Emotions from the End

I’m sitting here, at my desk at PHFI, on my last day of the internship. In an hour or so, I’ll have to clean up my desk, pack away my things for good (not that I have that much stuff. It’s mostly just a few papers, but it still feels weird), and give a final goodbye to the office and the people I’ve met here.


Me finishing up some work on our last day!

It truly has been an amazing ten weeks here in India, and I have to say I’m quite sad that I have to leave the country tomorrow. Hareena and I had the privilege of experiencing a lifestyle here that we would’ve never had otherwise. Apart from the fact that we’re in India and experiencing a whole new environment, it was also pretty interesting to work in an office setting– the opportunity doesn’t come up often for someone interested in becoming a doctor.

Some of the highlights of the internship were going to meetings and field visits. It was so cool to see the desk research we contributed to translate into actual programs and interventions being discussed with high-level experts and professionals. The discussions we witnessed provided great insight about how work in the public health sector really has to be culturally feasible in order to work in India, which isn’t so easy in such a diverse country. We also had the chance to visit some schools to see the implementation of PHFI’s school health activities, and it was an interesting experience to find the parallels between schoolchildren in India and in the US.

While I’ve always been into public health, my interest had mainly been in the communicable disease aspect before this internship. However, at PHFI, Hareena and I worked in a department that was basically all about non-communicable diseases (NCDs), so it was kind of the exact opposite to what I was most familiar with. At first I was a bit disappointed with my assignment, but now I’m really glad I got the chance to delve into something completely new! After working in PHFI, I feel that I’ve become quite knowledgeable about the NCD situation in India, and with all the research I’ve done and all the papers I’ve written on the topic, it’s a great feeling to have some degree of expertise on a topic.

PHFI was an amazing chapter in my life, and I can’t wait to start the next!



One thought on “Emotions from the End

  1. When you are interested in becoming a doctor doing something “different” (from what you wanted or expected) is truly invaluable. It was for me, 52 years ago, going to India (the most different place in the world!) in the Peace Corps to teach farming – very different for a city boy, when my intent was to become a doctor. The value of it manifests in every patient being different. Thank you for your words. Norris Childs, MD, FACS (Aparna’s uncle)

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About varshinigali

Penn class of 2020, majoring in Health and Societies, interning at the Public Health Foundation of India.