Justin Castro, 2nd Year BS Business Economics student from the University of the Philippines Diliman, spent more than a month interning in Delhi, India. On his internship, he worked for The Earth Saviours Foundation. Read on his Indian adventure as it widens his views and perceptions on India and other countries as well.
Justin took the adventure in India! Where do you want to take yours? Sign-up for exchange now and have the adventure of your life! http://tinyurl.com/aiesecupd
It’s been 2 weeks since I left India. I’ve adjusted so fast it seems like I never left Manila. Everything I’ve experienced-the bumpy rickshaw rides, the flavorful food, the dry wisps of air on my face, hearing familiar voices uttering an unfamiliar language, and especially the unique blend of flowery scents- it all feel so fresh in my mind, as if I just left yesterday. It’s so strange how these small things can change a person. I and many of my fellow EPs found ourselves quite different from the way we were when we first entered India.
I just came to India thinking it was an “exotic” place and quite frankly that makes up 80% of the reason why I went there in the first place. But I got so much more than that. The people, in many ways, were completely different, and the culture was just shocking. Imagine looking at a pure white wall for a whole day and then suddenly it changes color to Shocking Pink. That’s only 1% of the actual feeling you get when all the little things turn out to be arranged differently. These things got me to learn to adjust to new things, especially when everything was new, from the way people get around to the way people use the English language. It truly is fascinating and after that whirlwind experience you come out of it not just with an open mind, but an enlightened one.
My encounter with the Indian people, although my Indian friends would want to distinguish themselves as “North Indian”, was full of laughter and especially endearment. I think no other word can describe how I felt with my co-workers in my NGO and all the other people I’ve met, from waiters, guards, the cashier at the convenience store, the helpful passengers who helped me buy another train ticket when i missed my train in Agra, to my roommate’s students in Spanish class.
Living in a flat with 7 other people from different continents and meeting other people from other flats brought heightened my experience. I was literally living in a microcosm of the world. We all had differences so we needed to adjust to each other. We had different schedules and different budgets so we had to decide on something that’s just right for everyone. This was only a part of the learning experience. The real learning happened when we just sat around the table at home. Here all the culture trivia and foreign vocab was thrown around back and forth, one question leading to another, then we’d talk about issues in ethics like whether or not it’s okay to steal chairs our neighbors aren’t using (francisco’s predicament) to views on whether it’s a fair to pay a rickshaw driver so little for so much work (Alex’s predicament). These talks which I’d have everyday with my roommates (especially with Francisco and Alex) stretched my mind and my horizon of thinking and perspective of things. It’s the part of my experience I cherish the most, not just cause of the learning but also cause of the laughs. It’s fascinating how people so different and so far apart can share a laugh out of something. I guess it just means that our countries, and we citizens of the world, aren’t as far apart as we think. We’re very much like each other… We just have different views, which is our most basic difference (besides fashion).
An experience like India is something that can’t be missed. It’s a road that’s quite bumpy but nevertheless the sights and sounds you see and hear on the sides, the people you’re with AND the friends you will make along the way (EP’s and Indians) make the journey worthwhile and amazing. Who knows, maybe you’ll have a truly indian experience like being invited to a traditional wedding (like me hehe and like my Chinese and Japanese friends who actually got to go)