Alumni Spotlight: Sasha Chauhan

Sasha is a mental health support worker back in the UK but a conversationalist, educator and building renovator volunteer around the world. Her favourite dance move is the running man which she insists on teaching everyone that she meets. Her ambition is to learn and experience as many different cultures as she can and meet more awesome people all around the world.

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Why did you pick this program?

My dad is Indian and therefore so is half of my greater family. It has always been in my mind that one day I would visit India in order to truly see the country and learn more about the culture and people.

Being a care worker, I love to dedicate my time to being around other people and helping as much as I can. I feel I am a very responsible person but will always be a child at heart and so working with children to nourish young minds is something that has always had a big space in my heart.

When I saw the programs at ISPiiCE I instantly knew that would be the place for me. In the middle of the mountains in Northern India, a secluded area with real families, I felt that my time there was precious for me but also for the people around me.

I taught at an after-school English class for kids ranging from about 6 - 16 years old; I also worked at a kindergarten with children aged from 3 - 8; and finally I helped renovate a new nursery.

I loved every minute of my time there and believe it was one of the most significant moments in my life.

What is the most important thing you learned abroad?

That sometimes it's the most simple things in life that make us the happiest and we should try our best everyday to remind ourselves and others of that.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

Just do it!!! It will be the most amazing experience that you will ever have in your life and you will cherish it forever.

Sometimes it's scary to experience life in a different way to what you're used to, but when you start to embrace all ways of life, you become a more open minded person and will appreciate life in a new and amazing way.

What was hardest part about going abroad?

Knowing that your having such an amazing time whilst your family and friends are back at home and missing you greatly.

I will always miss my family and friends every time that I go away but I know that experiencing the world is something that I want to do and it's not always possible to take everybody with you.

But staying in touch with people no matter how little or often it is, and meeting new people along the way is something that kept me strong all the time I was away.

What made this trip meaningful to you, or how did this trip change your perceptions, future path?

Where I live in the UK, life is driven by money. What you have, what you want, how can you get more?

In India (Himachel Pradesh) priorities are different. Life is about family, friends the community. A lot of people had nothing and yet they would give you their last meal if you needed it.

People are generous, kind and enjoy to help one another. Living within this community and seeing how these people dealt with and cherished their lives everyday, gave me a new outlook in my life.

It made me start to think, what is really important to me? It's not shoes and handbags I'll tell you that.