As part of the course, I was asked to write a paper on my expectations for India. This is a part of that paper :
I know I will be overwhelmed when I arrive in India because the culture is very different, I have never been anywhere like India, and it seems like a long time to be away from home. My hope is to be able to open my eyes to all the aspects of India that I am expecting to be immersed in. Things like exploring religion, class dynamics and the changing of traditional cultural elements over time. I know that all my expectations outlined in this paper may not be accurate or recent but that is what I will discover. I want to be a sponge and soak up all the information that will be coming at me from all directions. For me, the end result of this trip is to discover a little more about my place in the world. I am always looking to learn more about myself as a person and the biggest learning opportunity in that respect would be how I deal with new situations. I will be in situations that I have never even thought I would experience. Even something as simple as bargaining over a price in a market, which is an everyday thing for those living there, is not something I have to do very often. What I am most nervous about is riding the train in India. I have been told they are smelly and disgusting and crammed full of people. I like having my space and quiet so I know situations like riding the train for a long time will stretch my patience. I also want to learn about myself as a group member. I work with people all the time with my horseback riding and at my work place but have not lived with a group of strangers for months at a time. I know by the end we will defiantly not be strangers. Though I am defiantly an introvert, I am the type of person that likes to take charge and lead in a group. I wonder if this side of me will show in India. I also want to learn about myself as a global citizen through situations in India. I know I will see people living with extreme poverty or sickness and disabilities. What will be my first reaction? I know I cannot save the world but what part can I do to help? I expect to come home to Canada and feel guilty about how I live compared to many people in India. I hope I can use these feelings to make my self a better person by being aware of how my actions affect and influence others.
Truly preparing for my India adventure is impossible. It would not be an adventure if I was ready and had an answer for everything that I will be faced with. Though I have been trying to read and watch as much as I can to learn about India, I will learn so much more by living my own experiences there and be able to reshape my ideas about issues presented in this paper. The most exciting part will be facing and overcome fears and being a stronger person because of it.