Why I Chose to Study in Bangalore, India
Last June, I arrived at my new home in the outskirts of Bangalore, India. For the next four months, while I study in India, I will be living in an ashram, or a communal living space, similar to a hermitage, commonly found in South Asian countries. This particular ashram is dedicated to personal growth, social engagement, and environmental action. I’ll be studying anthropology, sustainability, and law with nine other students.
Last year, I studied abroad in the Czech Republic for three weeks. Prague’s literary history attracted me, since I fell in love with Franz Kafka’s writing in high school. I enjoyed studying abroad so much, that once I returned, I wanted to travel again. However, this time, I sought out a longer commitment: an entire semester. Soon enough, I stumbled upon my school’s India program.
India is different from a European country. That’s why I chose to study in Bangalore.
India is different from a European country. That’s why I chose it. While I adored medieval architecture and delicious beer, I still found great comfort in westernization. I could easily find an H&M nearby. Most shopkeepers spoke proficient English. American musicians toured in the city. Things are not so familiar in India as they were in the Czech Republic. I’m advised to cover my shoulders in public. I avoid drinking tap water and the Internet connection is unreliable.
I’m already satisfied with the lack of luxury available. I voluntarily take cold showers. I wake up around 5:30 in the morning, four hours before class. Every morning I read books, write in my journal, listen to the monkeys in the distance, and watch the sunrise above the treetops. I’d never be able to do this, quite this way back home.
I’m already satisfied with the lack of luxury available. I voluntarily take cold showers.
This lack of luxury, though, is sometimes terrifying and uncomfortable. Earlier this week, I had my first opportunity to explore the city. Sidewalks exist on the sides of the street, but minimally. Pedestrians walk beside the traffic of cars, trucks, rickshaws, motorcycles, and bikes on narrow dirt roads. I found myself constantly dodging the flow of traffic and struggling to keep up. The traffic, even inside of a vehicle, induces anxiety. Drivers stay on their side of the road, but they drive aggressively (even more than New Jersey drivers!).
Nonetheless, I am so thrilled to grow academically and creatively. I’m inspired everyday. While it snows at home in the Northeast, I’ll be happily sweating in India’s 90-degree weather.
Why I Chose to Study in Bangalore, India photo credits Danielle C and Unsplash.