India has a way of drawing you back for a second visit. Or, in the case of Semester at Sea, seventy two visits. India appeared on the very first itinerary in 1963 and has been a favorite of students ever since. The 108th voyage is currently in Kochi this week, experiencing cities and villages, busy markets and yoga retreats, cooking classes and concerts. For most of the students, India is a totally new experience that they may have only witnessed in a¬†Bollywood¬†film, but for one student it‚Äôs a homecoming.
Cibisudhan Eroderavichandran is one of the hundreds of students studying this semester on-board the MV Explorer. Much like many of the American students, Cibi had never left his home country before boarding the ship in Nassau and, like most American students, he‚Äôs been waiting for an opportunity to join Semester at Sea. In fact, he first learned of the program as teenager when Semester at Sea visited his 8th grade classroom in Erode, India.
The city of Erode has graciously hosted SAS students for years, and participants are continuing the tradition of visiting Cibi‚Äôs hometown this week, including his old residential school where he first met SAS students several years ago. This year’s 3-day itinerary starts with an overnight train ride to the rural community where students will learn about farming firsthand in the rice paddies and coconut groves of east India. Cibi, however, won‚Äôt be joining the Semester at Sea visit this time. Instead, he‚Äôll be busy taking another group of 30 students to visit his family in Erode, then heading back to the ship for his own set of field programs.
Cibi is just as eager as his new classmates to visit India this week. ‚ÄúTraveling with students around the world is a different kind of exposure you can‚Äôt get anywhere other than Semester at Sea,‚Äù he mentioned, ‚Äúbut I want Indian food. And I want to see my mother.‚Äù
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