A semester abroad, especially in a developing country like India, is a unique opportunity to emerge professionally as well as personally. Personally, it appeared to be a great challenge for me. A different culture and a foreign language are only two examples. Nevertheless, I wanted to bear this challenge and get to know about life in India, the culture and how I can handle daily life in a foreign country. Furthermore, I saw it as a great chance to improve my language skills.
Just before the first semester was finished, in the end of January 2010, I and six other German students went to Manipal. It is a small University-town in the south of India near to Mangalore, located in the federal state Karnataka.
When we arrived, the semester had already started. The schedule was tough and every lecturer wanted to offer something special, no matter if it was a guest lecturer, a project with Manipal Press or a visit of a very old papermill, everything was very interesting. The lecturers were very concerned about us and our language skills and always offered their help. Our course consisted of only a few students. This made it easy to get to know each other and to get used to the different organization of the daily routine of an Indian University. One of the major differences are the classes on Saturdays and the duration of one class, which is only one hour. Furthermore, it is common to have short exams during the semester. These are called ‘Sessionals’. In addition assignments had to be prepared. At the end of the semester the final exams took place.
All of us were accommodated in student hostels, girls and boys separately. Our room was in Block XII, a tiny, but tidy room with two beds, two desks, two chairs and a washbowl. It had an attached bathroom and an AC. Washing machines and a recreation room were also available.
Soon, we explored the campus and everything around. Many sport facilities, like the swimming pool or the badminton court, are provided on the campus. We also made use of the several canteens, like the MIT food court or the MIT cafeteria. In addition, outside the campus plentiful restaurants can be found. The menus contain nearly everything from Indian food, Chinese Food and all kind of fast food. Around Manipal are some beautiful places. After class or Sundays we visited places, like Manipal Lake, the Swarna river or End Point.
The periods of the semester in Germany and in India do not match. The semester at Manipal University already ends by the end of May. We took the chance to travel around India and visited as many places as we could by train, bus or cab.
In summary, it was an awesome time in India. I experienced the Indians as very friendly, helpful and hospitable people. Furthermore, I learned a lot about the Indian life and culture. It was very interesting to take part in the student life and it definitely helped me to improve my language skills.
This is a guest post by Katherina Hasse. From February 2010 until May 2010 she was studying at the Manipal University in Manipal/India, as part of the double degree master program between Chemnitz University of Technology and Manipal University.