About the author

The author outside his home, May 2010 Hello everyone. I’m Chris Yoder.

I’ve lived most of my life in Champaign, Illinois,  USA. To get to my high school, I had to go 3.2 kilometers. To get to Chicago, I had to go 200. To get to the ocean, I had to go 500. For 11 months, I lived in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. A new home 13,090 kilometers – or 8,134 miles – from my first.

Thanks to Rotary International, District 6490, and the Rotary Club of Mahomet, I spent the 2010-11 year as part of their exchange program, converting kilometers into miles, and miles back into kilometers.

After being born in Chicago as my mom’s first and only child, I moved to Champaign before I was old enough to walk. As I grew from a toddler into a teenager, I was surrounded by my family – grandparents, aunts, cousins and their kids alike. I attended elementary school at a variety of places, including the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in Chicago, and Eagle Elementary School in Zionsville, Indiana near Indianapolis.

Before going to India, I’d never been to a country in Asia. In fact, I was supposed to go to Japan twice on class trips, but the first time I broke my arm and had surgery a few days before I was supposed to go, and the second trip was canceled because of worries about swine flu. I have been to France, Switzerland, Barbados, Canada, England and Germany (although the latter two were only plane layovers in London and Frankfurt). I’ve also been to 25 of the 50 states in the U.S.

I spent the last five years of my schooling at University Laboratory High School in Urbana, graduating in May 2010. “Uni”, as it is known, ranks among the best high schools in the country. With just over 300 students spread over five grades, it is one of the most intimate, enriching environments you’ll find at any American high school. It is located on the campus of the University of Illinois, one of the top colleges in the United States and the world. Among my favorite classes at Uni were Modern History, U.S. History, Anthropology, Nonfiction Writing, Creative Writing, and Journalism. Each of those classes, in fact, were integral to my exchange and this blog.

I spent my first 17 years or so doing a variety of things – playing baseball – a sport similar to cricket, rooting for the Chicago Cubs, writing for the school newspaper, acting in school plays, playing tennis, riding my bicycle, listening to music, making friends, and living (or at least doing my best to live) life with a smile on my face.

Then I went to India.

I am now a student at the University of California at Berkeley.



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