UT Psychology Student Spends Summer Studying, Volunteering in India

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KNOXVILLE— From visiting slums to attending a wedding, Chelsea Ennis has seen some of the lowest lows and highest highs of India.

Chelsea Ennis, in the middle, is studying in India this summer.“I decided to study abroad so that I could experience a culture and a way of life completely different than my own,” said Ennis, who left for India on May 22 and will be returning to the U.S. on July 3.

Ennis, of Memphis, is a senior in psychology. She said she chose to study in India because she felt the country had a rich culture, very different from her own. After being abroad for only a few days, Ennis realized she would have to adapt to a lifestyle with few modern amenities, such as electricity and limited access to the Internet and phone service.

Indian boys and cattle“I really appreciate the hospitality I have experienced in India,” Ennis said. “While people stare a lot at us foreigners, they have been nothing but nice and helpful.”

During her summer stint in India, Ennis is studying Indian cuisine, yoga, survival Hindi, a population and poverty sociology class, and a service learning class at Christ University. She is also spending some time doing volunteer work.

A vendor selling fresh vegetablesEnnis said the poor in India seem much worse than the poor in the U.S. By volunteering with the Center for Social Action, she hopes to lend a helping hand to the women and children in slums and rural villages.

In the future, Ennis wants to blend her volunteer heart with her psychology major.

“I hope to continue to study my particular interest in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but add in a multicultural outlook,” Ennis said. “I would like to be able to study PTSD and trauma in understudied populations, such as children growing up in slums.”

Vendors at an outdoor market in IndiaBeyond volunteering, Ennis has experienced an Indian hospitality unlike any other.

“One of my fondest memories has been going to an Indian wedding of people I have never met,” Ennis said. “The groom’s father invited us from the streets to come to the wedding and we went.”

C O N T A C T :

Emma McMillan (865-974-2225, emacmill@utk.edu)

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu)

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