What we brought back: Veronica Murashige

Crowded bazaars and some bizarre encounters with monkeys color one student's study abroad experience
Souvenirs from India UChicago study abroad
Photo by: 
Michael Zhao, Visual Media Editor, Class of 2016

Our "What we brought back" series will look at different students and the mementos they keep as reminders of the people, places, and experiences from their study abroad programs all over the world.

Name: Veronica Murashige

Class of: 2016

Major: Environmental Studies

Location: Pune, India

Program: South Asian Civilizations

Best part of your trip in five words: Hot summer days in autumn

It’s hard enough to make your way around India on your own. The bustling city streets can be overwhelming for anybody; however what made Murashige’s time in India difficult wasn’t trying to avoid the large crowds of people, but the ferocious monkeys.

No matter where she travelled in India—whether it was Aurangabad, Mumbai, or Mysore—monkeys seemed to follow. On almost every single excursion, one of these primates would charge at her or one of her classmates to take food, trinkets, or any item that caught its eye. One of them even stole her TA’s water bottle. These comical interactions were only one part of Murashige’s time abroad. During the rest of her time there, she learned everything from the proper way to navigate India’s outdoor markets, to where to find the best tea in the country.  

What she brought back:

mysore soap sandalwood study abroad India

Fragrant sandalwood soap from a hotel in Mysore that was formerly a palace. Both the smell and the bright, vintage design attracted Murashige to the soap. “Mysore was my favorite place to stay, and [the city] is known for its silk and sandalwood,” she says. “So, I actually just stole it from the hotel. It perfumes my room now.”

fennel seeds india UChicago study abroad

Sugar coated fennel seeds from an outdoor market in Delhi. Although the market was probably one of the most overcrowded places Murashige visited, she immediately spotted these fennel seeds at one of the booths. Over the course of her trip, she grew somewhat obsessed with these seeds, which are traditionally eaten after a meal to aid digestion.

chai tea new delhi india

Chai tea mix from a hip part of New Delhi that primarily attracted young college students looking for a place to hang out. Murashige specifically wanted to bring home some chai tea after she and her fellow students would drink it and eat biscuits between classes every single day. “I eventually got used to always drinking chai that I would order it after a meal no matter where I was,” she said.

scarf india study abroad UChicago

A beautiful patterned scarf in a small town in Darjeeling. During the program’s weeklong break, she and some of her friends decided to hike through the Himalayas and visit Darjeeling, which is located in the mountain’s foothills. A young girl and her mother approached her, trying to sell her the scarf. Murashige calls it her “one impulse buy.” She simply had to have the scarf: “I was attracted to it like a moth to a flame.”

Tagged: What They Brought Back From Abroad