Meet Meredith, one of our 2013 Summer Fellows. Before we let our Fellows get on a plane to go back to the U.S., we asked them to write about their experiences this summer. Read about her adventures below:
Spending 3 months in India was something I hadn’t quite prepared my brain for. I didn’t know much about India before arriving, and only knew what Kadod looked like from Google Earth searches. Thus, I was a bit of an empty slate going into the experience of living in a small Indian town (or village, this was debated occasionally). Now, after my 3 months have been completed, it is interesting to take a look at what my slate was filled with. I ate copious amounts of Gujarati cuisine (roti, subji, dal). I traveled to beautiful places in the states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, including ancient caves, soaring fortresses, and lush forests. I met truly impressive women who were defying any barriers set before them by getting their degrees. I wore salwar sets and saris (though never quite learned how to tie the sari). I rode on motorcycles and elephants, and slushed through monsoon puddles. I pet a python and monkey-watched from my roof. I met countless teachers, school staff, students and family members who were dedicated to education and making it better for Indian school children. I was bitten by a cow.
My Indian experience was filled with highs (getting to make videos of kids telling me what they want to be when they grow up) and lows (I was always the sickest and most accident prone Fellow), and even if I had learned everything there was to learn about India before coming, I am pretty sure I could never have accounted for those experiences. If I had come with a suitcase full of expectations, I am certain India would have found a way to blow all those expectations apart and give me something even bigger and more interesting to consider.
I am grateful that there was so many things I had the opportunity to do and to witness, and so many great people I was lucky enough to meet.