Monday, April 6, 2015

Incredible India



Wow! Incredible India. I've only been here for two months and already I've explored, learned and seen more than I would in a whole year. It's incredible to be apart of such a different study abroad program. We have normal classes but have also spent a substantial amount of time outside the classroom traveling and visiting schools, NGO's and other organizations.

We are 21 students who are based out of Jaipur, Rajasthan where we all live with host families. The program is, "India: Sustainable Development and Social Change." Most of the days start with Hindi class and then we have lectures by different activists and professors who come from all different parts of India. The semester has been filled with many different activities and there is not much time to process all the things we learn and experience.

We have been completely immersed into Indian culture and now speak survival Hindi, cross the trafficked roads confidently, bargain with rickshaw drivers and shop keepers, love Indian foods and chay (tea), love Indian clothing (especially sarees), know that patience is our best friend and learned things that have changed our perspectives on everything from education to the caste system to climate change and social change.

As we have enjoyed many parts of India and this incredible program it has been a roller coaster of an experience. This place is definitely not for everyone and if you want your world perspective rocked up side down then India is the perfect place to come. This place will teach you to not take yourself too seriously (and not anything else for that matter), go with the flow, have patience, be positive and work with each situation as best as possible.

I find that the combination of classroom lectures and real world experience is the best combination and gives for a so much more holistic and valuable learning experience. To read more about this program click here. 

 Here's some pictures of our time in India so far.

First school day greeted with Indian lays

Fort over looking Jaipur city

In conversation with village girls in Bikaner

Visiting a village in Bikaner

Taj Mahal, Agra

TajYoga

So majestic.

Indian style toilet. Here they don't use toilet paper, they use water to clean themselves. Which is actually better then using toilet paper. By the way, our group got over being shy about poop, diarrhea and vomiting the first week because the transition to all the new bacterias can be rough on your health and many of us got sick.

We love henna tattoos!

India's most popular sport is cricket. So we tried to play some in a beautiful area outside the busy city.



There is trash everywhere and it seems to be linked with the mindset of people here. Their cleanliness stops at their home. Outside the home most people don' care and will throw their garbage wherever without even giving it a second thought. To see men urinating up against walls in public areas is also a common sight.

Jaipur

Urmul Trust Girls School

Celebrating Holi!

Indian brides are so beautiful! My host mom runs a beauty parlor so I get to see the brides getting ready.
My host brother, myself and my host sister before an Indian wedding.

Indian weddings are huge with thousands of people attending. You can see the bride and groom on the right. Arranged marriage is the most common form of marriage here.


Wedding

Daily Hindi quizzes and homework.
On your birthday you get a cake and some of it smirred in your face. An Indian tradition which means the people around you give you lots of love and good blessings. 

Rickshaws is our main way of getting around in the city.

Jaipur




Delicious


At a refugee camp in Jodhpur.


Indian train ride

Varanasi, oldest city in the world.

A typical street.
Ganga River

Ganga River

Sunrise at the Ganga River



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