true reality of living in India. 

Silvia, Lindsay, Christine and Martyna smiling at the camera with their co-worker, Diya
SFU Health Sciences Takes India!: Introductions

Meet the girls! Martyna, Silvia, Lindsay and Christine introduce themselves here by telling us about their hobbies, their likes and dislikes and what they love about India so far. Get to know them and follow them on an arm chair journey around India! 

Table and chairs lined up in a classroom with classroom paraphernalia on the tables
The Archana School for Girls

Martyna, Lindsay, Christine and Silvia share their visit to the Archana School for girls and what they have learned from this invaluable experience. 

Poster with a list of services provided: CT Scan, Digital X-Ray, Ultrasound
SFU IS AWESOME!

As the girls further their learning experience in Kolkata, they come across new findings and lessons everyday - either from each other or from their new surroundings. In this entry, Christine shares her thoughts on a Gender and Health seminar the group participated in and how that has helped her develop a better understanding of Indian culture. 

A large group of people walking towards the Golden Temple situated on a lake
From Amritsar to Sonagachi

Have a sneak peak at the girls' quick getaway visit to Freeset, an organisation similar to Destiny Reflection, located in Kolkata's red-light district. While they were there, they managed to visit some wonderful sites such as the Taj Mahal and the Golden Temple. 

Two women smiling at the camera while they make food
Lunch Time Bonding

It's been three months since their arrival in India. The girls look back at their initial experiences and how far they have come since then. Martyna shares their interaction with the girls at Destiny Reflection and her thoughts on being surrounded by such powerful women. 

An array of fruits laid out on the ground while a man on the side bends down to pick an apple up
Our Neighbourhood: Gariahat, Kolkata

Martyna provides a quick tour of the neighbourhood where the SFU Health Sciences Co-op Team is living in. From fresh fruit stalls to unusual afternoon traffic, take a look at what the girls have been up to in India. 

Two girls holding custom-made SFU book bag and pencil case
Health Sciences Engagement Improves Lives

After their four incredible months in India, the girls are finally back. This Co-Op inspired them so much so that they have decided to take the initiative to start their own fun-raiser for Destiny Reflection. Read on to find out what they have been doing since they got back and how the experience has changed them. 

Children holding hands and playing in front of a hut
My Time At Destiny Reflection/Foundation

Nicole Molinari is a Health Sciences BA student who shares her experience working in Kolkata, India, where she worked with Destiny Reflection/Foundation, an organization that works to empower survivors of human trafficking and at-risk women.