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How I found myself while volunteering abroad in India

Updated on October 27, 2015

When India became my home

Before I went to Nashik, I had this fixed idea in my mind about how the city must be like, the kind of idea that you get from surfing the internet for two minutes so that you can say that you know something about the place that you are going to visit. To me, Nashik was a small city, which had its set of traditions and beliefs. I didn’t expect much from Nashik. I had already made up my mind about it before I even set a foot in it. I think that is what I appreciate the most about my experience in Nashik, the realization that someone could be so wrong about something for Nashik was anything but ordinary. Nashik was a turning point in my life.

On top of Anjaneri mountain

Food And Volunteer Work

When we first arrived in Nashik, I was amazed by the number of the locals who came to pick us up from the bus station. There were 4 locals waiting to accompany us to the accommodation and to help us with carrying the luggage. After getting settled they took us to a place where we had authentic Indian food for dinner. Food is another thing in India as a whole and not only Nashik. If you ever make it to India you must try butter chicken, it’s a creamy buttery chicken dish that you could eat with butter Naan, bread that is drenched with butter. Also, I would recommend you to eat Chicken Biryani if you’re a big fan of rice in general, and don’t worry the Indian spices will make it worthwhile even if you’re not a rice person.

On the second day, we went to the animal shelter to take part in the process and witness the dedication and the devotion of the volunteers towards those animals firsthand. The place was divided into different sections where they made sure that each animal had its own place because some of the diseases were contagious. The time and the effort that those volunteers were making were indescribable. I don’t think that I have ever seen anyone give so much to the community without expecting anything in return.

Awaahs India Ngo

Anjaneri Mountain, and trekking

One of the most significant experiences I had in my time there was when the locals took us on a trekking trip to Anjaneri Mountain. I’ll admit I never really had a trekking experience before going on that adventure even though, at the time, I really thought that I did. Our journey to Anjaneri was the most fun day I think I’ve ever had in any country even though I have been to a lot. The journey itself was exhilarating it took us about 3 hours to reach the top of the mountain and during the trip I’ve seen some pretty amazing things, things you literally only see in movies. During our hike we passed by monkeys who would come and snatch the food from your hand if you had any, they actually advised us not to eat on the way up or hold any kind of plastic bags, I’ve seen a herd of kettle going up the stairs with us, they actually hiked the same trip and it was exhilarating to see how those animals were capable of doing it, I could swear I felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest at some points, but yea I probably was the one who wasn’t really fit to go through the journey, One of the most significant things about Anjaneri is its backwaters I had never imagined how it could look like. It was my first time. We were standing on the edge of the mountain and the water was actually falling back at us against the gravitational force. It was crazy but it was beautiful!

Anjaneri or shall I say on top of the world?

Without the members of AIESEC in Nashik, the whole experience would’ve never been the same. It was only because of them that, I believe, we all had the time of our lives. The thing about the AIESECers in Nashik is that they were always available even when they were not needed. I remember a thousand times and a thousand situations where we would have never survived without them. I remember them staying in the streets after their own curfew just to make sure that we would get home safely even though it was no longer their responsibility. I remember them taking us on different adventures every day. They really pushed us to the breaking point sometimes, but it was good. I personally learned a lot from them. They made me eager to join AIESEC in my own country. I went to Nashik with a fear of heights, but with their continuous support and help, I’m going back to my hometown with less fear and more courage to face whatever life throws in my face.

I’ll never forget a single day I spent in Nashik. I’ll never forget a single person or a single moment. On our last day I remember one of the members saying something that really got to me, he said that at the end of the whole experience, we will remember the moments and not the people, but I believe that he was wrong, because to some people Nashik was an experience, but to me Nashik became home. I realized at the end of this trip that I might have actually been born in the wrong country and that is what I will always cherish the most about this city and those people.

The Family I made abroad


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    • Nour Younis profile image

      Nour Younis 22 months ago from Cairo, Egypt

      Hi Sam, yes trust me Nashik would do that to you :)

    • profile image

      Zeina 22 months ago

      Can't wait for your next experience.. Keep us updated

    • profile image

      Sam 22 months ago

      It's strnage how someone could become so hooked with such a small city!