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Faith reporter ready to learn on journey to India's 'Land of the Gods'

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
Jan. 12, 2013 at 5 p.m.
Updated Jan. 11, 2013 at 7:12 p.m.


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Advocate faith reporter Jennifer Preyss is leaving for India on Monday. Follow her journey at the Advocate's online special section "Land of the Gods" at VictoriaAdvocate.com/India.

Journalism can be a tough job.

Every day, we work on deadline to report the latest goings-on in our community and put out our writing, warts and all, for the world to see. But sometimes we get the chance to do something amazing and life-changing. It can be taking a trip to a Mexican village with a historic link to the Crossroads or something as simple as writing a profile on someone with an amazing personal story. We cherish those moments.

Advocate faith reporter Jennifer Preyss has a chance to spend an entire month on just such an experience. She was chosen to be one of five taking part in Rotary District 5930's 2013 Group Study Exchange team in India. The group consists of five young professionals between the ages of 25 and 40 who will travel the Kerala state in southern India, sometimes called the "Land of the Gods." They will represent and share the culture of South Texas with Rotary clubs, as well as learn about the culture and living conditions of people in India.

Preyss' trip is meant to be a relationship-building, service-oriented experience, and it will be much more than a tourist's view of India. While she is there, she will be blogging daily about her experiences, which will be featured in an online special section called "Land of the Gods" and in a series of reports in the newspaper. Along with today's introductory report, the Advocate also will present an in-depth package on the entire trip upon the group's return.

The group will visit many ancient Hindu and Muslim temples, as well as attend an Indian wedding, experience authentic yoga and meditation and more. As a faith reporter, she will have a unique opportunity to report on one of the world's most religiously pluralistic places.

"India is a place I've always been interested in," Preyss said. "The thought of walking in some of the most ancient places in the world has my heart beating."

As excited as she is, Preyss also feels the pressure of representing South Texas and especially Victoria to those in another culture. One of her main concerns is the need to speak publicly about the culture of Victoria when she is not a native of the area.

"There's a lot of pressure to be a lot of things to a lot of people," she said. "I hope to serve the Rotary Club well."

We are confident in Preyss' abilities as both a reporter and a considerate, competent member of our staff and community. She has brought her terrific talents and perspective to the Advocate and its readers, and we look forward to seeing how she will grow during this adventure overseas.

This trip has the potential to be a life-changing, eye-opening experience for her, and we are honored she was chosen to take part and bring the stories of her journey back to Victoria. We hope all of you will share in her monthlong adventure exploring India.

The trip is not just about one reporter's opportunity to learn about another place. Rather, we see this as an investment benefiting all of the Crossroads as together we learn more about the world around us. The world is shrinking, thanks to technological advancements, and our hearts and minds must be growing to keep pace.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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