My Experiences in India – Miriam Seffers, Germany

My Experiences in India – Miriam Seffers, Germany

I am in India for 3 months and I want to report about my experiences here. My project is to teach English in the Government Higher Primary School, Anagalli. There are only 50 students and 3 other teachers. My daily work starts at 9:30 am and is finished at 3:30 pm. All come together for prayer before the lessons start. After that, I teach Nalli Kalli (1st-3rd Standards) and 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Standards. We sing English songs, or play games together. I also teach them simple vocabulary and simple grammar. It is a great pleasure to teach the children.

I eat lunch in school and I prepare lessons, or learn some Kannada vocabulary if I have free time. I sometimes have difficulties because of the language barrier. Especially, Nalli Kalli is difficult to teach because the children cannot speak English, and the class is kind of chaotic. So, it is difficult to control them. But nevertheless, the atmosphere in my project is very nice and I have a lot of fun with the children while teaching. I really like to work there.

I live in a host family in Anagalli. My family consists of mother, father, sister, 2 brothers, grandmother and an uncle. Some of the members work most of the time, far away. The beautiful house of my host family is nearby the river. I like that very much. My host family is very kind and I like to live together with them. I learn a lot about the Hindu way of life.

There are difficulties because of cultural differences in some situations. I do not understand some traditions. But I think it is normal if you live on the other side of the world. So, it is not too big a problem for me. Most of the family members cannot speak English and so, I have sometimes problems to communicate with them. But my host sister is 25 years old and speaks English very well. I have a really good relationship with her. My host sister teaches me Yoga and I teach her Kickboxing. That is always a lot of fun. All in all, I am very happy in my host family!

I am satisfied with the organisation FSL India. The Orientation week was very helpful, and I learned a lot about the Indian lifestyle. In addition, I had a lot of fun with the other volunteers. So, it was a great start in India. My local coordinator is Mayur. He visits me every month, and helps me if I have any questions. The only negative fact is that we do not have the possibility to go to a Kannada class. It is very difficult to learn Kannada by myself. I try, but it does not work that good. The language is completely different to European languages.

In my free time, I do Yoga and Kickboxing with my host sister as I said, go to Kundapur, read books, learn Kannada vocabulary or Skype with my friends, or my family. I am going to start to go to a dance class for Bollywood dance next week. I am looking forward to learn some Indian style dances. I spend my weekends with my friends – other volunteers. We meet up at Kundapur, or we travel. We have always a great time together! I am so happy to have good friends here. We support each other if someone has problems in their host family or project.

What about India? I heard a lot of prejudices before I was coming to India. Some people said to me that I should not go to India because it is too dangerous for a woman. Nevertheless, I choose India and I am really happy about this decision. Yes, there are difficulties for a woman and the inequality is a big problem in India. I do not want to ignore that. But it is not dangerous for me to live here. I feel very safe and India is a great place to be!

India is very coulourful, chaotic and fascinating. The people are so kind! The Hindu influence makes it really interesting to get know the Indian culture. I like to visit temples with my host sister. She explains the religious background of the ceremonies to me and I learn a lot about Hinduism. In addition, the festival culture is a big deal in India. I am really happy that I can have the experience to celebrate all these festivals.

I celebrated Independence Day, Sri Krishna, Ganesha Chaturthi, Gandhi’s Birthday, Dasara and Deepavali. I celebrated the Hindu festivals with my host family, in big cities and the national festivals, which are celebrated in school. It was always a wonderful feeling to be part of the Indian festival culture. I am really thankful for this experience. In conclusion, I really like to learn a lot about the Indian culture and I am unbelievably happy to live here, and to make all these great experiences. I am looking forward to the next 6 months.

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