Puget Sound's Pacific Rim Study Abroad program marks its 50th anniversary this academic year. To help celebrate, we asked for your memories of the program and how it shaped you. Here's what you told us. 

PacRim student in India.

Straight from the Dalai Lama

One of my three greatest, most life-defining moments happened while in Dharamshala, India, the site of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile. We were there to attend the Dalai Lama’s teachings, and we lived with Tibetan host families during that week. The day before the public teachings started, His Holiness delivered a private teaching to a smaller audience. My host parents were able to attend and bring me along. They dressed me in traditional Tibetan clothes and took me to his temple; somehow we had access to sit in the front row, directly to his right, while he spoke. Earlier that morning, the U.S. had started bombing Baghdad, initiating the second U.S. war with Iraq. The Dalai Lama explained to us that he had planned to present one teaching, but given the events of that morning, he set his planned talk aside and proceeded to riff for hours on the inherent compassion of all humans in our world. I will always be grateful to Elisabeth Benard, Nima Dorjee, and the PacRim program for allowing me the experience to sit at the feet of one of Earth’s wisest people on a dark day and hear a message of light, hope, and compassion.
Matthew McMurphy ’03
Novato, Calif.