Meet Helen – JSIS India

About me:   Hi everyone! I’m Helen Elizabeth Olsen and I am a junior at the UW studying Geography and Public Health. I’m a Seattle girl, born and raised, and I am a bit in shock that I’ll be spending the next three months of my life traveling around parts of South Asia.

Where in the world you are off to:  This summer, I’ll be traveling in Northern India and Nepal. First, my friend Katherine and I will be journeying to Dharamshala, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile, before returning to Delhi to begin the two month long JSIS Environment and Development in the Indian Himalaya study abroad program. Our program is located in Uttarakhand, a province in the north of India that borders China and Nepal, and takes place in a rather remote, rural setting. Once the program ends in mid-August, my friend Jess and I will be heading to Kathmandu, Nepal to sightsee and do a little bit of trekking for three weeks before heading home to Seattle!

Why you chose this place:   I’ve never been to India before and I really, really wanted to go! I also wanted to have the ability to engage in independent travel both before and after any program that I chose. The JSIS program really seemed to be a good fit for my personal desire to travel in India and my academic interests in Geography, Health, Development and the Environment. I especially liked the self-designed internship component of our study abroad program! Hands-on learning is the best way to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and interact with the world around you.

What you are most excited about:   This one is easy to answer, the FOOD!!! Followed, of course, by the mountains and the temples and all of the amazing people I know that I am going to meet along the way.

What you hope readers gain from following your posts: Traveling this summer, I am going to be learning a lot. Not only about India and the people I meet there but also about myself and how I think about the world. This blog is going to be my attempt to synthesize what I’m seeing, hearing,, smelling, tasting and feeling. It will most certainly be messy at times but it will also be real. You, readers, will be learning right along with me during the next three months.