Friday, July 17, 2015

What will Manipal be like?

My thoughts this week turn to what my surroundings at Manipal University will be like. I have heard that Manipal has a very young population because the university is what the town centers around, and then as you go outside the city, rural India begins to take shape, which I have heard is completely different than the university setting! I know there are quite a few international students there also, which is great because I will not only get a feeling for Indian culture, but will most likely experience cultures all over the world! I also know Manipal is famous for its health sciences program, and I am quite excited to experience a top-notch Indian university and the differences between their educational system and the United States' way of doing things; I am sure there will be many similarities too. The next thing I feel like I have to do is research some sites around Manipal and the surrounding southern region that I really want to experience and see. While there will be some long weekends for trips and other guided tours of certain areas, I am sure I will find times and places where my friends and I will want to travel elsewhere...overall, I am just getting so excited!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Hello, World

Hello everyone and welcome to "Live, from India!" This is my first blog post and I am SO excited to document my travels not only in my brain, but also on the web so I can share my experiences with those who want to know about them. To get to know the format of the blog, see the lower right corner where it says "How to Navigate this Blog" (the music component is still being worked on at the moment). Please check out the links I have posted so far in addition to answering the poll! Technicalities aside, I am ecstatic to say that I will be traveling to Manipal, India or four months starting in August. This opportunity came to me when I was admitted to a three-year public health program at my school, American University. I have so many things I want to say right now about going abroad, but I think this first post should be about how I got here. First off, I would never be the person I am without the constant love and support from my parents (and my brother I guess). Not only are they basically the best people on Earth for enabling me to pursue my dreams, but also because they have fostered in me a national and international passion for traveling. The second thing that I think got me here was the hard work I put in getting accepted into the three-year public health cohort and receiving scholarship. I also took a risk immediately declaring myself a public health major! I knew what public health was before coming to AU (American University), and I never imagined I would love it this much now. I have such a deep appreciation for the field now then when I got to school and I only hope that it will grow even stronger through my experience abroad. My interest actually sparked when I was in AP biology during my senior year of high school and I saw a video about "disease detectives" (epidemiologists) tracking down "case zero" of the then-unknown ebola virus. We had to stop the documentary early, but I was so anxious and fascinated to know what happened that I watched the rest of the video as soon as I got home. After that and studying here for the last year, it is my dream to work as a global-focused epidemiologist (or disease ecologist) with an emphasis in emerging, novel, and endemic infectious diseases. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) would be ideal I think! I have other interests that I have pursued, such as healthcare access in the immigrant-Latino community. Going back to infectious disease, I believe that to study infectious diseases, we not only need to consider science, but also n the social side, such as health behavior, socioeconomic status, and access to proper services. All in all, I am in love with the health philosophy that is public health and as far as I can tell, want to dedicate my life to serving for the health of the public. SO, how does India fit in? I am hoping India provides me many opportunities to learn, become more open, and become more humbled! I hope that by living in another culture I can begin to understand how some more of my fellow human beings live, and albeit quite differently than here in the U.S.(certainly not bad of course). I hope that through taking public health electives abroad, I gain a more holistic understanding of public health in general and determine if global health is something I want to incorporate into my (hopeful) future career. I also hope that the directed research class I am taking will help me to understand how "field work" operates and if that would be something I'd like to pursue further as well. There are many more things I hope to learn (and will certainly post about), but the last big point I want to hit with this post is that I also want to just have fun and immerse myself with my friends into Indian culture! I am so excited to learn about local and national customs, eat new food, and learn about the political and historical situation of another country. I am betting that I will pick up some Hindi and Kannada phrases too :) Thank you! (Please share your thoughts with me at