INDIA ABROAD March 17, 2017 24 CAMPUS AFFAIRS
agar Chordia, a part-
time master’s student
in computer science at
says he first fell in love
with nature after he
went on a 25-day-long hiking
trip to the Himalayas in India. So
when he came to the US he start-
ed seeking a like-minded group
and was lucky to find not just
one but many.
Chordia, a product of IIT,
Mumbai, said that coming from a
cosmopolitan place in India it
used to be hard to get out to
enjoy nature there. However, it
was far easier to go on a hiking
trip here, he said.
Chordia has been to Half Dome
in Yosemite National Park, in
California; Mount Shasta, in the
Shasta-Trinity National Forest
and one of the highest peaks in
northern California; and to
Mount Whitney in Sequoia
National Park, also in California,
in to name a few.
“Here everything is clean. There
is no pollution but there is amazing scenery. That I really like
about California,” said Chordia
who came to the US in 2013, and
who also works at Facebook.
Sharing more about his passion
for hiking, he pointed out that
Stanford University offers recreational activities, hiking being
one of them.
Stanford recreational center
offers equipment for hiking at a
very low cost.
“It made it easier to go on big
hikes. You need a lot of expensive equipment,” he said.
Asked if he had undergone any
training before hitting the trail,
he said there was none othern
than perhaps a 25-day mountaineering course he had done in
“The Himalayas were much
more difficult than the hikes I
have been doing here,” Chordia
said, adding that the main difference was the resources available.
“Here you get a lot more information and a lot more resources
than in India,” he said, citing the
ability to download maps and
other information and to rent
Sam Cannon, an outdoor center
coordinator at Stanford
University Recreation Center,
told India Abroad recently that
he has seen many such people
being drawn to hiking.
“We have a number of Indian
students who go on trips and
rent our equipment. Stanford
offers credit course every quarter,” he said.
However, Rick Curtis, the direc-
tor of the Outdoor Action
Program at Princeton University
in New Jersey told India Abroad,
for the past 43 years all interna-
tional students joining as a
freshmen have been taken on a
five-day hiking trip as a part of a
10-day orientation program.
“The goal for them is to meet
new students and to learn about
the university,” he said.
He said the number of
International student participation has increased.
“I can’t give the exact number of
Indian students but yes, after
five days, we see many Indian
students interested and wanting
to become leaders,” he said,
dents got no
its for it, the
tive to them.
to all the students who partici-
pated in the trip and provides
170 hours of training, involving
about a week on campus learn-
ing different skills and six days
Shivam Agarwal, who is earning
his master’s degree in computer
science from Princeton
University told India Abroad,
“Those who belong here generally are very much into hiking, and
we went with them. That turned
out pretty good. I don’t go every
week, but I go often.”
“We go on our own and both
with university students as
well,” Agarwal said, adding that
while he was into sports back in
India hiking was not his thing
Agarwal, who like Chordia is
also from IIT, Mumbai, said he
played basketball and tennis in
“There are a lot of things that
are different here, mainly the
academic culture,” he said.
“The major difference is that
there I was undergrad student;
here I am a grad student and
you cannot compare the difference in lifestyles. Generally,
graduate’s studies are much
more hectic,” Agarwal said,
adding that, to date, he has
hiked in Yosemite National
Park, around Grand Canyon and
Redwood National Park.
the goal for
them is to
to learn about
Shivam Agarwal of Princeton
University (in green top) with his
hiking team at Angel's Landing
in Zion National Park, Utah.
Sagar Chordia, of Stanford
University, left, in black top with
hiking team in Muir Woods
National Monument in California.
Indian students in elite
universities take a breather