Hi, I’m a rising senior and I’m pursuing my major in Advertising from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. What brings me to Yale? Well, St. Xavier’s has a tie-up with Yale which sees two of its students study for a summer at this prestigious Ivy League institution, every year. I, for my part, was simply fortunate that I was selected to be one of the two. Picking my courses for the summer at Yale was an arduous task. The choices you’re presented with are just so many! After considerable deliberation, my final choices were:
(1) Contemporary Visual Culture in the Americas
It’s my first time to the United States of America and ten years since I last ventured out of India. Was I excited? You bet I was! Not just excited but also anxious in equal measure. My calm and subdued exterior, as I prepared for Yale, surprised me greatly for otherwise I’m known to give the Duracell Energizer bunny a run for his money! Before I knew it, it was time to bid adieu to friends and family. What I’d waited for, for the longest time was only some hours away. Or so I thought.
I finally reached New York after what seemed like almost a day. Nineteen hours, to be precise. I was on a Mumbai-Kuwait-JFK flight as it was a more economical option. However, I didn’t anticipate having to deal with a delayed flight and long immigration queues. It was ten years, you know. Anyway, after having completed all my formalities, I left JFK with a fellow-student from St. Xavier’s for Yale. Airport shuttles are expensive. So, we quickly hopped on to a bus that would take us to Grand Central from where we’d take the metro to New Haven after which we would take a cab to finally reach Yale.
Whoa! All this after traveling for nineteen hours to save a couple of bucks? “Sure! It’ll be an adventure,” we convinced ourselves. In hindsight, we should have probably taken the shuttle for we ultimately reached Yale at 10 at night, long past check-in hours. Now what? Head to a hotel and empty our pockets? Luckily, we had a cab driver who helped us find a budget hotel. And to our luck, we found a hotel that was owned by Indians who on seeing us, guests from their homeland, offered us a discount of 5 bucks. Score!
So, um, when did we reach Yale? The day our classes began, our first morning in the country when the Gods decided to rain in our parade! In the rain, armed with all our bags and baggage, we headed from West Haven to downtown New Haven. Getting information on the bus and route took a rather long phone call with a bus company employee, for we weren’t too sure of our street address! Ha! Anyway, we were soon on the bus where, (no surprises?) we didn’t have change. We did however have incredibly sweet co-passengers who were only too happy to help us tender exact change. The bus driver was kind enough to inform us that the Yale Shuttle ahead of our bus would take us right where we needed to go. He even honked incessantly to get the other driver’s attention so that she wouldn’t drive off before we boarded with our bags. Luckily, the Yale Shuttle did wait and finally, yes finally, we were on our last means of transport before we would reach Yale.
Why have I rattled on so much about my journey to Yale? Well, had we opted for the Airport Shuttle, things would have been more convenient. But in not doing so, and putting ourselves out of our comfort zone in an alien country, I think we did end up having quite the adventure. Running in the rain with bags, figuring out transport routes, coming up instantly with Plan Bs, wow! We even joked how we could soon become the go-to people for any of our friends who planned a trip to States! Had things been convenient and cushy like we’re otherwise used to, I don’t think we would have had as memorable an experience as we had on our first day! In less than a week, I’ve met some amazing people from all over the world. I’ve had fantastic classes that were so enriching, in the first week itself! I find myself settled and not wanting to head back home. Such a charming and beautiful place, would you really blame me?
This summer, in merely being here away from home and all things that are familiar, I’ve signed up for an adventure. No doubt it has its risks but like my professor, Dr. Enriqué Tamés put it, “If not now, when else would you take risks?”
Summer Student ‘13