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Leonie Tollefson

Leonie Tollefson is passionate about sustainable travel and language learning. She is involved in animal rights activism, gender equality, and multiple youth groups supporting education and volunteerism. Her goals are to learn and become fluent in German, Spanish, and Hindi, so she can communicate with all kinds of people, and to volunteer wherever she goes. One of her favorite quotes is by Frida Kahlo, "At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can."

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India Unexpected

April 20, 2019

India has been full of surprises this year, especially since I tried to have no expectations going into it. I have now been back in my home, Madison, WI, for a few days and I’ve been reflecting on what things shocked me most about India. I wrote this little list up before I left India,...

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Happy Holi!

April 3, 2019

The last few days have been a blaze of color and light. I celebrated Holi a total of 3 times, and my best friend Leah came to Pune for a few days and joined me on my daily adventures. You may know Holi from the photos of people covered in colored powder, but it has...

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Helping My School Through Art!

March 16, 2019

As part of my Global Citizen Year program, I’m required to complete an end of year project in my community here in India. I chose to do something in my school community, as that’s been the most impactful part of the year for me and I wanted to give back any way I can. Initially...

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A Spiritual Journey in Rsihikesh

March 12, 2019

To have all my bases covered, after returning from Goa I flew to the north to head to the yoga capital of the world, otherwise known as Rishikesh. It lays at the base of the Himalayas, and the holy Ganga river flows right through the city. I stayed up there for about a week at...

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An Insight Into Northeast India

February 12, 2019

“The Sun said to the Man, ‘Spread more light than heat, that is what our world needs.’” Father George, Siloam This quote is what began the transformative experience that was Northeast India and Learning Seminar 2. A land with beauty that I had never seen before, mountains coated in green, boundless lakes and rivers, and...

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Magical Kerala

January 23, 2019

Some places I travel to leave me reluctant to write, hesitant to spoil the magic of a place. Not Kerala. The beauty of this southern Indian state is so incredibly overpowering, yet at the same time extremely subtle, and it begs to be written about. I spent 4 days exploring various parts of Kerala with...

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4 Spontaneous Days in Pondicherry!

January 10, 2019

After a fantastic week in Bangalore, I took an overnight bus east, to the state of Tamil Nadu, where I spent 4 amazing days in the French colonial town turned union territory, Pondicherry (or Puducherry for locals). The Indian/French fusion vibe that the whole city took on was amazing, from the food to the language,...

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Post Card Diaries

December 4, 2018

Aside from teaching and traveling, I’ve kept myself very busy by exploring my new home of Pune! During Diwali break a few weeks ago, I went on a little walk up Parvati Hill with my host family, where I came across some beautiful watercolor postcards of Pune, made by Bhaskar Sagar. They feature the most...

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Lighting Up Diwali!

November 18, 2018

Diwali is the festival of light, and easily one of the biggest celebrations of the year in India. It celebrates the triumph of good versus evil, and it is essentially the Indian Christmas, or in some parts of India, the new year. It’s 5 days, starting on the 5th of November. I had nearly a...

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A Learning Curve

October 24, 2018

I’ve spent the past several days trying to think of adjectives to describe my apprenticeship experience so far, and I can only think of one simple one: crazy. For the last month and a half, I have been waking up at 6 AM to hail a rickshaw to my government school 25 minutes away, where...

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The Dangers of The First Impression

September 27, 2018

Namaste, I’m in India! I’ve been in Pune for about a month now, and it has truly been an incredible experience so far, and I still have 7 months to go! As many of you know, I am taking part in a gap year immersion program called Global Citizen Year. It involves living with a...

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Why I Am Taking A Gap Year!

August 20, 2018

  As I stressfully prepare to leave my home next week for 8 months in India, I’ve begun to reflect on what exactly prompted me to take a gap year. It’s an idea I’ve been tossing around for years, but never fully committed to until my senior year. I thought for my first blog post...

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