Adventure - Art - Culture - Juniors Abroad at George Fox


Faculty: Matt Meyer
Class Meeting Time: Monday



This trip will study the culture of India, a melting pot of religions and castes. Students will see how Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jainists and Christians coexist in (relative) harmony, and how the work of Gandhi and Mother Teresa has impacted the centuries-old caste system. Along the way, we’ll see how these cultures are expressed through their art, architecture, and food.

Students will tour the Taj Mahal, eat curry from banana leaf plates, watch monkeys scampering around temples, go bodysurfing in the Indian Ocean, ride elephants and take auto-rickshaws to a Bollywood cinema. At the end of our trip we’ll spend a few days in Sri Lanka, where students can visit tea plantations, go white-water rafting and snorkel among coral reefs.

Although primarily educational, there will also be a service component to this trip, as students have the opportunity to help patients in Mother Teresa’s missions and ride ox-carts to bring medical care to Untouchables in remote fishing villages.  

Note: We’ll encounter various conditions, from three-star hotels to extreme poverty during this trip. Students should be prepared for 110-degree weather and high humidity.


Tentative Itinerary

Day 1-2 – Depart from Portland, with a stop-over en route to Delhi.

Day 3 – Delhi – After a good night’s sleep, students can buy Indian clothes in a bustling marketplace. Now that we blend in, we’ll visit a Hindu temple with an Imax theater and a boat ride showing the history of India.

Day 4 – Delhi – Visit the India Gate (India’s Arc de Triumph) the Red Fort, Humayum’s Tomb (a red, smaller version of the Taj Mahal), and maybe the Toilet Museum. Really.

Day 5 – Travel to Agra - We’ll board a train to Agra. Once there, we’ll have a free afternoon, visit a cool coffee shop, then take tuk-tuks to a nearby cinema.

Day 6 – Agra – We’ll tour the Taj Majal in the morning, then visit Agra Fort, where Shah Mahal was imprisoned after building the Taj.

Day 7 – Agra – We’ll go by bus to the ancient sandstone city of Fatepur Sikhri. We’ll continue down the road to Jaipur, the third corner of the Golden Triangle.

Day 8 - Jaipur – Students may have the opportunity to help bathe elephants, which we’ll then ride up to the Amber Palace.

Day 9 – Jaipur – We’ll visit a Monkey Temple, then get a glimpse of village life in Rusirani village. We’ll then fly to Calcutta in the evening.

Day 10 –Calcutta – We’ll tour Calcutta, hang out with university students at an intellectual café, tour a Jain temple, and maybe do some yoga.

Day 11 – Calcutta – We’ll spend a day volunteering at one of Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity missions. We’ll decompress over a traditional Thali meal, served on banana leaves, then hop a flight to Chennai.

Day 13 –Chennai – After worshipping in a local church, we’ll drive south to visit a crocodile farm, then on to Mahaballipuram, where we’ll visit beach temples and carved stone sculptures. We’ll spend the rest of the day at the beach, where we can bodysurf in the Bay of Bengal, or rent snorkels to look for the legendary Seven Lost Pagodas, which were overrun by the sea.

Day 14 – Nellore – We’ll hike up to St. Thomas Mount, where we’ll see a relic of Doubting Thomas, who reportedly brought Christianity to India. Then we’ll go by train to Nellore, a smaller town (only 1/3 of a million) where we’ll stay at an orphanage.

Day 15 – Nellore – We’ll ride ox-carts to remote villages, where we’ll conduct medical camps for Untouchables.

Day 16 – Nellore – Another day of medical camps (and entertaining tribal kids) in remote fishing villages. We’ll likely return by fishing boats, then play with kids in the orphanage.

Day 17 – Travel to Sri Lanka – A long travel day, as we hop a train from Nellore to Chennai, then fly to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Day 18 – Nuwara Eliya – We’ll visit an elephant orphanage on our way to mountainside tea plantations.

Day 19 – Kitugala – We’ll go white-water rafting on the Kitugala River, then drive south to Hikkaduwa beach.

Day 20 – Hikkaduwa – A day to relax at the beach, where you can take a surfing lesson or snorkel.

Day 21 – Negombo - PDX -- Back to the city by bus, where we’ll pack our bags for the long flight