One Summer, Nine Countries

Monday, December 5, 2011 - 11:36am

Charu Sharma ’14 had a whirlwind summer—traveling to nine countries for three different field studies and internships—and she’s nowhere near slowing down this fall.

“I wanted to make the most of my summer break, explore various careers, and meet people around the world,” she says.

The Mount Holyoke sophomore’s summer started off May 20 aboard a ship: Semester at Sea’s “Engineering for a New Tomorrow” voyage. For three weeks, Sharma traveled to seven countries in the Caribbean studying engineering and working with the audio-visual-tech department on the ship.

Following that, she used her connections at the Times of India to set up an internship in her native Mumbai. As a “journalism trainee,” she covered press conferences, wrote stories, conducted interviews, and published several articles about politics, healthcare, education, and crime, among other topics.

After writing for the paper for three weeks, Sharma headed south to Australia to spend a month researching tropical rain forests, at the School for Field Studies, affiliated with Boston University. She studied botany, zoology, and social sciences.

“From conducting hands-on field research in five different kinds of forests, to studying human impact on the rain forest, to immersing ourselves in the local neighborhood and visiting cities, we did it all,” says Sharma.

All of these experiences, she says, were important to her; as an undecided first-year, she wanted to learn about as many careers as she could.

“I am fortunate to have access to fantastic resources, and I try to make the most of the opportunities I have,” she says. She’s grateful for the opportunities she’s had at Mount Holyoke, which have included being active in student organizations, traveling to conferences, and interning with an advisor to the president of the nation of Georgia during January term.

Sharma is currently studying at the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program in Connecticut through the Twelve-College Exchange Program. As a marine geosciences research assistant, she is conducting research on rocks obtained from the earth’s crust by an international drilling project. She is also the student blogger for the semester.

“Being a travel buff, I try to optimize the number of places I can explore and the people I can meet and make connections with,” Sharma says. “With every person I get to know, I get a step closer to understanding myself and what I want to achieve in life. I am fascinated by people and their stories.”