Bhaiya! Do Chai


Good morning India! Good morning my lovely air-conditioning! Good morning neighbors! Breakfast time?

Living in India for two months now, I can say that this way of starting the day is becoming a habit for most of the 3C students. As I walk towards my favorite breakfast place in India, I get stopped by a tall guard who teaches me a new Hindi word before I can go to eat my beloved dosa. “Good morning Sir! Welcome back! Dosa again?” shouts the chef of my favorite little breakfast street shack. My day starts awesome.

It is getting warmer and warmer in the streets of Bhubaneswar. Around 10 o’clock the sun is already heating up all the garbage. This specific smell opens your nose better than any medical product you can buy. With my eyes wide open, arms close to my body, all five to six senses on full alert, and after a short prayer and with a massive amount of courage I cross the road. In Belgium the Pedestrian is king. Cars show respect for people who walk and they try to avoid any fatal contact with them. In India, the Car is king. Let’s agree it is just a matter of who will be hurt the most afterwards. From the 11 non-Indians that I moved to Bhubaneswar with, all are still alive thanks to the initiation lessons from our Indian friends.

Honestly, the Indian lifestyle is very relaxed. The perception of time is so much different than the one we have in the Western world. People here, and the 3C students, are never stressed about what is going to happen today. If your bus leaves at 9 you definitely set your alarm at 9, take a long shower, have your breakfast, buy some snacks to survive the “short” bus ride and make sure you are in the bus at 9.45! Otherwise you are late.

I can continue for hours explaining all about the beauty of this country, its culture and its people, but that would lead me too far. For the last two months we were able to travel all over India and all of us experienced the beauty that India has to offer. Although communicating with Indians is not always that easy due to the language barrier, my experience is that the people here are so open and show a lot of hospitality. It seems as if I just left my Belgian home yesterday.

As unbiased as I am, I can honestly say that this 3C MGM batch is the best batch that AMS has had over the past 5 years. As a group we find our balance every day again. Living with 20 people 24/7 is never an easy task and it takes a lot of positivity within a group to go out and explore this new environment. We are doing it great!

Next month will be a month of hard work, deadlines, papers and presentations. We are also invited to an Indian marriage, which I am sure will be an amazing experience. At the end of March, some students will be going home to see their families again or start looking for jobs. All of my Indian friends will be doing an internship during April, and yet others don’t find it necessary to already start searching intensively for jobs and will stay away from home for a few more weeks to explore the beauty of India and other Asian countries.

Seeing as we have already reached the halfway mark of our stay in India, I would like to thank all the people with whom I’m experiencing this unique program. I think we will all return to Belgium with extra luggage; not only with refined Indian handicrafts, but also with a package that leads us throughout our lives. Something that we won’t be able to describe, but that will change our perspective of the world.