My time in India has been full of lovely people, who always intended to make my stay the best it could possibly be, which made it so very memorable. The team was always trying to accompany our needs and even organised a weekend trip to the desert with us to get to know the local attractions and to take our minds off the project for a weekend.
The female hygiene project I participated in was also very successful. The girls I taught were eager to learn, and the school staff was always lovely and helped me with everything I needed.
All in all, my stay was a great experience personally and professionally, on the level of the internship. I wouldn’t hesitate to join again!
Hi, I’m Theresa and recently I’m studying regional studies at Humboldt-University in Berlin.
My special interest lies in the region of South Asia, in particular in the diverse culture of the subcontinent of India. Within my studies I’m also learning Hindi to get a better understanding of the culture through language. At the moment of my studies I’m focused on the wide field of woman rights and empowerment. When I first heard about Cultural Bridge and its internship program I got excited about the multiple options to realise one’s own ideas and individually projects. I also found the claim of the program to have an equal exchange between the two participating parties very appealing.
From September to the end of October 2017, I finally traveled to Pali in Rajasthan for my internship. Worrying about the circumstances you might be facing while travling as a woman in India, where proved wrong. The good organization made me feel safe right from the start.
During my time in Pali, various activities were among my daily tasks. On the one hand the teaching of pupils of different age groups in English, as well as the preparation and follow-up of the lessons.
In addition to my work at the school, I support the project’s work on female hygiene, e.g. by contributing my own ideas to designing the lesson and creating teaching material
In addition to these activities, I had the opportunity to develop my own project idea and to start a scientific research on Gender Equality. I considered research questions and designed a questionnaire. I translate this into Hindi. In this work I got the support of the local staff, which helped a lot to adapt my work to the local conditions.
Overall, during my time in Pali, I gained valuable experience for future work in international cooperation and collaboration with social organizations.
In Berlin I am currently studying Area Studies Asia/Africa at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. Within my studies, where my main focus lays on India, I learn the north Indian language Hindi and dealt with a lot of social problematics in India. My internship program was my first time to visit India after fancying going there for so many years. I choose to travel with Cultural Bridge since our institute (IAAW) is in cooperation with the Ramdeo College of management and Science. Furthermore three friends and fellow students also joined in, which I was very excited about.
When I arrived at Delhi airport I met one of my friends Theresa. We had a stopover in Delhi and after a few days took the overnight train from Delhi to Jodhpur, Rajasthan, where in the early morning our lovely fellows greeted us warmly. Via car we got driven to Pali city. My four weeks stay started from that moment.
In the Ramdeo College of Management and Science we all helped to guarantee a daily English lesson to the students. We immediately started with our projects – mine was the water project. I wanted to find out whether access to drinking water is guaranteed in both rural and urban areas of Pali district or not. For my research I prepared a survey in English and in Hindi, which I gave to the students of Ramdeo College to fill in.
The students also invited us to go to their neighbouring villages, where they welcomed us heart-warmingly. They were very excited to show us around and tell us everything about their water situation. We took a lot of nice pictures and talked to the very friendly and open-hearted inhabitants.
I want to use my empirically collected data for writing my bachelor thesis and I furthermore hope that it will help to actually improve the drinking water situation of the Pali district of Rajasthan in the next steps of the internship program Cultural Bridge.
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.
I took part in the Cultural Bridge program from beginning of March until end of May 2017. As part of this program, I had the unique opportunity to gain insight into Indian local administration and local politics and thus I could substantially enhance my knowledge of Indian society and politics. Furthermore, I was able to conduct field research concerning environmental education in India. In this way, it was possible for me to work at the grass roots level and to experience the interaction of the local community with the local administration in India. Moreover, I had the chance to study the state based environmental policies and how they are implemented by the municipal administration. Therefore, the Cultural Bridge program enabled me to combine the theoretical expertise I had gathered during my studies of political science with valuable practical knowledge concerning Indian local politics and environmental education. In addition, joining the Cultural Bridge program allowed me to get to know the fascinating Indian culture and lifestyle making my stay in India a once in a lifetime experience.
For the two weeks that i did spend in Germany, most of my time was spent in the city of Berlin. It would perhaps not be fair to make up an impression of an entire country after only having spent a couple of weeks in the capital city (just as Delhi is not an accurate representation of India). The city of Berlin however, was something that I began to miss almost immediately after leaving. Berlin, offers a democratic space for expression without criminalisation. Keeping in mind the current political milieu of India, as far as attitudes towards opinions and debates go in the capital city of Delhi (where I happen to be studying), Berlin was a breath of fresh air (figuratively, but also literally of course!). Jokes aside, as a student, and a queer person, pursuing a university education in a space like this sounds quite riveting (again, i speak in the context of the current political milieu of my own country).
The idea of a private institution, in India currently is almost always synonymous with a certain kind of “higher” quality of education (which may be symptomatic of the post-colonial and post-liberalisation “development” fetish). Private institutions here however, are also synonymous with a very specific affluent class of students. The education system in Germany however, seems far more economically inclusive. This was very exciting for me, as it allows one to become a part of a system where social mobility is possible, and is capable of creating a well-read public.There is also such a rich history when it came to the architecture of the city. As a student of anthropology it was very exciting to see and attempt to understand ideas of identity and history of aesthetics and architecture of Berlin.
Despite the varied interests of our group during the program, the city always had something for everyone.