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Why India?

by Gianelle Alba

Namaste All!

I am currently studying in India for the next four months.

I am frequently asked by both Indians and friends and family back home: Why India?

Well, why not?

When I was first researching different programs, I had a check list in the back of my mind of what I was looking for. My check list happened to be very short as I was very open-minded:

  • First, I wanted to go to a country that was not in Europe.
  • Second, I wanted to study in a country that was completely different from the U.S.: economically, socially, culturally, spiritually and especially the linguistically.
  • Third, I wanted to go to a country that would test my limits; I wanted to see how “adjustable” I was.
  • Fourth, and the most influential of them all, I had always dreamed of visiting India.

I have been in India for a month and a few weeks now. The first week consisted of going on the Golden Triangle Tour, which meant super nice hotels, tour guides, and warm showers. We felt like complete tourists. We traveled from Delhi to Agra to Jaipur and back to Delhi to fly to Hyderabad. We did an extensive tour of sightseeing in very hot temperatures! We were bombarded by vendors trying to sell us cheap souvenirs, stares of curiosity and families asking to take pictures with us (apparently Americans are extremely fascinating). There wasn’t much of a culture shock except maybe the stares, but I had to constantly remind myself that I am the one who was different, not them. So the stares, although a bit invasive, became a part of the norm for a foreigner. After a week of visiting forts, palaces and of course, the Taj Mahal, I was excited to get out of the comfort of a hotel and personal bus, and to the city of Hyderabad that awaited me.

The most memorable part of the tour was the Taj Mahal, my first rickshaw ride and the Palace of Mirrors. To sum up my introduction to India, it was breathtaking. There aren’t any words that can properly describe India and its unique culture. India as a country, it’s architecture, it’s food, music and people are absolutely fascinating. Just walking or being driven in India is an experience in itself!

By the end of the first week, I concluded that India was both chaotic and surprisingly peaceful. It is captivating in the best, and sometimes the worst, way possible.

This is the AIFS group: Students from other Universities in the U.S. From Left to Rights: Mr. Sigh our guide, Raj (Hawaii), Maddie (North Carolina), Me, Radhika (Ohio), Liz (D.C.), Bettina (Texas), Trevor (Maryland) and Alex who is taking the picture (Texas).

This is the AIFS group: Students from other Universities in the U.S. From Left to Rights: Mr. Sigh our guide, Raj (Hawaii), Maddie (North Carolina), Me, Radhika (Ohio), Liz (D.C.), Bettina (Texas), Trevor (Maryland) and Alex who is taking the picture (Texas).

Young boys selling souvenirs. This young boy in particular stole my heart with his personality. Mostly, he was curious about what it was like to be from America. He held my hand for most of the time, saying, “Be careful, Madam” whenever I needed to watch my step.

Young boys selling souvenirs. This young boy in particular stole my heart with his personality. Mostly, he was curious about what it was like to be from America. He held my hand for most of the time, saying, “Be careful, Madam” whenever I needed to watch my step.

cobra-dance

Cobra dancing out of a basket? I think I will keep my distance.

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First Rickshaw ride (cycle) through the allies of Dehli, filled with small gold and silver shops, fabric shops spice markets .

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The Qutub Minar, tallest stone tower in India

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Lotus Temple

Humayun’s Tomb is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun

Humayun’s Tomb is the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun

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Beautiful Garden at Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun’s Tomb

Gate to the Taj Mahal

Gate to the Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal ! It was 116 degrees with 80 % humidity that day but look at the beauty behind me!

Taj Mahal ! It was 116 degrees with 80 % humidity that day but look at the beauty behind me!

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Elephant Ride !

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palace-of-mirrors-2

Palace of Mirrors

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Windy palace

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Stay tuned for more!

 

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