In spring 2017 I spent seven weeks in India with Cultural Bridge to do an internship in a government school in Pali, Rajasthan, where I was teaching German and English to the kids.
Apart from teaching I was involved in a wonderful art project, that helped to raise awareness about environmental problems and the reuse of plastic bottles.
We met a lot of interesting people from very different kinds of social backgrounds, saw a lot of great places and had a lot of fun learning about different aspects of cultural and social life in India.
Cultural Bridge took wonderfully care of me and made a lot of effort to make my stay as perfect for me as possible. I will always keep this memory in my mind as a beautiful and outstanding experience, that taught me so much about India, but also about Germany and myself.
My name is Keziah Mojen and I am one of the first four to attend the Cultural Bridge program. I am 21 years of age and currently study business administration at HTW, University of applied Sciences in Berlin.
My intention of taking part in the Cultural Bridge program was to get practical work experience while exploring a new culture. Luckily, I was introduced to Dr. Vishnu Ramdeo, CEO of Cultural Bridge, by a friend. Since I was looking for different ways to get practical experience abroad I was immediately interested in taking part in this great venture. After meeting in personal with Mr. Ramdeo and attending the curtain-raiser event in the Indian embassy I felt like the program would perfectly fit in my semester break during the month of March.
Therefor I applied for a tailor-made internship with the Ramdeo College in Pali, Rajasthan. During the one month, I would assist the college manager with various task ranging from administration to marketing. Furthermore, as part of the cultural exchange I would engage in events with the other participants and teach about German culture and language in local schools. In addition to that we also planned to launch an environmental project concerning plastic waste.
To be honest I did not spend a lot of time wondering what it will be like, I was ready for a new experience and for a new challenge. I was certain there would be a lot of challenges and cultural shocks but I was also excited to finally visit and experience India for the first time. We all know there are good and bad prejudices about every country but if you truly want to know what a country is like you must see for yourself.
As well as gaining practical work experience I wanted to work on my soft skills by getting outside of my comfort zone into unknown surroundings. Concerning the internship with the college I wanted to see what it takes to manage such a big educational facility and I wanted to witness the Indian work ethic first hand. I wished to get an idea of what drives the Indians to work as hard and long as they do six days a week.
During my internship, I stayed with the College Manager Mr. Kuldeep Singh, his wife and his lovely two children. Most days I worked at the college in the morning and thereafter we held one or two German teaching courses in local schools such as the Baliya, Girls Government School. During my time at the college I was closely working together with the computer science teacher trying to improve the design and the content of the current brochures. I was also actively engaged in creating social media marketing strategies for the college and for the ‘Cultural Bridge’ program itself. My daily responsibilities included updating the ‘Cultural Bridge’ Facebook page and documenting our events, trips and teaching lessons. Apart from the actual work I was shadowing the manager and learning about his daily task in managing the college. Furthermore, I was also taking part in a lot of business meetings as a passive bystander. I benefited a lot by witnessing business talks first hand such as investors meetings and political discussions on the current problems with the educational system. Personally, I learned a great deal about the importance of networking and having the right connections.
Concluding I can say that I am very happy with my one month internship at the Ramdeo College in Pali, Rajasthan. Even though my month was full of surprises, cultural shocks and challenges I benefited a lot. I gained practical work experience in a foreign country and greatly improved my soft skills. In addition, I could experience the Indian culture and its famous hospitality. I was able to visit plenty of historical places and witness in person the impressive architecture of the temples. Winding up I can only recommend the program to everybody who is looking to gain practical experience in a foreign environment and who is trying to enhance their interpersonal and intercultural skills. I thank the ‘Cultural Bridge’ team for making this incredible experience possible.