Packing: Clearing away what is unnecessary

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Hi! I am Andrew and I am originally from Philadelphia, PA. I am a student in the Penn School of Social Policy and Practice working towards a Masters in Social Work degree. This summer I will be spending 10 weeks with Samaj Pragati Sahayog (SPS). Prior to this trip I have been feeling an immense gratitude for this opportunity to travel, live and work in rural India for a three months. While packing, reading and preparing in a rush as the semester and academic year come to a close, I wonder, what will I learn this summer?

I am excited to travel to India for many reasons. One and a quarter billion people live in India and the way that this population incorporates global industrial and technological processes will greatly influence the rest of the world. Furthermore, the way the people of India continue to integrate or resist governmental change and social progress will further act as a measure of how we interact as social beings. It is developing in many ways – making extreme advances in production and economic growth, while many people live still live in extreme poverty; and it is developed – a culmination of religious and cultural traditions that are thousands of years old and have had a great influence on modern culture worldwide. I couldn’t be more excited to learn about this culture, so different from my own, and so important to my future as a global citizen.

I am excited to live in a rural area, and disconnect if only for a short while from the constant check-ins with my inbox and the need to run from place to place and from meeting to meeting. I am excited to commit entirely to a place and a project for 10 weeks. And I am excited because I know that the greatest experiences I will have will not at all be linked to what I imagine to be essential, and will only be found after having survived the experience.

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