I can attest to the validity of this article published originally by Budget Travel magazine (reprinted on MSNBC.com) on how a trip to India can change one's life. I spent seven months in South Asia the summer after my Sophomore year, working, studying, travelling, but always learning and observing. The storie's lede says it best:
"There’s no going to India in half measures, and there’s no foretelling how it will effect you." My feelings on the place are you either love it or you hate it, and as Mark Tully has written, "There are no full stops in India." You have to read the book to understand the phrase--and Tully's work is one of the better travel-writings that I have read on India.
From the article:
I hadn’t come to India on any kind of Mission Enlightenment, but the funny thing about change is how it creeps up on you when you’re busy acting like a brat. As soon as we left Delhi, the little kindnesses started: When I fell sick in the Lawrence of Arabia–worthy desert town of Jaisalmer, a restaurant owner named Rama became my temporary mother, easing my stomach pain with “desert cures” and my loneliness with long, intimate talks. In the whitewashed lakeside city of Udaipur, Nick and I met a pair of teenage art dealers, who, after selling us miniature paintings, discovered my love of Bollywood films and offered to take me to several, where they explained what was going on when the plots got too convoluted. I also mentioned my Bollywood obsession to the functionary who ran the 17th-century castle-cum-hotel in the village of Orchha; the next morning, a famous actor who lived nearby was waiting in the lobby for me. Such acts occurred almost daily, and their generosity took my breath away.
The article is a nice read--click here to read the full article.