Hi everyone! My name is Bela Parekh and I will be interning at Aravind Eye Care System this summer, based out of the team in Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu. I will confess that the first time I ever came to India 10 years ago I tried to create a blog with my siblings….we maybe wrote 3 posts and it has not since kept up. I hope no one, myself included, ever finds it again. This blog, however, will be a blessing to my parents, who have implored me endlessly to find ways to stay in touch with them while abroad. So Mom and Dad, this is a great way for you to know I have internet connection and to begin the assault of FaceTimes and iMessages and Whatsapps to check in with me. I open up that invitation to everyone that reads this blog as well.
This post is introductory, so let me also go ahead with that. I just finished up my sophomore year at Penn and am in shock that my time in college is half over. I am a part of the Life Sciences and Management dual degree program where I study Biological Basis of Behavior in the College and Healthcare Management/Finance at Wharton. I come from Montville, New Jersey, which is a wonderful town except for the fact it is mainly known for also being home to the Real Housewife that just got out of jail (a travesty, really). My family is all from North India, so I am super excited to be in the south for the next 10 weeks exploring a completely different culture.
What drew me to Aravind is their amazing business model and their message. My parents are both ophthalmologists and as a result I’ve grown up staring at different eye magazines, learning about different surgeries, and hearing the complaints about how expensive treatments can be. Aravind seemed like the perfect fit for the next part in my journey of learning about how to provide universal healthcare. I am incredibly excited to spend a summer learning from what is sure to be an inspiring group of people. I am especially looking forward to falling further in love with India and being back in the motherland.
I cannot wait to see what the next 10 weeks will bring me. I bought a copy of “Infinite Vision”, the book written on Aravind, to learn more about the organization and it has only made me more and more excited to go. Besides the experience, I look forward to trying different foods, learning new languages, exploring a new culture, and making fantastic friends for a lifetime!