Surfing and Introductions

I frantically paddled until I heard the words, “Pop up!” At that point, I jumped up and turned my body right as quickly as I could, bending my knees, keeping my back straight and holding my arms out. I half expected to wipe out immediately, but the wave carried me close to the shore with great speed. Wobbling a little and laughing with disbelief at the fact that I was still standing, I rode my first wave for about 7-10 seconds before falling off my board in my usual clumsy fashion. Surfing in Chennai…who knew? Our supervisor, Zach, took Leah and I early Sunday morning to a beach called Kovalam, 30 minutes south of the city. It was one of the most fun activities I’ve done in a long time and, naturally, I forgot to take photos. I’ll definitely go back at some point however, and I’ll be sure to bring my camera along.

 Slowly but surely I am getting used to life in Chennai. Work is starting to pick up at IRCS as Leah and I start our main projects for the summer. Thankfully, we have a great team of people here at IRCS to ensure that we come away from this internship learning a lot and enjoying our stay in Chennai. I’m going to be working with Zach to assess and analyze where IRCS can set up new sites in India to expand their reach and bring essential financial services to even more of the country’s rural population. Additionally, I’ll be working with Leah to provide financial deliverables for their oldest and most active site at Pudhuaaru in Tamil Nadu. This project will even involve actually travelling to Puhuaaru a couple times, which should be really interesting. 

If I thought college classes were challenging, I severely underestimated the challenges of the working world. I can already tell after week one that my internship here will be rigorous and challenging, but interesting and beneficial as well. I still have a lot to learn, and a lot more mosquito bites, power cuts, water cuts and humid Chennai afternoons to experience. And, I will keep you all updated along the way (with more pictures, I promise). Till next time!

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About Nikhil Devnani

Class of 2016 undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. Currently intending to study Finance and possibly Operations. Intern at IRCS in Chennai for the Summer of 2014 (sponsored by CASI).