During the exchange semester offered by our home university in Jönköping/Sweden we had Asia in mind from the start. It differs a lot from our home countries and has a great variety of cultural aspects to offer – and so, India here we come!
And here we are: Jenny – German, 26 years old, studies International Management, most prejudice thought about India: That there would be cows everywhere! (And it is true!) – and Robert – Swedish, 31 years old and studies Logistics & Supply Chain Management, most prejudice thought about India: That all food would be made with Curry! (Not so true.J)
As a Western European citizen one may have a certain, prejudiced picture of India and to be honest, so did we before we came here. We imagined India as a country characterized by an unconceivable mass of people, unbearable noises and smells, poverty, the people´s strong commitment to religion, yoga, guru’s and, not to forget, the omnipresence of cows.
Since early June we are enjoying our time at IIM Bangalore, but of course we flee the scene as often as we can to explore the country itself with its many different facets, with one clear lesson: Many things are similar, but also oh so different. For instance, the amount of people – you are never alone!; queues – there are none!; traffic rules – there are none except one: hoooonk!; food – spicy three times per day!; noise level – deafening!; waste attitude – throw it wherever!; cows – they are everywhere and you better move!; religion – shrines, temples, mosques and churches in every corner!; and rickshaw drivers – let’s call them opportunists, but other words come to mind J. Many of our expectations regarding India were true but we have also learned that the country consists of so much more. For instance, what we really like is the vibrant explosion of all colours one can imagine be it clothes, houses or on the markets.
Unfortunately, time is passing by so quickly and our semester abroad is almost over. We will remember India for all the great and helpful people we have met, especially in school (At that point: thanks guys for everything!), for all the breath-taking places and nature we have seen as well as for the very diverse and good food. But, we will also remember the grievances we have seen outside campus and we truly hope that India can step up towards a brighter future for its people and the country. India is truly and absolutely incredible. There is a saying that goes: “There’s the world, and then there is India”. Our stay in India was definitely an experience we do not want to give away.