Program: SITA Consortium
Time Abroad: Fall 2008
Major: International Studies
My most memorable experience while studying abroad was meeting my host family for the first time. They were very sweet and I got to know them very well within the first week of my stay. My host sister loved to play games with me (including Barbie and art projects) and the whole family and I exchanged stories about our different experiences in our countries of origin. If at anytime I felt homesick, my host mother was always there to provide me with encouragement to continue and my host brother and sister always made my day by smiling and greeting me in the morning, afternoon, and before going to bed.
It's important to remember that you are going to be living in a country with a culture distinct from your own. In some cases you may feel "culture shock"—even homesickness. It is best to find ways in which you can participate in the local culture in order to really enjoy your experience. Perhaps one of the most rewarding experiences during University studies is the opportunity to study abroad. In this you really begin to see the world around you for what it is and you learn so much. Not only will you gain from the experience, but those around you will gain from your experiences too. I remember coming back from India as a whole new person, understanding the impact intercultural exchanges have. Study abroad is very rewarding and for many it is an experience you will never forget.
I am truly grateful to have studied in South India for the autumn quarter of my senior year at DU. I had been to India two years before and enjoyed it immensely, yet I felt I needed to return in order to learn about the various cultural aspects that make India so unique. When I first arrived in South India there were many things to take in; from the aroma of spices and foods to the sea of people who filled the streets and even the languages I heard being spoken that I could not understand. Temples and art (music, dancing, sculpture and painting) where just about everywhere—the atmosphere of India is dynamic and something to behold. I believe my experience traveling, doing research, and meeting people was something I will never forget. Once I returned to Colorado I did a number of research papers in class on topics in India and pursued researching the country and its complexities. India has such a rich heritage and is very complicated, confusing for many people trying to figure out its distinct ways. I want to one day go back to India and learn more.