Reflections

I’m surprised by how quickly I’ve adjusted to being back in the States. It seems like my trip to India was a million years ago. The second I landed in the US, I immediately felt like I had never left. Now that I’ve been back on campus for a couple of weeks, I feel like I’ve transitioned right back into my normal routine.

When I came back from studying abroad last fall, it took me weeks to adjust to my everyday life again. It felt weird to hear American accents and see my friends and family.  It felt weird to sleep in my own bed and to walk around my hometown. I felt like I had to relearn how to be a Penn student once I got back to campus in January. I clearly hadn’t been prepared to come back to the States for that trip, but I feel like I was ready to come back after this one.

I experienced recognizable homesickness for the first time during this trip. Maybe it was because I was the only intern at LEAP, but I was really excited to go back to my normal life during the final week of my trip.

My experience in Delhi was definitely extraordinary, but something about the energy of the city, not having another intern, and not always being able to communicate with locals made me feel isolated at times. This allowed for a lot of personal reflection, which is something that I am very thankful for, but it also meant that I was more excited to come home than I normally would be.

Looking back at my trip now, I wish I had been able to explore India more (I guess that means I’ll have go back!). I would love to see the southern part of the country to experience a different India than the hustle and bustle of Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur.

Professionally, I was really happy that I got to experience the work culture of an office that was 1. in another country,  and 2. in an industry that I’m not very familiar with. Being at LEAP for the summer allowed me to really think about what I want to do after I graduate. It allowed me to explore a new industry and really integrate myself into an office workplace. In the past, I have had internships at Penn, so I was in very familiar territory. Working at LEAP took me out of my comfort zone and forced me to learn, and adjust, to the environment that I was in.

Overall, I had a wonderful time in India. I learned a lot about a culture that I wasn’t familiar with as well as a lot about myself. I hope to return in the future to explore more and to see how the places I’ve been to have changed.

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About Makeda Barr-Brown

Class of 2019, majoring in International Relations with a minor in History. Intern at LEAP Skills in New Delhi in the summer of 2018.