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Hi everyone!
I’m Ruthie, 18 years old from New York City and I’m really looking forward to our time together. From afar, India seems like such a complex place so I’m feeling lucky we have a full 3 months to immerse ourselves. I’m most looking forward to the comparative religion side of things, I’ve been interested in Buddhism for a few years now and I’m excited about expanding my knowledge on Hinduism too. At home, I’m definitely passionate about the natural world, from ecology to divestment and escaping society for the wilderness is easily one of my favorite things. I’m a sucker for Portlandia, The Office, a good book, Anderson .Paak, and halloumi cheese. Can’t wait to see ya tomorrow! Wild.

I found that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk rang true in more ways than one. It is definitely reckless to have these generalized, preconceived notions about a place as large and complex as India, but also unavoidable. It’s also important to notice where these ideas are coming from and who is perpetuating them. More often than not it’s the media, reporting on eye-catching news from any given place but if you choose to forgo that and focus on stories being told from citizens, not reporters one would hopefully find a more well-rounded view of a culture and country. With the advent of an increasingly global technology, hopefully authentic stories are being brought to the centerfold now more than ever.

Secondly, I also made the connection of the notion of a single story and having one idea that is not representative of the whole to meeting people. When encountering new people, it is easy to define them by a single characteristic, interaction, or feeling that was evoked as a result of your time spent with them, either positive or negative. While that’s completely normal and extinctive, we should try to be aware of those biases and especially if they are unfavorable, continue connecting with those people (just like the country) without writing them off.