By Stephanie Keyser, a member of the SkillCorps India February 2018 team

This was the message expressed to the SkillCorps team as we removed our shoes, rinsed our feet, and semi-successfully attempted to elegantly cover our heads, in preparation for touring the stunningly beautiful Golden Temple – or “Sri Harmandir Sahib.”  As we learned about Sikhist ideals and traditions on which the temple was founded, a peaceful sense of community, togetherness, and respect seemed to permeate through the bustling crowd. This was an especially exciting (and populated) day to tour. Visitors of the temple were celebrating Holi, or the festival of colors, and a celebration of the coming Spring.  As the team navigated the crowd I found myself thinking about the fundamental message of learning from one another. I thought of its connotation generally within humanity, and also in relation to the work we’re doing with teachers and students at SOREM.

I have learned more than I could have ever imagined from the students, teachers, team, and community members that I’ve had the honor to meet and collaborate with during this trip.  I’ve learned that striving to create an environment of mutual respect and effective communication are paramount, both in a professional capacity on a human level. I’ve learned that the ability to remain flexible is crucial to making the most out of any experience.  I can only hope that those individuals I’ve had the opportunity to connect with have taken away something as equally meaningful as I have from them. I look forward to packing these valuable lessons in my suitcase (probably wrapped in one of my 10, completely necessary, beautiful new scarves) and continuing to apply them to my daily life and professional practice upon returning home.