"This is hardly the first time I've packed a suitcase for India. I know exactly what kinds of light, airy clothes to bring, how much sunscreen I will need, and even the correct adapters for Indian plug-points. While I am bracing myself for the unbearable heat, constant car-honking, and vibrancy of India, stepping out of the airport and into Mumbai will be more familiar than foreign for me. And yet, I know that even the countless summer months I've spent with my family in India can't prepare me for our Niswarth trip. What I am most excited about is rediscovering a country that I love so much. By learning about India through a completely different lens and with completely different people around me- I will undoubtedly be exposed to new perspectives that will help more fully define "India" in my mind. I can't wait to get to know the other students and faculty members attending Niswarth, and I am sure that the reflective conversations we will have will enrich the service we plan to do there. I am looking forward to living with a host family, meeting students at the American School of Bombay, and hearing from numerous leaders in the field of education. While I have engaged in community service before and traveled to India before, I have never been lucky enough to complement the former with the latter- and for that unique opportunity I am extremely grateful.
The only item left on my packing list is an artifact from the US that I can share with students in India; I have a couple of things in mind but haven't been able to decide on one thing that represents me as an American student. Hopefully I decide upon something soon, considering that we have about 24 hours before we'll all be gathering at the Logan airport...Mumbai, here we come!"