Looking back at these past two months there are many things that worked out perfectly, and also many things that didn’t. However, I would not change a single thing about my experience. I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world with my family, but this was the first time I was truly by myself, immersed in the culture. There is something to be said about having tour guides and planned out transportation, but I can honestly say my experience would not be the same without the many times I went out to eat with my coworkers, convinced my auto rickshaw driver to let me drive down the block, or the time I ended up lost in the streets on New Delhi and tried on sarees for two hours with a bridal shower. These are some of the experiences that I will never forget, and it was all possible because of the confidence I gained from my internship. It was not always easy, and at the beginning it was actually really hard to form relationships with my coworkers and feel like I was making a meaningful impact on the NGO, but now, I will miss laughing during lunch when the English to Hindi translation is completely wrong and I look forward to seeing the effects of my work in the long run.
Almost every time I talk to someone from home, they ask me if I went to that temple alone or ate that restaurant alone, and I have to stop myself from lying. Our culture has a stigma against being alone and we are under the impression that being alone means we are lonely. Yes, being around others is always comforting, but there is also solace in solitude. Despite traveling alone some of the time and spending most of the day with my own thoughts, I was never lonely. Actually, I felt quite the opposite. This internship pushed me out of my comfort zone in so many ways, and it gave my the certainty I needed to enjoy traveling alone and being alone.
This past weekend I got accepted into the Ross School of Business as a Cross Campus Transfer, which was originally what I wanted to do all along. I was ecstatic when I found out, but the more I thought about it this week, I realized that I am also interested in the School of Information. I realized that social media has so much influence in our world and the way information is presented and distributed can make a meaningful change. Although I have to look more into it, this internship has opened my eyes to other possible majors and career paths and has my excited to go back to school and explore all of the opportunities that await me.
This was probably the most memorable experience of my life thus far. Last semester I was talking to another student who worked in Australia after his Freshman year, and he told me that it changed his entire perspective on life and that because of it, he was a different person. Although that seems drastic, I would have to agree. While I may still be a horrible dancer, an awful singer, and terribly unfunny, I have never felt so sure of who I am and confident in my decisions.