One suitcase, three months, three countries
My name is Nitin Natrajan. I'm a junior at Skidmore from the sunny island nation of Singapore.
But I'm writing to you from the beautiful city of Barcelona, where I'm studying abroad with the School for International Training (SIT) in a program titled “Cities in the 21st Century: People, Planning and Politics.”
The three-month, multicountry program is about seeing how different cities around the world work, how the people in them live, and how urban social justice comes to life in different cultures.
In the middle of January, I traveled to New York City for a two-week orientation. Then I was off to my first destination, a month in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Now I’m in Barcelona, Spain, and soon I’ll be in Cape Town, South Africa.
The experience so far has been an absolute dream, but that doesn’t mean it has been easy.
There have been long days, stressful travel and challenging assignments on top of adjusting to multiple new cultures at a time (not to mention time zones).
I'm doing it alongside 29 others. Like a family, we're experiencing this crazy journey together. The others have been an invaluable support system, making all this change infinitely more comfortable.
To truly appreciate my experience, you must know that I'm a passionate photographer and an even bigger foodie. At each stop, we have the luxury of staying in someone’s home, which means home-cooked meals by locals who love to share their culture.
In Sao Paulo, I sampled all kinds of food from different people and vendors in the public markets.
Fun fact: Sao Paulo has the largest Japanese population outside of Japan, thus some truly incredible Japanese cuisine.
I've only just begun my food-touring of Spain, but if my first tastes are symbolic of what’s to come, it’s going to be life-changing.
Thanks to this opportunity, I have met some of the most incredible people — my peers, my host families, and the many passionate locals we’re learning from.
We all live on the same planet, yet view the world from so many beautiful perspectives.
Each person I meet inspires me to reflect upon the opportunities I have and make the most out of each moment.
To follow me on my journey across three very different cities in three very different countries, check out my blog for Skidmore’s Off-Campus and Study and Exchanges Program.