Harvard Experience by Hitesh Arora

It was my privilege to get selected for Semester Abroad Program for Harvard Medical School. It was a highly rewarding experience, a life time opportunity that metamorphosed my life in a proficient way. I along with my other SAP colleagues landed in Boston on 25 August 2011, a sensation inexpressible and unimaginable, I never thought my upcoming six months would be so prolific. We had rented an apartment and stayed just opposite the Atlantic Ocean beaches. With my fellow mates it was a home away from home.

My first day to Harvard Medical School labs was stunning and completely sublime. The labs were highly equipped and well resourced. There I worked under Venkata S.Sabbisetti, Instructor of Medicine and Craig Brooks, Research Fellow on “Kidney injury molecule-1 Study of its splice variants and To study the process of repair of damaged segment of the nephron by removal of apoptotic cells and necrotic debris.” My supervisor was extremely benevolent, altruistic and helped me nurture new techniques and skills. This was a fantastic experience, as I got an extensive training in lab practices and also a working knowledge on how mainstream research is carried out.

Away from lab I attended lectures and seminars of noble laureates and tried to imbibe their ambience to become a novel researcher. I also attended Harvard’s 375 th anniversary, a grand celebration in itself, that brought together laureates, researchers from all academic fields from different parts on the world united under one banner. I also had the opportunity to communicate and make friends with people from vast cultural diversities from Russia, Germany, Japan, Australia. I got to learn various new skills to carry out research, shared ideas, also learnt about their religion and customs.

Apart from experimenting in lab, I also learnt experimenting in kitchen. I tried making quite a number of dishes and to my surprise was successful in making them to an extent that they can be served and even taught to people from other nationalities. The temperature in Boston, was highly unpredictable, which I learnt on my arrival itself, as I was welcomed by a hurricane named Irene. With temperature dropping as low as -16 degrees and with roads covered with snow, was in itself a fabulous experience. Watching the weather taking turns and twists was a real treat to eyes as a new turns showed a new variety of natural surroundings.

Celebrating Indian festivals in United States with both Indians and Americans was also a new experience. Visiting temples in Boston on Indian festivals shows with what enthusiasm are Indian festivals celebrated even outside the country and the religious ethnicity is still intact.

Thus, The Semester Abroad Program was in itself a new learning experience of life time. It taught me what professionalism is all what, how exactly research is done in mainstream. It helped me learn novel skills and techniques to carry out research in more organised way. 

Thus I thank Dr. Parani for giving me such a wonderful opportunity of life time that not only helped me shape my professional front but also personal flair. I also thank all my teachers of Department of Genetic Engineering of SRM University who helped me thoughout my M.Tech program, I am highly glad for all their encouragement and support. I would also thank the International Relation office for all their help and for organising such a wonder exchange program that helps students so magnificently. I am also thank full to my parents who helped and guided me at every step and also my friends who accompanied me to Harvard without whom this entire experience would have been dim. 

Hitesh Arora
M.Tech Final Year
Dept. of Genetic Engineering
SRM University