Against all odds, what started as a small idea for a couple of students to travel to India this coming summer has morphed into what is sure to be an unforgettable trip abroad for eight Miami University students.
During their trip abroad, they will have the chance of a lifetime to collaborate with A.R. Rahman, the man behind the music of the box office success Slumdog Millionare.
Rahman won two Academy Awards for his work creating the music for Slumdog Millionaire.
Srinivas Krishnan has organized the entire trip. The journey to this summer’s trip has not been easy, but it has been a leap of faith that ended up working out wonderfully, he said.
In 1996, Krishnan founded Global Rhythms World Music Ensemble at Miami. Global Rhythms is a student organization that performs ethnic music from non-Western cultures using Western instruments.
Krishnan was organizing the Global Rhythms concert this past fall when he conceived the idea of sending a couple of Miami students over to Chennai, India, for the summer to help teach music at a local orphanage.
Fundraising efforts at various concerts throughout the year and generous support from the Rotary Club of Madras have enabled the eight Miami students to travel to Chennai, India, according to Krishnan.
In addition to working with Rahman, the students will work in an orphanage teaching music to the 400 girls who live there, collaborate with local artists and put on various performances.
The students will leave for Chennai July 25 and return Aug. 17.
Junior Sean O’Neill has been the team leader for this project and said he is very excited to begin work in Chennai.
“What is really amazing is the connections that can be made between all of us as a team and to other cultures through music,” O’Neill said.
Going abroad and being in an unfamiliar place helps students find themselves, Krishnan said. The whole process of going abroad helps stimulate intellectual growth, he said.
Director of International Education, David Keitges, said he feels that studying abroad or going abroad at some point is crucial in the development of student identity as well.
“Stereotypes about what life should be explode when students go somewhere where everything is completely different than the United States,” Keitges said.
A student’s identity is completely challenged when they are immersed in a different culture for a long period of time, he said.
“When you go abroad you stop hearing the music from home and start hearing the local music, and you start to see how other people see the world,” Keitges said.