It’s been exactly a month since my last blog post and since I boarded a plane out of Bangalore and by now I’m fully acclimated to life back in America. It’s hard for me to be sad about being home, especially when it means eating American food and seeing everyone I missed all summer, and I can’t say that I am. I have no huge desire to fly back to India right away, but I don’t think I expected to. What I do have, though, is a summer full of priceless and worthwhile experiences, and a feeling that I’ll be sure to return someday.

Over the past weeks since I’ve returned I couldn’t help but constantly think or comment ‘In India….’ in regards to almost every situation. Although I can’t help myself from deciding whether something was better in India or better in the US, there’s no shortage of things I prefer and miss from India. It’s often the small things I never thought I’d miss, like the familiar yet always interesting rides to work everyday or walks to the gym. There was just so much more to see than there is on the couple block walk to Pottruck at Penn. Or the stray animals, like the kitten who was born nearby work and who we saw grow up everyday through our tea breaks with coworkers. There are far too many things to name. 

The largest conclusion I’ve reached since my return was a simple one of how worthwhile and impactful my summer in India was. It’s impossible to quantify the lasting effects and changes in thinking I’ve had, but I’m sure that there are few other things I could have done this summer that would have been as meaningful. Up until the past summer, I had spent every summer of my life in Philly. Not to say they weren’t great and valuable summers, but I don’t think they were times of great reflection. I think I had to to travel to the other side of the world to really understand what it means to live and study at home. 

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About jacobvanhouten

Class of 2017, majoring in Mathematical Economics. Intern at Jana Urban Foundation in Bangalore, Karnataka in summer 2015.