(Re)Visit: India

At Cultural Vistas, immersive international experiences are everything; even after they’re over, we continue to learn from them. While new international experiences are not possible right now, we can still learn from our past experiences abroad.

Over the next two weeks, Cultural Vistas will be sharing photos from our alumni through our (Re)Visit series. Each day, we will focus on a different country or U.S. state that transformed them. These photos stay the same, but our perspectives continue to change.

Thank you to our alumni for allowing us to highlight their stunning photography. We hope these photos inspire you to reflect, remember, and #ReVisit your own experiences abroad.


In today’s edition of the (Re)Visit series, we travel to India. The transformative experiences of our alumni include programs like the Cultural Vistas Fellowship and the Celebrate the Connections study tour, which connected urban artists between the United States and India, among others.

A light in India

Gab Mejia
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)

“The morning light breaks the slightest glimmer of the sun in a scorching day of India’s capital in New Delhi. A certain symmetry, and balance in the bustling scene of sounds and noise in this notorious capital, I ventured to seek silence in all the ruckus that there is, only to find it nowhere other than a graveyard of the king. A tomb of a great emperor that lead glory to this country’s past and history, where today he lies behind fortresses and gates made in ample perfection. Humayun’s Tomb; an architectural marvel where its arches and lines made to fit perfectly in its tiniest details. A certain design and culture made of light and reflection to touch the senses of not only the eyes but the mind. A stillness and clarity, a sense of balance, and enlightenment that made me realize that the silence in which I seek in the city, was found only through the noise from which I came from.”


Children in Kolkata, India

Ansley Joye Jones
Celebrate the Connections (2016)

“I learned I am on my path. I keep getting pushed down so I get back up. Last year I met with Cypher Hip Hop project in Kolkata West Bengal and worked with dancers and artists. I had a forum with them on a Sunday and it was so interesting to see all the people staring with disapproval, and then changing their minds after I performed. A little girl looked at me and sharply turned away. After we finished, she came stuck out her right arm, shook my hand then hugged me. Hard. I realized she was homeless and the hip hop community checks on her and takes care of her. Incredible.”

Guided by the Stars

Gab Mejia
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)

“Tonight, the still vastness of the universe faces us after long days of journeying high above the tallest mountains of our planet. This is the day where we stand in front of it, humbled by the two grandest things in our world, the Himalayas the tallest mountain range in our planet, and the Milky Way, the soul of our galaxy. The cusp of our adventure, face to face with the so-called Center of the Universe, where the Milky Way perfectly rises and aligns above the pointed spires of the sacred mountain, Meru. No words nor noise, but only the sound of our dwindling breath from the high altitude where we stand 5025 meters above sea level gazing through it all. For when the stars go dim, and another day of the sun will rise, only the stars can tell the story that lies within these cold frozen nights amidst the Indian Himalayas. The beauty that we have witnessed, and the moments that have been lived are held tightly, forever shut in the shadows of the crevices of these 6000-meter mountains of Shivling and Meru, where only one dares to dream the climb— Tonight, I have humbly dreamt with the stars.”

The Soul of India

Aaron Eisenberg
Cultural Vistas Staff

“It’s all about the people. The people that you get to meet in your travels. The people who you never expected to meet in your journey but somehow the world conspired to make it. The names that some of you may forget the moment you part ways, and the names that some of you may remember forever. These are the lives you come across when their eyes come face across yours. A gaze, a second, and a moment from these souls— so different in culture and in ways of life, but somewhat just the same. These are the people that leave a mark to yours, may it just be two playful kids from India, a hardworking street vendor, or even the president of a country. Only when the light of the setting sun reflects from these gentle souls and when a moment so clear that somehow one’s life touches yours, you will understand that travel isn’t just about the beautiful you places visit, it’s about humanity— it’s about people.”

Indian Himalayas

Gab Mejia
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)

“Here stands a young boy from the tropical islands of the Philippines faced with the giant mountains of the Indian Himalayas. It was my first time in the tallest mountain ranges of our planet, vividly witnessing the ice-capped summits after days of tracing the streams of the most holy river in India— the Ganges. A chance given to me by the universe, wherein times these days, many dreams have faded and some forgotten. It was a dream to be standing here with the giant sentinels of our planet. A dream turned reality that has transformed my life to believe in the capacity of us humans to reach greater heights in our lives. For here in a world in the mountains as dusk breaks and as the gleaming sun lights the snow, it was more than just rock and ice, but a world of dreams and desires from a young boy to be realized.  ”


City sunset in India

Debobrata Ghosh
Celebrate the Connections (2016)

Indian dress

Cultural Vistas Fellowship (2018)

“I am able to understand myself in a way only traveling brings about. I was transformed by travel. Traveling exposed me to different cultures and made me realize how beautiful and different everybody is.”

The Center of the Universe

Gab Mejia
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)


The Ganges River, India

Gab Mejia
Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (2016)


Are you remembering, reflecting, and (re)visiting your own experiences abroad? Share your story with us.