After returning home, it was interesting to be back in my own house for the first time in a month, since I was used to staying in places drastically different than what I’m used to. It was nice to be able to relax, play with my dogs, and drink the tap water again. Even though I didn’t get to relax immediately because I first had to deal with cleaning off everything I took with me due to a possible bed-bug situation… once I finally did get to go lay in my own bed and look over pictures from the trip, it was nice to think and reflect on everything I learned during my trip.
One of the best parts of my trip was all of the people that I met along the way. My fellow participants and our two trip leaders were both amazing, but the kids from the school SECMOL in the Himalayas from the first part of our trip were definitely the highlight of my trip. Being able to meet kids my own age in a culture that was so different from mine and being able to compare similarities and differences in our lives was such a great thing to experience.
That relates to the other best part of my trip, which was being able to gain a more well rounded idea of Indian geography and culture, and therefore being able to see through all of the stereotypes that people often mention about the country. It was great to be able to visit a country such as India that definitely is much much different than America, especially since it is nearly completely un-westernized in many parts, and to gain a realistic view of what the country is actually like. Especially, since the National Geographic trip was set up to give students a view of India more through the eyes of someone who lives there rather than just a tourist, which is how I likely would have seen the country if I went by myself or with another program. Furthermore, it was great to be able to experience religions that I do not often see or learn about in America, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Islam. It was amazing to be able to visit these religions’ places of worship and learn more about their customs and values was extremely unique. I think it is very important for people to understand others’ religions, even if they do not believe the same thing as them, so that people can better understand one another and how each other think.
Overall, I had an amazing time on my India expedition and I am so glad that I took part in it and grateful that I was given the opportunity to do so. I would greatly recommend to everyone to go out and explore somewhere new, especially somewhere with a vastly different culture than in the United States. It will help you grow as a person, teach you lots of new things, and you will also make many new friends along the way.
Since this is my last post I just wanted to say thank you for reading this semester, and I will leave you with some of my favorite pictures from my trip!!