Where do I begin! I could go on and on about advice to give to future students, but I'll leave you with four things:
- 1) Try everything! By this I mean from the activities you do to the food you eat. At first glance, Indian food can look a bit weird or even disgusting. Trust me, give it a chance. In the case you eat something too spicy, eat some rice curd afterwards. Rice curd is the neutralizer after eating all the masala (spice) filled food. Also on some days if you are not feeling very well, eat naan and avoid the spicy food. Next, get used to paneer! I personally loved it, and I had it almost every meal. If you eat non-veg then there will be other options. Also try all the activities. Don't skip any site visits or any planned events. These events are where the memories will be created.
- 2) Be open minded, outgoing! To get the most of your experience, constantly try to strike up conversations with random people. For me this comes naturally as I like talking (often too much). For example, when we reached Bangalore airport the bus was running late. I talked in my broken Hindi/English mix to 3 to 4 taxi drivers. I asked them questions like how do you like Bangalore, what is there to do here for fun, etc... Only if you ask will you find out. Also be ready to look like a fool on stage. Jackson and I rapped our introductions on stage. Sure we looked like fools, but we had fun in the process. These are the memories that you will remember.
- 3) Keep a diary/Journal! This might seem cheesy, especially for guys but this is a must. If you take notes from your trip, then you can reflect on them and cherish the memories later on. These notes can include the site visits, temple visits, but also late night adventures to bars, McDonalds etc... Keep notes as this will help trigger memories.
- 4) Don't be overprotective of yourself! In the orientation you get, the articles you read online, you will probably get the idea that India is a sketchy place. Well let me tell you it is not. Obviously be cautious, travel in groups, but have fun. India is a country full of nice people. When a few of us went to eat sushi one night, we probably asked 5 people how to get there. They all were happy to help us.
Lastly, enjoy. This is a class, but in reality it is more
like a vacation. Go to site visits, ask questions, be outgoing, and have fun.
This will all help in creating those life long memories.