I’m finally back in the United States, and I feel like I have changed. I look at things a little bit differently and appreciate the things I have a lot more. India is a beautiful country. The people, the culture and everything about it was new and exciting, and I tried to soak it all in.
But after a month of being there, I was ready to come back. I had seen enough of the pollution and poverty to have a newly found appreciation for Montana, my home. The clean air and clean streets of Montana are something I cherish.
It was almost like a dream to see a country so different from the one I grew up in. It was eye opening. When people say you better eat all of your food because there is some starving kid in the developing world that would be grateful for it, I can now put a face to that. I have seen the starving kids and the pain of less fortunate people in India. I have been to the slums and seen the environmental degradation of over population.
But along with all the bad, I have seen the beauty of the Indian culture. They are passionate and they have so many interesting things that we can learn from them.
My favorite part of the experience was going to the tiger reserve by Moharli. I felt that it was the place where we got to experience the Indian culture the most. We were immersed in an Indian village for a week and I wouldn’t give that experience up for anything. The other reason that the tiger reserve was my favorite experience is because it was the most positive environmental thing I saw. The Indian government is really devoted to protecting the tigers and doesn’t sacrifice the tiger’s well-being for tourism dollars and I was happy to see some positive environmental decisions amongst so many environmental issues.
On the last day we went to Mumbai and it was so polluted and there were so many people. It seems unreal and unlike anything in America. When you dropped into the city it was instantly polluted and stuffy. I think that the rapid increase in population across India has made it impossible for the country to keep up with infrastructure and the pollution and that’s why the country is in the state it is. There are groups throughout India who are aware of these problems and are trying to fix them, but gaining traction in the country has proven to be an issue.
Overall, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to study abroad and I think it’s something that every student should do.
Here are the links to the two stories that I contributed to while in India. One is the story the whole group contributed to about the tiger reserve, and the other is the story I worked on with Alexander Deedy about the clean water access in the slums of Pune.