This may not be my first trip to India, but both anxiety and excitement rush over me just thinking about the wonderful journey ahead. The Summer in South Asia Fellowship offers me a unique opportunity to independently engross myself in Indian culture and observe and partake in research from a different point of view. Despite having visited family in India a couple times before, I never had the opportunity to actually engage in the community the way I hope to this summer. What will it be like living on my own in a huge city like Bangalore and in a foreign country? How is the research environment different in India? It is questions like this that I hope to answer during my time there and on this blog, and that is why I applied to the fellowship. When I heard the news that I was selected, I was ecstatic! Not only would I be able to search for answers to those questions, but I would get to do so along with many others. In Bangalore, I will be working with inStem, a state-of-the-art research institute dedicated to the study of stem cell and regenerative biology. The research I will be aiding in involves understanding how certain genetic mutations, relatively pervasive in the south Indian population, effect the proper functioning of cardiomyocytes, muscle cells that compose heart tissue. I will be staying on the campus of the National Centre for Biological Sciences, so I may even have the opportunity to explore student life in India! With that, I better end this blog post and get back to packing--my flight leaves in exactly 12 hours!