Chris Thompson reports from India

Before I came to India, the only expectations I had was that I was only going to eat spicy food and I wasn’t going to witness anything that reminded me of home. My two expectations were completely wrong. The first meal I had when I landed was a Subway Veggie Delight without a hint of spiciness! After that I didn’t decide to expect the unexpected, but to absorb everything like a sponge. Although I experienced something familiar, I noticed many subtle differences between India and America within my first few minutes of stepping out of the airport. I was amazed that I was in a car with a steering wheel on the right side, that most people wear sandals, and motorcycles dominate the streets just as much as cars! Even the breakfast surprised me. I didn’t think I’d ever eat toast and Nutella while I’m here. Yet, I ate toast and Nutella! It’s also difficult for me to be homesick because the top fifty songs in America are always being played here! I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve heard “Girls Like You” being played in cars and by students.

I knew that other exchange students would be here at the Doon School, yet I didn’t see any until my first week in and so I felt like the new kid on the block. I could feel a sense of loneliness, but that feeling quickly disappeared once I started interacting with everybody. I felt welcomed when students, teachers and administrators introduced themselves, smiled and helped me out with anything I needed. I still ask for help from my fellow classmates. I’ve only been here for about two weeks and I’m a bit surprised that I’m so comfortable with everybody. I shouldn’t be, though. One of my best experiences is just talking to people. I’ve stayed up multiple nights talking for hours with other students and I do not regret it when I wake up extra tired in the morning. Everything I commit myself to at this school is fulfilling and it’s all thanks to my friends who push me to forward.

One of the best experiences I have had is when I took a trip to various tourist attractions. The Taj Mahal being the best one. I’ve always wanted to go as a kid and when I finally arrived, I was not displeased. I was amazed by the architecture and design of not just the Taj Mahal, but all the tombs and temples that surround it. It helped that I experienced the religious sites with exchanges that had never been to India. There was an overall vibe filled to the brim with amazement and wonder. I even enjoyed the fourteen-hour drive to get there.

I have about a week and a few days left, so I’m going to make the most out of it.