SUMIKO NEARY | DELHI, INDIA | POST 1
Featured image: The Taj Mahal
Hello from Delhi, India!
It’s been just over a week since I arrived in Delhi with 29 peers and 2 program coordinators, and I can’t believe how quickly the time is flying by! This is probably because of our hectic schedule, where we (my homestay roommate and I) leave the house around 8 AM, have class from 9-5:30, and return home around 7 PM each night before having to eat dinner, do homework, and simply exist before going to sleep around 11 and doing it all over again! Even though we’ve only been in India for a week, I feel like I already know my peers so well because of our program launch in Washington, D.C, during which the 30 of us did absolutely everything together for two whole weeks! The night we split up to move in with our homestay families I was actually quite sad that I would have to spend a few hours away from everyone.
India is the first of four countries (U.S. included) that my program spends time in learning about global public health. We start in D.C. in order for all of us to have a baseline understanding of healthcare in the U.S, before we travel the world and make comparisons abroad. I like to say “travel the world” because each of the three countries we visit is in a different continent (Asia, Africa, and South America).
The only downside is how long our flights are – traveling from D.C. to Delhi took a total of 24 hours door-to-door! Luckily, we have lots of time to get used to flying as a group by the time we return to the U.S. in May.
The first week in Delhi has been really busy, but really exciting! Our school day often includes field trips to super cool public health organizations or meetings with people who have done very cool things, so I’m rarely bored. Outside of school, we have been trying to see as much of Delhi as possible by going to the local markets, doing work in cafes instead of at home, and sightseeing! So far we’ve only had a few opportunities to really go sightseeing, and in this time I’ve visited Humayun’s Tomb, an annual two-week artisan festival, and more. I even got to celebrate my twenty-first birthday at the Taj Mahal in Agra! I only wish we had more free time (and less homework), to be able to take in as much of Delhi as possible.
In the next three weeks in India, I’m looking forward to spending time in a rural village (to learn about healthcare in a rural setting), spending a weekend traveling outside of Delhi, and learning more about my host family! With only one month in Delhi, it’s been challenging to decide how I want to spend my time because there are just so many options! But of course this is a very lucky problem to have.
Because of all the excitement about being in Delhi and wanting to see/do everything, it’s been a little too easy to forget that we are actually here for class and have homework to do! Luckily, all of the readings are super interesting to me, so it’s not too difficult to do all the reading thoroughly. It’s already been cool to compare India vs the U.S, and it especially helps that we learn from local experts in each country who have lots of experience working in the field. I have so much to learn from them!
Also… the food! Is! So! Good! All of our meals are homemade, whether by our homestay families or by the lovely chefs that prepare our lunches each day, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a more delicious week of life. My spice tolerance is slowly increasing, and I’m hoping by the end of the four weeks here, I won’t need to make sure that my food is the non-spicy option!