My current internship in India is as a Pre-Health Intern for Columbia Asia Hospitals in Bangalore. What drew me towards this internship was a variety of factors that have been growing not just throughout my undergraduate studies, but way before that as an adolescent. Being an Indian American born in the United States, I always had issues where I’d have to pick and choose aspects of my identity to blend in with the right situations. And for the most part, it was always the American side of things that was favored in most settings, from wanting to eat sandwiches over chapatis at school to speaking mostly English at home, not really learning Hindi or my parents’ dialects throughout my childhood. Naturally, there was a void left to be filled because of that and there was always this lingering feeling that I was leaving something important behind while I was becoming more and more American. It wasn’t until I started taking Hindi in college that I started to feel (ever so slightly) more confident and comfortable in the desi part of my overall identity.
Moreover, with my desires to become a physician scientist persisting since high school (and medical-based internships being something of a rarity for US students), I thought the position would be a great way to bridge all of my career-based and personal desires together. However, a big problem that I initially thought would be there would be that Hindi in Bangalore would be kind of hard to utilize since most people in South India speak Tamil, Telugu, or a various South Indian dialect. Therefore, with Hindi being primarily used in states located in North India, it might not help me there.
Now after being in Bangalore for around a week, I found my internship adhering to some expectations and not others. It definitely does allow me to work with clinical data and organize it for professionals in the hospital. It also allows me to observe various surgeries and operations, which I always wanted to experience more of. However, I didn’t think of the commute being more of an issue and phone access to be a real necessity there. In India nowadays, I’ve learned that OLA (aka India’s Uber) is used more and more nowadays to get from place to place. So due to that, getting one’s phone to work in India is crucial to survive. However, as I’ve learned, getting a temporary SIM card and data plan is easier said than done and for the first one or two days, I needed help to get around to the hospital
Besides my landlady Naresha, her family, and Dr. Govind (my employer), other people I’ve met in the hospital included a physician assistant named Shruthi and a man named Prakash, who assists Dr. Govind with any sort of work he needs to get done. Both of them were very helpful towards me (esp. with my initial phone troubles and getting an OLA) and informed me a lot about their jobs and who I could observe at the hospital I’m stationed at (located in Yeshwantpur).
Overall, it’s been a challenge to get around and assimilate with the locals here, but I think I’ll be able to manage. Will post pictures up later.