This trip has felt very different from my previous trips to India that I have been on. For the first time, I was going alone. The thought of going alone at first kind of scared me because I’m used to being with my family, which didn’t come with too much responsibility. When I’m with my family, I never had a lot of responsibility because I was always they youngest child and no one trusted me. And when we go to India, we end up doing a lot of community work with other organizations.
What I have experienced over the past couple of days were very different from when I got to India with my family. This time, I got to be on my own. Like I said earlier, I was kind of scared to come, for various different reasons responsibilities being one of them. While on the trip, I’ve learned that being by myself is more interesting, and also more stressful because I felt more alone. When I was with my friends I was joking about how I don’t feel like we’re in India. Then I was thinking why this was and I didn’t understand why.
Now that I was talking with Riya, we figured out that it might not feel like India, because we only remember an India with our parents or relatives. This changed my whole perspective of what India is to me. Because when I’m with my family, it felt like a home. But when I’m not with them, I feel more curious about various things that I wouldn’t be when being with my family. I feel like there has always been the type of India with family so it was hard to be adventurous and see different sites because it would always be family oriented. This trip I’m really liking the fact that we are actually learning about what we are seeing it would always have us in it because I wouldn’t see this specific artifacts value. But now I can connect to the artifacts with symbols, cultures, and religions.
One thing that I think is really special about our group is that we have become a really close family. It’s obviously true that when you stay with people for a long time you end up getting close to them. With this group it only took a few minutes for us all to gel! One of my favorite parts of this trip so far was the first day, in the morning particularly. In the morning we went down for breakfast and there were a bunch of people. My first reaction was overwhelming, but once we started to eat, we got to know each other. They gave us some good advice about the trip. They were scaring us when they were talking about how it will be tiring and very hot. But in all seriousness, it was nice to see that they were extremely happy and fortunate that they got to go on this trip. It was also very interesting to talk to many different people who we’re from all over the world and that had different religions.
PJ is one of 8 students in Indiaspora’s inaugural HeritageINDIA Program. A unique, immersive, 3-week summer program, this initiative gives high school students of Indian descent the opportunity to connect to their ancestral homeland. Students experience and engage with India’s rich and diverse cultural history by completing hands-on projects, participating in stimulating discussions, and building friendships with a cohort that will share in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. With the exciting theme of India’s Riches: History, Culture, Diversity, & Democracy, students visit three areas of India that are geographically and culturally diverse, yet all very much represent India: New Delhi, Gujarat, and Kerala.