2013-2014 BASAA Scholarship Recipient – Alex Temena
To those who have donated to the Fund for Education Abroad:
I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to have lived and studied in India for the the fall semester of 2013. It is due to your generosity that I was even able to consider the program that I ultimately chose. I am deeply, deeply grateful that your support enabled me to shift my world- and self-view in crucial ways.
I participated in an immensely challenging and life-altering Buddhist studies program in the place that the historic Buddha himself had reached enlightenment – through meditation and critical academic analysis, I came to learn how Buddhism is lived and understood. Most importantly, however, I gained more faith and appreciation in the aspects of reality that I don’t yet understand. Especially as a university student studying science, I discovered the importance of understanding the culturally-specific assumptions that are made when scientific discoveries are claimed to be universally true. On a more personal note, this program taught me about how capable I am – how outstanding the mind is and how much agency I have to direct my attention through discipline, focus and constantly coming back to what is most important to me. As I navigated the path of spirituality, it simply came down to learning a more secular lesson that I truly have a choice to choose to practice well-being, gratitude and happiness or I can choose to suffer in anxiety, anger and resentment.
Your generosity has been incredibly enabling. And I am fully aware that just like any another incredibly rich experience, the true transformative qualities of such an experience is dependent on how it is sustained after the experience is over. I am committed to utilizing what I have learned for the benefit of myself and others as I slowly reintegrate back into my university and my life in the States. In large part due to your philanthropy, I feel that I bear a responsibility to embody what I’ve learned over my semester abroad to appreciate, honor and better myself and also in my leadership in service to others.
With deep gratitude,