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Photo by Catherine Von Holt, Nepal Semester.

Introduction/Response

Hi everyone, my name is Will, and I’m from Brooklyn, NY. I will be going to Middlebury College starting in February, most likely to study math. I enjoy playing soccer and skiing, and I love taking hikes. The component of the course I’m most excited for is the trekking, especially because the Himalayas are a place I’ve always been fascinated in. I’m also super excited for the Tihar and Diwali festivals. I chose this course because I likely would not otherwise get a chance to visit Nepal, and because the culture of the area is one that I want to learn about. Looking forward to meeting you all!

 

“For what we all too often ignore when we go abroad is that we are objects of scrutiny as much as the people we scrutinize, and we are being consumed by the cultures we consume, as much on the road as when we are at home. At the very least, we are objects of speculation (and even desire) who can seem as exotic to the people around us as they do to us.”

This quote stands out to me because it is something I have never given much thought, but when I think back to all of the traveling I have done, I realize that it is shockingly true. I have always thought of travel as being a learning experience for the traveler, but I now realize that for everything the traveler learns about where they are, the natives of that place learn almost just as much about the traveler and where they are from. Living in New York City, I see people who are not from New York all the time, and it is always interesting to see how people make sense of and interact with a city that is so familiar to me. This quote also made me realize that one frequently becomes a traveler in their own hometown. Although Iyer’s quote is about when we go abroad, there are many areas of New York that I am not at all familiar with. When I go to some of these places, although it is likely not obvious that I am not from the area, I still feel the same sensations of terror and wonder that Iyer associates with a good trip.