T – 15 minutes

Hi everyone! If we haven’t met before (in which case, I’m honored that you’re reading my blog!), my name is Nadha Illikkal. I’m from Andover, Massachusetts, a little ways north of Boston (Go Patriots!). I’m a rising junior in the College of Arts and Sciences (C’21), studying Health and Societies with a concentration in Health Policy and Law. I’m also planning on minoring in Urban Education and Survey Research and Data Analytics. 

This summer, I’m super excited to be interning at Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai! Obviously, because I’m studying healthcare, the prospect of working at a hospital is pretty intriguing, especially since I haven’t ever done so before. Even though I don’t plan on being a doctor in the future, I want to get to know how hospitals operate, since they are obviously one of the main sites of health care. I think Aravind is one of the most interesting hospital systems that exists because of its affordable, sustainable, and compassionate model, so I’m excited that my first working experience at a hospital will be at Aravind! I’ve had the chance to read a bit about Aravind in the book Infinite Vision, but nothing beats first-hand learning! In addition, the opportunity to actually make an impact through a project of my choosing is incredibly special and not one that many undergraduate students get a chance to do. One of my biggest goals for the summer is to make sure my impact is both meaningful and lasting.

Even though I’m really looking forward to working at Aravind, I will admit that there are a few butterflies flapping around in my stomach. I’ve been to India many many times before because most of my extended family lives in Kerala (which isn’t too far from Madurai!). Here’s a picture of me and my sister (half-asleep) on a boat in Kerala!

(I’m the one in green.)

However, this is my first time going without my family or going outside of Kerala or Chennai. I know the experience is going to be really different from all of my other summers in India. I’ll be in a new place with new people, working in a new environment, and trying to speak a new language. I’ll also probably be traveling around a lot more, which is exciting, but I’m not sure the homebody introvert in me is going to enjoy that all the time. I’m a little worried about running out of energy and not making the most of my summer, so I’ve been thinking a lot about how to take care of myself. Although I’ve never been much of a writer, this summer I want to take the time to journal just a little every day, maybe a sentence or two. 

Right now, I’m sitting in Logan Airport in Boston, finishing up writing this blogpost, but the next time you hear from me I’ll be halfway across the globe in India!

T-15 minutes until boarding 🙂  

(Also, please leave me comments and let me know what parts of my experience you want to hear more about!)

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About Nadha Illikkal

Hi! I'm Nadha Illikkal, and I'm a rising junior studying Health and Societies. I'm a born-and-bred New Englander from Andover, Massachusetts. This summer, I'll be interning at Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai, where I hope to learn about compassionate and high quality care. In my free time, I love doing puzzles (jigsaw, crossword, sudoku, you name it!) and watching sports!