I’m about to get on a plane to spend the rest of my summer in India.
- India Quick Facts: From the World Bank (2014-2015)
- Population: 1.31 billion (vs. US 320 million)
- Capital: New Delhi
- Currency: INR, Indian Rupee ($10=₹671)
- Life Expectancy: 68 years old (vs. US 79 years old)
- Language: Hindi
- The 2001 Census recorded 30 languages which were spoken by more than a million native speakers and 122 which were spoken by more than 10,000 people – Wikipedia
- Gross National Income (US dollars): $1,590 (vs. US $54,960)
I have been drawn to India because of many years of exposure to the people, culture, and history of the country. My last big trip was four years ago and I vowed I’d never travel abroad again. That only lasted a few years and reality checks later.
It is hard to understand the world we live in, the world we are surrounded by everyday if we sit still and stagnant. We need to be removed from the comfort of our daily lives to truly understand what those “daily lives and comforts” actually are. I was never made more aware of this then when I studied abroad in South Africa.
Four years ago, almost to the exact day, I arrived home from a study abroad experience in South Africa. I was going to stay a year..but I didn’t. After 7 months, I cut my trip short and booked a flight home. I was tired from the stresses of living in a country that felt so different than my own. South Africa had issues of racism, inequality, and extreme poverty.
After a few months of being back in the US, my resentment of South Africa shifted to resentment towards the US. I realized that the issues that made me want to leave one country were some of the very same issues that were prevalent in my own country. I was too ignorant and insulated in my own environment to fully understand the broader picture that existed around me. I didn’t hold my own country and citizens to the same degree of scrutiny that I placed on another country while I was abroad. I had three major takeaways from that trip
- We are not different from one another in our daily lives. We all want similar levels of happiness, connection, and love.
- The best way to understand your own culture is to spend time in another.
- Borders, labels, and the news are not an excuse for ignorance and lack of critical thinking.
The time has come. A few months ago I booked my trip, visa, and tickets on my 26th birthday in March. My trip will be a few weeks with a group then a few weeks traveling alone. I chose a “back to basics/unplugged” trip to hopefully allow for a more immersive experience.
I am bringing a 28L backpack, a few outfits, and an open mind.