Preparing to Leave for India

Hi! My name is Himanshi and I’m a rising junior from Gainesville, Florida. This summer, I have the privilege of interning at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) in Gurgaon, Haryana. A fair warning in advance, this post will probably feature one too many uses of the word “excited”.

As I’m writing this introductory post, I’ve just wrapped up my sophomore year and the trip to India is becoming increasingly more tangible. I’m now two weeks out from my departure from the US and I couldn’t be more excited. My house is invaded daily with conversations about the trip as my parents discuss the logistics of figuring out phone communication, access to Indian currency, and outlet adaptors among many other necessary concerns. While I knew living abroad would be an adjustment, I had little idea of how nuanced some of the changes could be. For this, I’m extremely grateful for my parents’ reminders.

Besides the behind the scenes that’s occurring as I’m gearing up for the trip, I can’t help but remember all my past trips to India. A large majority of my extended family lives in India, so my family makes it a point to make the trip at least every two years. I have extremely fond memories of conversing with my family in broken Hindi, trying the amazing Chana Bhatura for the first time (a wonderful Punjabi dish!), shopping for regal Indian clothing, and experiencing the incredible wonders of India (the stunning Taj Mahal!). These memories are still vivid, but I haven’t been back to India since my sophomore year of high school- and that was well before the pandemic hit. Needless to say, I’m excited to reunite with extended family and be back in India as it’s recovering from the hard hit the pandemic just recently had on its civilians.

With this excitement to be back in India come equal concerns about living there for an extended period of time. My past trips have usually been short and very sheltered as I’d stay with my grandparents and have my parents with me to facilitate conversation wherever necessary. Now, this won’t be the case as I’ll be staying in Gurgaon far from family. Though, this concern in itself brings a great deal of excitement as I’m confident that my wonderful co-intern, Niki, and I will have fun navigating our way through India together. Moreover, as a native Floridian, I really shouldn’t have any concerns about heat, but the Delhi heat is the only unanimous topic I’ve been reminded about constantly whenever I tell people about my summer plans- so, it’s definitely something I’m a bit nervous about!

And now, onto my internship in India- I’ll be interning at PHFI! As someone interested in global health and how the social determinants of health impact health outcomes, I’m very excited to be working in the amazing global workforce that is PHFI. My project centers around studying adolescent health in the area of non-communicable diseases during the pandemic as a means to potentially prepare for similar, future scenarios. I’m looking forward to working with my supervisors, co-intern, and PHFI as a whole on their essential community-based projects.

With that, I know this summer will be a fulfilling one. From the plethora of skills and knowledge I will gain at PHFI to the ability to explore India, I am teeming with excitement (Yes again, sorry)! I am very thankful to CASI for providing me this opportunity.

Can’t wait to meet you again soon, India!

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About Himanshi Verma

Hi, I'm Himanshi! I'm a part of the class of 2024 and am majoring in Neuroscience. This summer, I will be interning at the Public Health Foundation of India in Gurgaon, Haryana. Outside of the classroom, I enjoy dancing, reading, and trying various desserts!