Carolina Contreras, January 22nd, 2017
I am so happy I got to go on the India Study Abroad trip! I had so much fun alongside 21 other great students and the wonderful Dr. Gaspar! I learned so much about the different cultures, languages, and lifestyles throughout India.
We started off in the capital of India, New Delhi. It was a beautiful city in which we got to visit Jama Masjid, Humayun’s Tomb, drive by the India Gate and the Lotus Temple. One of the most interesting things to me though was the consistent smog that covered the sky. As New Delhi is one of the top three most populated cities in the world, this could be expected but it was definitely eye-opening to not be able to see the sun clearly throughout those few days. We drove to Agra the next day and visited the mesmerizing Taj Mahal. That was one of the most amazing things to see and a great thing to check off my bucket list.
Mysore was the next city we visited and it had to be my favorite city by far. Although the drive there was a little long, it let us see their town even better. Leaving such a huge city, it was so nice to see the more rural side of India. There were palm trees everyone (yes palm trees), colorful homes, students walking home from school, and mom and pop stores all around. It was a great place to shop, get henna, and some of the boys even got custom suits made. Many called it the “sleepy town” as almost everything closed at around 9 at night, which may be another reason I loved it so much.
Throughout our time we got to visit a lot of businesses in India. We visited the American Center, Hero Motorcycle company, Infosys, Otis Elevator Company, Akshaya Patra, and UNIBIC, India’s largest cookie providers. Although I loved all of the corporate visits we had, Akshaya Patra was by far my favorite. They are a non-profit organization that help feed low income students at local schools around India. They taught us about their mission, goals, and how they run their business. Afterwards we got to be hands on and help feed the students. Those kids are filled with so much love and interest that it was great to have the chance of talking and hanging out with them.
There are a million other things I could talk about that I loved from this trip. Experiencing a completely new country with 21 initial strangers who I’m now great friends with. The long bus rides traveling all around India that let you talk endlessly with everyone on the bus. The amount of times that we played Mafia, Heads Up, or literally just Heads Up 7Up on the bus. Freaking out by the crazy ways that they drive, don’t use lanes, motorcycles cut 18-wheelers off, and drivers almost running us over every single day. Going to café’s and having a million photos of y’all show up on their Facebook page. Going to buffet restaurants and being baffled by the 40 items that come with it. Also, being baffled that the most ordinary looking things on the menu are actually the spiciest! All of this and so much more! If someone is questioning on going to India, do it!!! It was absolutely an amazing experience!