Drishtee Immersion
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Stories

Welcome to Stories by Drishtee Immersion. This is our places to share stories gathered from the field, from Immersion participants, and those shared by others about our global mobility experiential learning programs in India. 

Immersion Ideas: The transformational potential of empathy

After exploring the notion of ‘empathy’, Nathan Wiltshire shares his insights from facilitating a range of empathy experiences between unlikely collaborators across the world. This work, developed over several years of research and practice, seeks to guide willing people to overcome the many challenges presented in understanding others, with transformative learning that advances empathy into action.

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Immersion Stories: Bilqis Kencana

Travelling to India was incredibly exciting, well, if I am honest, I was probably more nervous and a little anxious. To spend three weeks with people in a vastly different culture, in an entirely new place and country I’d only dreamed of visiting. I knew deep down the opportunity to learn real skills for empathy, to apply it for real, and do something positive in the world was something I didn’t want to miss. It was special in so many ways, not least because it has helped me see others in an all-new light.  

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Immersion Stories: Radha Pala

As a student of nursing awaiting graduation, I undertook the Drishtee immersion program. It gave a unique opportunity to apply skills taught during my degree in a community-based setting, with the added benefit of connecting more with my parent’s homeland, India. This is where I was fortunate to meet Usha ji, an amazing, inspiring woman passionate about education, early childhood health hygiene and positive community development in general. This is her story.

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Immersion Mosaic: Student experience perspectives

India, with it's overload of mega-cities, intoxicating scents, explosions of colour hits you like a steam train, from the moment you leave the airport.  In the ensuing 21 days as a part of a true Immersion, the sensory overload continues unabated. Often, it's not until returning to the familiar surrounds of home that our mind has a chance to catch-up with India's imprint. And so, we asked some of our recent student participants to share a soundbite from their experience. Together these represent a mosaic of colour, inspiration and lasting transformation. 

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Immersion Stories: Ellen Law

Through UTS BUiLD, I participated in the Drishtee Immersion Program (February 2018). The program facilitates empowering immersive experiences in rural India.... My Drishtee immersion was raw, deeply humbling and inspiring. The incredible people I met helped me learn and discover more about myself and what I would like to accomplish in the future. In the following blog I describe the a personal experience in three phases.

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Immersion Stories: Rhojan Viloria

My experience of India throughout my three-week program with Drishtee Immersion was – trying not to exaggerate – almost indescribable. Whether it was the team I met up with at the airport, the people we learned more about during our journey, to simply the culture of India itself. From the differing cultural norms, the stories and experiences you would hear that can break your heart, or just the environment. But without this challenge, I wouldn’t be where I am now, a much stronger mentally and emotionally prepared person with the clear understanding of what true empathy can bring...

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Immersion Stories: Michael Fu #2

"Sudam" is a story written by Drishtee Immersion, Michael Fu on a recent Maharashtra program. It seeks to capture the essence of Michael's time with his village partner, Sudam... "It’s currently the evening, rain pours heavily outside but this will not be for long. Monsoon season is near an end and Sudam had only just arrived home, worn from another busy day of getting drenched but with fruitful harvests...." 

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Immersion Stories: Belinda Tang

In my broken Marathi, I accidentally called her very pretty and her face broke into a smile. Sun-dried creases were transformed into laughter. I corrected my mistake (I’d meant to compliment her dress) and her smile faded from her eyes. Frustration simmered inside of me – I’d hurt her feelings because of some silly language barriers. Later though, I would spot her from the corner of my eye checking her reflection in a small, hand held mirror...  This is Tokobai's story, as experienced during my days spent experiencing daily life with this most inspiring woman.

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Immersion Stories: Michael Fu

It was a cold morning, morning dew drips from the trees and grass in the small village nestled in the mountains of Maharashtra’s Western Ghats. Ashulk, a sixty-five year old grandfather, who works in the local flour mill, makes his way down from a village located at the top of the mountains. Fourty years of this routine, yet each day the kiss of the morning sun reminds him of why he keeps coming back. 

See current opportunities for university students with our India Immersion programs here! 

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Immersion Stories: Iain McKelvey

I saw a snapshot of your people standing in New Delhi Railway Station, each of your trains seemingly enchanted shooting mysteries in every direction. The rolling carriages sung me your lullaby of sleep, while your sunlight enveloped my being to wake me in Bihar, the beginning of the North East. Some call this area forgotten; a crisp morning in Patna reveals a hidden fragility masked by the orchestration of horns. 6am, the meet and greet.

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Immersion Stories: Utkarsh Somaiya

One thing the trip did bring to light is what I value most in my life, and that’s the people in it. It’s surreal to think that by the end of the trip we’d all known each other for only three weeks. We had become family, closer than I ever thought possible. I can say with certainty that the lessons I’ve learnt and friendships I’ve formed will not fade anytime soon; and no matter what my reflection of the trip happens to be in the next five years, there’s no doubt it will leave a lasting impact on my life.

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Immersion Stories: Catherine Walsh

My whole experience in India was amazing, making friends with the children that lived next door, doing morning yoga every day, becoming friends with some amazing people from UTS, meeting people from all different castes and most of all building deep emotional connections with some of people we spend so much time with. The only thing I would change about my experience this having it end.

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Our amazing immersions with Australia's most innovative university!

With all the talk about innovation what's often missing is an understanding of what it means for people according to the co-founder of an initiative that's allowed UTS students to experience the reality of life in rural India. Nine students from the Beyond UTS International Leadership Development (BUiLD) program recently returned from three weeks in India's historic northern state Bihar, where they explored the kind of innovation that can deliver "real solutions to real problems for real people." 

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Immersion Ideas: Empathy. What's The Big Idea?

Empathy. We all know what it is. Empathy is an essential part of being human, of connecting with and understanding other humans. Empathy is a word that most of us instantly ‘get’. Or so we believe.

 What exactly is empathy? How does it work? Who is actively applying it? What are the implications? In this article we consider the future and the role empathy should play.  

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