By Anya Tikka
MILFORD — When Milford native Colleen Fagan qualified for a Boren scholarship to study overseas, she planned to go to Nepal to help restore the country after last year's devastating earthquakes. Those plans changed course, and she was offered another international adventure.
"I was asked to switch countries to India as the scholarship team wanted to better ensure my safety in the aftermath of the earthquake," Fagan said.
She ended up in Jaipur, India, where she studied Hindi at the American Institute of Indian Studies. She made new friends with both locals and the other 15 Americans studying at the school.
"I made a few good Indian friends while in Jaipur, although due to the culture it was a bit more difficult to make local friends as easily as I would in the USA," she said.
But she did take advantage of the opportunities during her long visit.
”I really enjoyed my time in India," she said. "Although I was originally excited to travel to Nepal, India had always been a country I was interested in from a young age, and the eight months spent there was incredible. I loved learning a new, non-Roman language, especially from local Indian teachers, and the experience was great. I lived with a host family and was able to experience that part of the culture."
Life was very different from what she’d been used to, living at home in America. She missed all-American things, like football games and holidays.
“The hardest part for me was missing both of my younger brothers’ football games in the fall," she said.
Jack attends Carnegie Mellon University and Shane attends Delaware Valley High School, and both play football for their schools.
Missing Thanksgiving and Christmas with the family was especially tough.
Keeping in touch over internet helped. But it was good to come home.
“I came back to the United States with a greater appreciation for my small hometown," she said. "I missed my family and dog the most, followed by the convenience of washer machines and dryers for my clothes. Each week I would do laundry in a bucket."
By Anya Tikka