My first time in India was an experience I will most likely never forget. The places I saw, the travel I did every day and the people I met while over there made my experience in India as part of the BUILD program a better one. I got to see some very interesting and beautiful places during the program and experienced things I have never done before.
Initially, on the first day, I saw some similarities between China and India which I didn’t think would be so similar. The way people drove, the roads, the intersections all made me think back to the cities in China and how chaotic it can get. As the program progressed, I could see some differences between the two countries which I wouldn’t have known without experiencing it first-hand.
Our guest houses were located in an area a few hours out from Mumbai, in the countryside, which was nice since there was little traffic noise and a great place to relax after the long days that were rescheduled on the itinerary. It was also a decent location in regards to public transport with the train station being only a 10-15 minute walk. The staffs that were in charge of the group and making sure that everything was alright were brilliant. I could say the same about the food since everyone was catered for and those with dietary needs were never left out. The food was so nice and delicious that we even got a chance to make our last dinner before we left to come home.
Traveling by public transport in India can be a nightmare, especially during peak hours. The trains were packed and the way people got on and off the trains is an experience that you can really only get to experience in India, getting off the train as it comes into the station and getting on as it is leaving, while the train is still moving. Sometimes it was difficult getting on and off the train since the train would be packed and people are trying to get on and off the train, especially since the train only stops for a few seconds.
Overall, the experience was a fun one, especially with the group of friends that went as well. Some we didn’t know until the trip and are now friends that share the experience I felt while on this program in India. I learnt many things and saw and experienced things for the first time. I do wish that the program was a bit longer since there are still things I would like to see and do as well as learn over in India. If all international programs run by BUILD allow us this much exposure to the cultures of the different countries, I would love to go on more to learn and experience more. Besides the itinerary being a little packed and tiring sometimes, the exposure that was given to us in regards to Indian Traditional Medicine was brilliant and I do hope it gets better and better.