In several articles I have read that a semester abroad is recommendable to qualify well for the job market. When I heard of the possibility to do such an exchange I was grateful to have the opportunity to study one term in India. Lots of students go abroad to Great Britain, USA or Australia for one term but I think that a successfully passed term in a booming country like India is more valuable than in other countries.
From 9th January till June 2011 I was studying Printing and Media Technology at Manipal University in India. Excited and with a lot of expectations and rather little knowledge about India I travelled from the -10 degree cold Germany to the +30 degree warm India. Beside the tremendous climate change and the much higher humidity, there were some more things I had to adapt to. Examples are the necessity of speaking English, the different hygiene factors and that in India there are 6 working and university days.
My fellow students introduced me kindly in their class and I made a lot of new friendships, which will hopefully persist my whole lifetime. Also my teachers helped me in each subject in which I had doubts or trouble.
On the campus of Manipal University there are various possibilities to spend the spare time, like playing cricket, football or volleyball. A very exciting event was the Cricket World Championship which India has won. Another very interesting holiday was “Holi”, a festival which was celebrated on 19th March 2011 and means “Festival of Colors”. People are throwing powdered colors at each other, dance and have fun. That was terrific. The university provides also cultural events like the “Revels”, where students have the possibility to show their talents.
Manipal itself, which is located 8 km from the coast of the Arabian Sea, is a relatively calm place with 15 000 inhabitants. All things you have to buy are available at this place and if not, the more animate city Udupi is only 15 min away by bus.
During my time in Manipal I had challenging studies. We had six courses, 12 sessional exams, more than 10 assignments, six final exams, two labs with final exams and one seminar with a final presentation. It was very hard to handle all this work. But when my last exam was written on 28th May I was relieved and confident that I have passed all subjects.
Every Sunday and after the term had ended, there was time to do short trips to various sites. Only a few kilometers from Manipal there are the Hanumana Gundi Waterfalls which are 22 meters high and at the borders of the “Western Ghats”. From this place it is not far to take a look at Kudremukh with its beautiful tea plantations. Other very beautiful and lovely places are “Malpe Beach” and “Kapu Beach” which are very close to Manipal and good places to have a sunbath and a cooling swim in the Arabian Sea.
A very nice trip we’ve done was a trip to Delhi. We travelled 2600 km and it took 41 hours until we reached the capital of India. The comfort in Indian trains is not that good but we survived the long and comparable cheap journey by train. After visiting the sights of Delhi we went to Amritsar, a city in the Indian state of Punjab and spiritual center of the Sikh religion. There we visited the golden temple and moved further to Wagah Border where a military ceremony takes place which I wanted to see once in my lifetime. I watched it before on television but to be there was a unique experience.
India is said to be the country of polarities. I am very proud that I had the possibility to experience these polarities in all manners. I am very thankful that I could learn so much about India in all its faces. The exchange enriched my knowledge about Indian culture, religion and their way of life and I found new many friends, which I will hopefully have for my whole life.
This is a Guest post by Martin Brückner, Master student of Print and Media Technology at Chemnitz University and exchange student at Manipal University, Manipal, India from 09.01.2011 till 07.07.2011