Firstly, the usual question, why did you choose to go on an exchange semester and why India?
Well, taking an exchange semester is something most students in Germany do, though it’s more common to stay in Europe. Personally, I wanted to see more things and improve my English. As for why I chose India, it was clear that I wanted to go to an English speaking country and one with a completely different culture to Europe, so my options were Indonesia, some African states, and India. India seemed like a more interesting option, while also being a safe travel destination.
What courses have you chosen?
I chose an object-oriented programming course here as I wanted to improve my programming skills, and partly because in Germany there’s a stereotype that Indians are really good at programming. I took a programming course on power supply devices, and a course on electrical aircraft propulsion, which I personally find really interesting.
Any other stereotypes you were expecting?
I had heard that the food here was really spicy, which was not a problem for me, I could go for even spicier food. Another one is that the people and the clothes here are really colorful, which I found largely true.
How’s the classroom experience here compared to your university?
It’s quite equal with regards to the level of the class, but sometimes the homework load is heavy here, with deadlines being too short. The students here listen to the professor way better than I do, I prefer to make notes and refer to them later. Another thing I found interesting was that when a professor asks a question in class, a lot of the students don’t answer out loud, they just say it to themselves, in Germany, we say they “speak into their own beard”. This confuses me sometimes as I think the person sitting next to me is talking to me when they are actually whispering to themselves.
What is your favorite thing about the culture here?
I really like the diversity here. In Europe, historically, whenever there was diversity, there was always conflict, but here in India, there are so many different cultures existing side by side, with no conflict between all these groups. I find that amazing.
How do you usually find yourself spending your time?
I joined a theatre group in Chennai recently that’s taking up a lot of my free time. Otherwise, I like to meet with people here on the campus and plan trips to places in India. Back in Germany, I have 2 main free-time activities, theatre, and quidditch.
Quidditch is a sport derived from the one in Harry Potter, which is rising in popularity in Germany right now. The players run around with a broomstick between their legs. There’s the whole deal: a quaffle, bludgers, and a snitch. It’s really fun, and I’m a bit disappointed that quidditch is not played in India.
Any interesting encounters here in India?
So when I arrived here, I met some guys on a train outside the campus, we had a really nice conversation and I gave them my number. That turned weird fast though, as one of them messaged me 2 days later asking me to download this application that would literally allow him to check my location at all times, which was obviously really creepy.
Join Jean and a lot more exchange students on the 31st of October at SAC for the International Day.
Author – Rohith EE’23