The experiences we have had so far have been phenomenal. It is only the second full day here in Bengaluru, India and it seems like we have been here a week. This morning, we were fortunate enough to receive another great welcoming with traditional singing and dancing done by the Christ University students themselves. The lighting of the lamp ceremony was only the start of one of the greatest learning opportunities that I have had abroad so far.
Afterwards, I was thrilled to watch the Christ Students present to us and teach us about India’s history, economy, social trends, and everything in between. However, most of my energy was focused on the presentations of the ideas and products that the students have either already executed on or plan to do so in the future. I was astonished by how much I learned and I plan to do more research on the topics of block chain technology, artificial intelligence, and smart cities. I was worried that sustainability was going to be absent in a lot of our talks, but the students found a way to relate all of their ideas to saving the world, the environment, and the underprivileged citizens of their country. The Centre for Social Action and Food Vision was one of the most interesting organizations that we have seen yet. In only 19 years, they have impacted so many people and expanded to a plethora of areas in India.
With all of these great experiences in mind, nothing topped the day off better than the great performances of Bollywood and traditional dances that we were able to witness. The hospitality, dedication, and attention being put in to this experience by not just our faculty, but the students and faculty of Christ University is truly heart-warming.”
Going into Christ University I had this mentality that these students were going to be much different than me. After I got to know each and every one of them, I noticed that we have more in common than I ever could have thought. This day blew me out of the water and I think that we have a ton of things to learn from the Christ students. On this day, they presented to us the history and culture of India, their predictions of India’s future, and what can be done to better their nation. I found that the information they presented to be extremely fascinating. However, I took much more away from these presentations than just the information on the slides. The students were so prepared for this, I’ve never seen such young talented people execute so well in my life. They knew exactly what they were going to say when they were going to say it, they didn’t stutter, and not a single person had notecards or looked at the powerpoint for help. In this moment I realized I need to do better. It’s so common for me in my own classes to not even practice my presentation before going up in front of my class and just “winging it”. Watching them be so prepared made the entire process so much more entertaining to watch. The students were also so passionate and humble. They are so driven to do whatever needs to be done to influence and benefit India in the future.
It’s very clear that it is “WE” and not “I” for them. If something went wrong in their presentations, whether it be the laptop dying or the video not playing, they had multiple people jump up to help without any hesitation. My heart was also very full to see how proud and passionate Suniti Phadke (the dean) was for her students and their accomplishments. I’ve had professors who do that and it feels amazing when a faculty member will go that extra mile for you.
We also got a campus tour of their eco-friendly initiatives on campus. My favorite was how they recycled paper and made it into other usable things like notebooks, binders, and paper. This is something they do directly on campus and make it extremely affordable to give back. It’s impressive and it makes me wonder why WMU can’t be doing some of these things to save and reuse.