06 February 2016

Get together at Advisor's home

Bruce and students chatting

Last semester I had the opportunity to travel all over India with 18 other Lewis & Clark students, Nicole Schneider, the overseas program coordinator and Bruce Podobnik, a Sociology professor who led the the trip (not to mention, he is also my advisor)! As the third week of Spring term was coming to an end, I had ran into almost everyone either on campus, a party, or downtown, except Bruce. I had yet to see him. Last night, we had a get together at his home, which I was excited about. Yeah, you read right! We met at my advisors home! That was not the first time we had gathered at his home though. A few months before we left for our trip we had an orientation their. At that time, I did not know anyone (besides Bruce), and I remember I was feeling a bit anxious about starting new friendships and simultaneously embarking into what was going to be a challenging time abroad. I say challenging because, we were all going to emerge into a whole a different country where the cultural norms and expectations are completely different than to the ones in the U.S.

One recurring topic that came up in some of the conversations I had last night, was how many of us have a difficult time summarizing our time abroad in 1-3 sentences. I have been asked a number of times "How was India?" While I am not sure what part of India people want to hear me respond about, I usually respond by saying, "It was good... a challenging and learning experience, but overall it was good." While some people ask further questions such as "what was your favorite part about India?" or "how did you like the food?", these interactions have somewhat of an awkward feeling to it. I know that I cannot put into a short number of words how my experience was and I also know that my responses do no do it justice.
One of my friends mentioned how she was not able to talk about India until a few weeks since arriving had gone by. Not because she was not given the chance to, its just that how do you summarize three+ months into a few sentences?

Overall, I want to emphasize how fortunate I feel to have traveled with these 20 other individuals and if I had a chance to do it again, I would! Last night, I was able to see the growth of each individual that was present as well as the bond that traveling and experiencing India together had created between us. Every time I run into someone from my trip, I greet them with a huge smile and I too, receive a large smile in return. By traveling with a group I definitely got the opportunity to learn small details about each other lives and that's whats special about it.

While I can talk about my trip forever, I am glad we were able to gather last night and catch-up. Most of all, I am fortunate that we have professors and faculty at Lewis and Clark who are willing to create close bonds with students as well as be a life support, like Bruce and Nicole are to me.

Last group picture before we left India