Thursday, December 29, 2011

India: "Organized Chaos"

Sam covered Day 1 and our travels to India in great detail. The most panic was in the Minneapolis airport at the check in counter when they said we needed to change flights because of the weather. This then made us worried that we would miss our other two connection flights; however, we made it! Lufthansa flights are much nicer than United Airlines. We were taken much better care of on those flights. They gave us hot towels for our faces and two meals plus a snack on our flights, which were around 6 hours. I definitely recommend Lufthansa over any US airline.

After the chaos Sam described at the Delhi airport, we went through the exit doors of the airport to enter a fog filled foreign country. Horns honking, men in turbans, people shouting in a different language, guys staring, and symbols on street signs that none of us can understand…at that point we asked each other, “What are we getting ourselves into?” We still are not quite sure the answer to that question, but we do know that it is an experience of a lifetime and already have memories we will never forget.

The time change is 11 ½ hours and difficult to get used to, but we managed a whole day in Delhi on less than 5 hours of sleep. As Sam said, Aditya met up with us earlier to show us the M-Block Market. He was very helpful also in showing us how to cross the street in Delhi and survive. “I refer to the traffic here as ‘organized chaos.’ You just have to look for the biggest gap between cars and hold out your hand so they stop,” he said. His tactics worked and “organized chaos” is the best way to describe such a scene. You really have to witness it to understand completely.

Tomorrow we travel to Varanasi. Many more adventures to come we are sure. We are looking forward to the next few weeks!  

Until next time,

First Day In Delhi


My name is Samantha Faber and I am the third person to be blogging.  I am a fifth year senior accounting major.  When I came across the India study abroad program through school I was immediately interested.  I studied abroad for a semester in Greece and loved being able to explore a different culture.  With India being a Winterm program I knew I would be able to do the program and still graduate on time.  I applied for the program last spring and was accepted.  Prior to leaving I was feeling excited and nervous.  India is a country that many would say is outside their comfort zone but I loved the idea of experiencing such a diverse and unique culture.  

Although our official university program is not started yet, I figured I'd post about our travels over to India.  A group of 7 of us decided to venture to India early so we could visit the city of Varanasi.  We all planned to leave on December 27th from Minneapolis together.  Our flight went from Minneapolis-Newark-Frankfurt-Delhi.  When we arrived we were informed of a storm that had hit the east coast so our first flight was delayed.  This caused our group to be split up in order to get us to our remaining connections on time. With the way it ended up Abby and I had to completely change our flight and go to DC and then Frankfurt where we met up with the rest of the group.  Everything was a bit chaotic because we were cutting our connections close but we were able to make every plane and the whole group was back together in Frankfurt.  The flights were about 2.5 hours, 7 hours, and 6.5 hours long.  The two longer flights had movies to watch and food to eat.  

We arrived in Delhi at about 1:30am.  We then proceeded to immigration for which we had filled out forms on the airplane and had our passports stamped.  After that we went to baggage claim.  Everyone's bags were there except Abby and I.  Although it was upsetting that our bags were not there, the airline helped us fill out forms and said they should be delivered to us the next day.  We both packed extra clothes and any other necessary items so we were both able to have enough for today.  The other's in the group were also helpful because we didn't have some items.  We were then brought to our hotel last night and finally got to bed around 4am.

Today we all woke up for breakfast where there was a variety of interesting food items including baked beans, pineapple, watermelon juice, french toast (nothing like at home), and there was an omelet bar.  Although a wide variety of items, all the food was good and no one got sick.  After breakfast we all got ready and met up with Aditya, a student from SRCC that is in charge of our program.  He took us to the M-block market where some of us got sim cards for our phones.  We then walked around and looked at all the different shops stopping in a few.  After walking around we went to a restaurant where we ate a family style lunch.  The food was SOOO good!

This evening we all plan on having dinner together at the hotel and then tomorrow morning we will be leaving the hotel at 6:30am to catch our flight to Varanasi.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Pre-Adventure Preparation


My name is Heidi Ender.  I am the single graduate student traveling to India for winterim.  I heard about this opportunity through the College of Business in early fall semester 2011.  The opportunity seemed too awesome to not take advantage of it.  During my undergrad years I never had the opportunity to study abroad, so I decided to seize the moment!

Since Ashley covered a lot about the how's and why's of studying abroad in India, I figured I should give a little run-down on what we have done so far to prepare for our trip.

Our group was first introduced to each other at the university study abroad orientation session on October 1, 2011.  On that date we scheduled our next five meetings by looking at everyone's work and school schedules to try to find the best fit everybody's calendar.  The orientation session was very interesting and FULL of beneficial information.  It not only introduced us to the program, but also gave us a brief overview of what we could expect out of the India Winterim program.

Our first individual group meeting occurred on October 13.  We had some assigned readings prior to this meeting that involved the history of India.  We discussed the readings and also were introduced to some simple Hindi phrases to learn.  Again, another information-filled meeting!

The next time our group met was on October 18th.  At this meeting we presented topics to the rest of the class that ranged from the monetary system and consumerism in India to the transportation system and business services sector.  It was interesting to not only learn about India, but get to know our fellow travelers through their presentations.  We again practiced our Hindi language.

November 2nd was our next meeting.  Dr. Yelkur brought her daughter Natasha with her to help us struggle through our Hindi memorization.  What an exceptional child she is...and her Hindi pronounciation humbled us.  The night ended with a screening of the Bollywood movie "Jab We Met" which was a romantic movie filled with music and dance numbers.  We even got to enjoy popcorn during the movie.

My favorite meeting was on December 2nd.  We met at Dr. Yelkur's home and were treated to an authentic Indian dinner.  Her husband is an excellent chef!  We had our oral Hindi exam, and then dined on the most wonderful food.  The night wrapped up with a discussion of what and how to pack for our upcoming trip, and then a little fun watching Indian music videos.

Our last meeting took place December 15th with a short meeting about last-minute arrangements that included turning in our final paperwork/passport photos to receive internet access on campus in India, and also discussion of dorm room and hotel room arrangements.

We are about a week away from departure and I can hardly wait!  I am not only excited to see India and absorb the culture, but also anxious to meet my Indian buddies.  I have purchased some gifts to present to them to share my American culture with them.

Please pray for our group as we enter into an amazing life-changing experience and for our safe return home to our families.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A 3-week Program in Delhi, India...Why not?

When asked the question, "Why India?" I replied with, "Well, why not India? Who wouldn't want the opportunity to travel to a foreign country to escape the coldest month in Wisconsin?"

About Me

My name is Ashley Moore and I am a business administration and Spanish for business professions double major with a minor in international business. I studied abroad once in Valladolid, Spain where I had the opportunity to travel Europe and learn about different cultures and ways of life.

In order to complete my international business minor, I need "international business experience." I looked for internships abroad; however, most were unpaid and I really couldn't afford that plus being gone for another semester. One day I received an email about a new winterim study abroad program. I was eager to find out more information about the program and what I would get out of it.

Within a week, I had applied to the program but had to wait a month to find out whether I was accepted. In April I was accepted and time has been flying by ever since. Now I have less than ten days before I leave the United States to start this three-week journey in India.

From this experience, I hope to gain an understanding of the culture, life style, and norms of India. I expect to gain knowledge of India's society and build a connection with people of a different culture. India will change my life and help me prepare for my future by enriching the skills I need and providing me with a learning experience that I will never forget.

About the Program

The Delhi, India Winterim Program is a brand new program that has 12 lucky students to be the first ones to experience it. Those students are Abby Eddy, Heidi Ender, Sam Faber, Joe Freund, Kindra Kressin, Dustin Mitchell, Alex Molter, Ashley Moore, Emily Norgaard, Sara Palmer, Valentina Rangel, and Felicity Yuchen‎.

The program officially begins on January 2 at the Shri Ram College of Commerce. We will be staying in the University Guest House which will be dorm-like, with two people per room. Throughout the program, we will each be paired with two Indian buddies who will help get us accustomed to the Indian culture and show us a little bit of their lifestyle.

During the two weekends of our program, we will travel and sight see Delhi and surrounding cities. The first weekend, we will travel to Agra and Jaipur to complete India's "Golden Triangle" (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur). We don't know many details yet, but we were told we get to ride elephants! The second weekend, we will stay in Delhi and sight see.

On the final day of the program we will each, in groups with our Indian buddies, give a presentation on various topics we learned about India. Our final day in India is January 17.

About this Blog

Throughout our travels in India, three of us are required to blog about our experiences. We have been given some specific topics to discuss, but also plan to post about our individual adventures and experiences. The purpose of this blog is to inform readers, including prospective study abroad students, about this program and experiences to look forward to.

I look forward to blogging about India and hope everyone enjoys reading about our experiences.

-Ashley Moore, Business Administration and Spanish for Business Major