Dear Future Intern in India,
First of all, kudos to you for daring to come to this unfamiliar land. If you’re anything like me, your decision to travel to India–solo–was not an easy one. Before your departure, you’ll spend countless nights thinking of everything that could go wrong. You’ll dramatically board your flight thinking that you very well might not return home. However, rest assured that when you arrive in India, all those fears you once had will eventually vanish. But for that to happen, you must embrace this country for what it is– the good and the bad. I’m not going to sugarcoat it…India will push you to your limits; especially if this is your first time in a third world country. I wish someone could have prepared me for the chaos, confusion, exhaustion, and loneliness that I experienced during my first week here. Although I cannot fully prepare you for the journey that you’re about to embark on, here are my top 5 tips that I wish someone would have shared with me before I came to India:
- Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
I’ve never felt more different from a group of people than I have in this country.
- Get used to the staring and pointing. The people who do it are not intending to be rude; they’re just curios.
- Get used to the lack of personal space; especially if you’re in a big city like New Delhi.
- Get used to the language barrier. Even though several people here speak English, the barrier still exists and will be a challenge to overcome. I suggest using overly expressive hand motions when trying to explain or ask something.
- Be a Seeker
I cannot even begin to tell you just how much this country has to offer. India is the total package, full of so many lessons to learn and things to experience. I have found that the people here are interested in making sure you love their country just as much as they do. So ask questions –even if they seem trivial. You’ll leave feeling so much more knowledgeable.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things
Whether it’s eating Indian food or visiting a Hindu temple for the first time; just do it.
- Immerse Yourself in the Culture
The culture here is extremely riveting. Once you embrace it, you’ll feel like you’re on a different planet (in the best way possible).
Also, I 10/10 recommend attending an Indian wedding, if possible. They’re so elaborate, loud, colorful, and just unlike anything you’ll ever experience.
- Make Every Minute Count
I remember coming into my internship, 6 weeks felt like forever. But 6 weeks became 6 days real quick. So don’t waste a single second of your journey doing nothing. There’s always somewhere to explore, and someone to teach you something. Your time in India will change your life forever. I firmly believe that India is more than just a place you travel to; it’s a place you experience. There’ll be good days and bad days, but regardless, make both count for something.