The Himalayas fulfilled all of my expectations and more.
I applied for study abroad because I knew that I wanted to spend my last summer of undergrad doing something that I would never get another opportunity to do. India is one thing, because I’m pretty confident that I will be going back to India someday. But as I stood there on the last day of the trek, I felt sad because it may have been my last time in the Himalayas, and I would be amazed if I wind up backpacking through there again. Thank you, Himalayas, for the views and the people and the birds and the trees and everything in between.
I feel that I grew personally through recognizing my own self awareness and by seeing my resiliency. I am proud of my effort and hard work on the trek, and am also proud of my ability to understand a foreign culture. Academically I am happy with my newfound understanding of leadership, both in theoretical terms and in a more applicable sense. Professionally, I feel confident using what I have learned in a professional setting, and after going through that trek, no interview can intimidate me!
Through this experience I gained wilderness first aid skills. While these skills do not apply to my academic or professional life directly, they apply to my personal life. Through my studies and own experiences, I am finding that the human body is a topic I am not so comfortable with but will never be able to avoid. Being exposed to wilderness first aid gives me confidence in my ability to deal with it moving forward.
I learned that I prefer authentic leadership style and now have a deep understanding of what that means. I plan on being intentional about practicing authentic leadership in my work this summer. For example, today I met the state representative I am working for this summer. Rather than being super professional, I decided to treat him like any other person, joking around and making casual conversation. I could tell he was receptive to that, which makes sense because an unusually professional demeanor from a college student would not have come across as authentic.
Furthermore, I plan on using my Strengthfinders strengths in my own life. After this trip I now understand that the strengths from the test are not necessarily things I am already good at, but rather, things I have a natural affinity for. I must continue to improve these strengths and maximize their potential. For example, I can maximize my adaptability strength by continuing to put myself in positions and give myself experiences that expand my comfort zone. I can confidently say that this trip as a whole improved my adaptability skills.
Prior to traveling to India, I was sure that I would have a hard time acclimatizing and getting used to the food. I was not particularly worried about understanding the culture because I have prior travel experience. In the end, my stomach held up great with the food and acclimatization, and understanding the culture was not too hard but was harder than I thought it would be. The main unexpected part was dealing with a physical injury rather than an illness in India. I guess this means that I should know to expect the unexpected, and I also should applaud myself on preventing my stomach from going bad.
It is nice to be home, but I do miss the thrill of India. I can’t wait to go back!