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A woman sitting in a chair at Hawa Mahal (Palace of Wind) in Jaipur, India. Photo by Eliana Rothwell (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest Finalist).

Ziv Batscha – Introduction

Hey everyone! Ziv Batscha here, from southern California. My family just moved back to Simi Valley where I spent a majority of my earlier years. I spent my high school years living in Encino (a small neighborhood in Los Angeles). The San Fernando Valley is my home: great friends; hiking trails with beautiful views of the California coast, downtown LA and surrounding mountain ranges; a short drive to the many awesome beaches of Malibu and Santa Monica; incredible global cuisine (I am especially a fan of the Middle Eastern and Mexican offerings); and only a few hours drive to beautiful national parks and forests.

I take every opportunity I can to enjoy the outdoors: camping and rock climbing in Joshua Tree, backpacking in the John Muir Wilderness, snowshoeing in the San Jacinto Mountains, or hiking the hills of southern California with friends and family, for a refreshing pause in a busy week. I have always loved designing and building things, from model rockets and a simple hovercraft to a 9ft-long wind tunnel for testing winglet devices. I am fascinated with biology research, which I have pursued through lab work in craniofacial development and immuno-oncology. I enjoy running, surfing (just started learning), listening to music, eating delicious foods, and coming up with random, fun adventures with my friends (like reverse trick-or-treating, or driving to Las Vegas for the night). The past few years, I have also volunteered teaching Hebrew to 4th grade students at a local temple, packing and delivering food orders at food banks, and more recently, as backstage crew for my high school’s rendition of Les Mis. I hope to teach English and STEM topics as part of my service work in India.

Every engagement opportunity sounds awesome; I am particularly interested in learning how to cook traditional Indian dishes, practicing yoga, joining a cricket league, and learning to play the sitar. I am very interested in learning the history of India, from ancient empires and the birth of great religions through independence and partition, and up to today’s political landscape.

In preparation for our journey, I stumbled upon an interesting series called India’s Frontier Railways, which documents three Raj-era railway lines connecting India to neighboring Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh, and the lives of the peoples that take them.

I look forward to meeting you all, and embarking on this journey together.

Ziv Batscha