1. 2 months || courses in international development, language, and public health || homestay #1 in Bangalore, India
2. 2 months || rural clinical research || homestay #2, 4 hours from Bangalore
3. Winter break
4. 4 months || rural clinical research || homestay #2, 4 hours from Bangalore
5. Head home
Specific information of the courses, research, homestays, and day-to-day life will be documented in this blog. So follow it if you're interested!
Besides interest in the program, other facets drew me towards India. First facet: Bangalore is known as the Silicon valley of India, it is very technologically driven. Coming from a biomedical engineering background, I am excited to see these science and engineering impacts. India's healthcare system is one of four regions that strongly interests me (others include the US, Japan, and Scandinavia). Furthermore, I look forward to comparing the technological and cultural landscapes of the urban and rural settings.
A second facet: Three summers ago (summer of 2013), I went to India, Thailand, the Philippines, and Nepal for mission/service based work. Here, I taught English, lived at an orphanage, connected with a women's shelter, and built water filters for a Nepali village. You and I can find that summer's blog here: https://batmankatie.wordpress.com/. The experience in Asia was life changing and life giving.
I had never understood US culture better than seeing it through this new lens. I had not understood the extremes of patience until I waited for my luggage for 4 days or waited 2 days for the water level to be low enough so we could finally drive home from the village. I hadn't experienced the full capacity of kindness/generosity until our Nepali village host offered us her only bed, while she and her three children slept on the dirt floor. Never had I experienced as much joy as I did playing hand clapping games and dancing with children at the Thai school. I had never felt so instantly secure and cared for as I did when meeting my Filipino family. I had never felt as loved as I did through my teammates and travel companion's support and influence.
My 2013 summer in Asia allowed me to more fully understand humanity. At times, I was scared, was sick (amongst other things, I spent 2 days at a Thai hospital), and saw great and horrible extremes of humanity. As Paul puts it in Romans 5:3-4, I am very glad that the personal (and other's) sufferings from this experience produced perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Being able to more fully experience other cultures, research and clinical practices, and growth are strong influencers of my decision to venture to India this year. My hope is that other people also become inspired to learn about and care for the world around them -- the initial discomfort of meeting a new person, trying a new food, or learning a new skill can catalyze life-changing effects.
Thanks for reading.
To best understand yourself, look outside of yourself. -- me ;)
Tomorrow's yesterday is today. -- Curt
"Pani, pani! (Water, water!)" -- girl from Nepali village; said when she first saw clean water pour from the water filter