In coming overseas and taking the (long) flight to India, we leave material items, intangible relationships and assumptions behind. Not only have I left my family: my dad, mom, brother, dogs and house, but I left my home behind. To me, my home is the intangible embodiment of my family’s togetherness; a place of supportive attitudes and loving care contained within my household. Away from home, I leave behind the constant encouragement and support of my family, I am required to act independently. Although I won’t miss the occasional bickering, leaving home can always present a bit of a challenge, especially when I haven’t seen my family for most of the year.
Coming overseas also requires a change in my thought processes, in mindset; I need to leave behind some of my regular assumptions and affiliations. Part of an international mindset constitutes leaving behind the parts of us that are only relevant to certain local communities. As we discussed within some of our Niswarth meetings, we are no longer framed by our Andover identities when in India. It isn’t relevant than I am a three year upper in Stearns house, an identifier which means very little to those outside the Andover community. In traveling to India, I am also required to become more accepting of different cultures than I have to be at home. Although India is not an unfamiliar setting for me, daily life in Ahmedabad will undoubtedly break my San Francisco routine, yet another part of my life I’m leaving behind in the US. In addition to my routine, I also need to leave behind my idea of how I am perceived. At home, I am exactly that, not out of the ordinary (for the most part). Overseas, I am both a visitor and a constant representative of the school, a mental shift which is represent by both my actions and by my clothing and other visual elements.