Pre-trip thoughts

Just printed my ticket! With time flying this quickly at home, I can’t imagine how quickly it will go when there is work to be done, and experiences to be had. In terms of my state of mind, right about now I have butterflies and knots in my stomach, but oddly enough overlying it all I feel at ease. At ease because this internship will be an adventure in all senses of the word-experiencing a different culture, meeting new people, hearing their stories, and ultimately learning by experience- and that excitement is more than enough to overcome any nerves.

My name is Shobana Ramasamy, from Georgia, and now a junior in the College studying BBB. I am interning with Chirag, a rural development NGO in Uttarakhand (which is very far north, near the Himalayas) and my area of interest there is rural health. Why India? That’s the key element for me- India, through the good and the bad, has always taught me something new about myself, family, and I guess in way, about life in general. My interest in Chirag can be understood from a short exchange between the travel health doc and me when I was catching up on shots:

“Have you ever been there before?” “no”

“Do you speak the language, or have some basic phrasing down” “not exactly”

“Will your parents be there?” “no”

“So you’re going to experience the you-should-know-but-you-don’t feeling?”

I know the feeling she is talking about, I’m sure many of you that have traveled to a place with a different language do too. The act of being a wallflower works until someone asks you a question that requires speaking. However, for many reasons I do not expect that to be the case in Chirag. In fact, for me Chirag represents the opportunity to follow through on the “jump in and learn to swim” idea, to become acquainted with the learn-as-you-go kind of living. Having always visited Tamilnadu (shoutout to the Aravind interns!) when coming to India, Uttarakhand is completely outside of what I know about India and I welcome that, in fact that’s what really excites me about this whole trip- that chance to learn new things from everything and every person you meet.

So here I am, looking at my suitcase, trying to figure out how it’s possible that in one day I’ll be in a completely different part of the world. In 1 day I’ll be in Delhi and soon after in the Simayal village of Uttarakhand. 1 day and I’ll be in a place I’ve never even come close to on family trips, a place that seems so different and yet so familiar to where my family in India lives now, and I can’t wait!

Safe travels,





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About rshobana

Class of 2015. Majoring in Biological Basis of Behavior. Intern at Chirag in Simayal, Uttarakhand in summer 2013.