Thinking back, I was not planning to go to India when I started the IIP application; I was just looking for a company that resonated with my objectives for the summer. After some weeks of ignoring CASI placements, I finally decided to open some and discovered that they were more attuned to what I really wanted to do over the summer: have a real hands- on approach into sustainability projects. I applied, got interviewed by Aparna, and finally got accepted… but not to my initial placement. Aparna directed me to Naandi Foundation, and I am very excited to be one of the first interns in this organization. After school ended, I gave myself 10 days to prepare mentally and physically for my travel to India.
The thing about preparing to travel to a foreign country is that as much time and effort as you put into it, you will always feel that something is missing. I wanted to make sure to have almost everything that the Survival Guide suggested, so I went on a shopping spring to get my rain poncho, my mosquito net, massive amounts of repellant, granola bars, sturdy sandals, among other things. I was also careful enough to pack medicine for a cold, for diarrhea, for mosquito bites. Finally, my toiletries and facial creams were a must, so I packed sun screen for the face and body, moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner and soap. Even with all these items and with a 50 pound bag I felt like if something was missing. I have packed more than five times already, and still feel that something is missing, that there might be a way to arrange my clothes better or take less shoes.
So then I decided to just go on marathons of Netflix series that would make me forget the anxiety and excitement about the fact that I will soon be in a foreign and unknown country, interning in a foreign and unknown organization, and meeting foreign and unknown people.
After packing one more time, I headed to the airport, and now here I am sitting on my gate, wondering how many people I will meet, what memories I will take from my time there, and what projects I will work on. As much as I like the challenge of a new placement, I also understand that me and my partner are going to have to learn things as we go, so both thrill and nervousness are packed in my bag and are ready to go.
I will let you know how it goes.