Today marks my eleventh day interning at the Canadian International School in Bangalore, India. Before I came here, all of my Indian friends warned me of getting sick from the food or water, of the awful heat, and questioned why I would want to intern in India. Even with their doubts of my choice to travel here, I had personal reasons of accepting the internship stemming from my desire to experience a completely new culture and explore the field of education.
I was initially drawn to the internship because I am thinking of going into education and am especially interested in teaching at an international school. Even in just the first week, I have been able to meet many different teachers that have shared their unique background with me. Most have taught in more than one other country and are planning on moving to a new country in the next few years. Growing up, I had never thought that moving from country to country was an option for me because I had never met anyone with that lifestyle and the idea sounds a bit absurd to most people at first. Although I know I don’t have to decide if the international teaching life is right for me at this very moment, it is nice to know that it is a viable option.
After recovering from jet lag, we quickly got started on our intern duties. I will mostly be helping out with the Contexual Learning program for middle school students. This program allows students to learn more about both themselves and the world around them by engaging in interactive learning activities both on campus and at various locations around India. Because many of the students here are only staying in India for a short amount of time, the program allows them to get to know the rich culture of India and develop an understanding for the people that live here. Since the program does not start until the third week of the internship, I am mainly doing preparation work for the activities and traveling off site to plan field trip logistics. We also helped put together and spoke at an assembly to provide information about the Contexual Learning program.
On the weekends, we are free to explore the city and I have loved being able to see Bangalore outside of the school campus. Although the cultural differences are striking as you move away from the school, the differences do not make me feel unsettled. Instead, everything I see has opened my eyes to another way of life and is honestly completely different than anywhere I have ever been. Last weekend, I went to Commercial Street, a beautiful,but very crowded outdoor market with the other two interns. Even just the drive there generated discussion about the differences between the US and India. I am shocked at what seems like the talent locals possess while swerving in and out of cars, motorcycles, rickshaws, cows and pedestrians, while frequently honking at the same time.
Going forward, I hope to get to know the students and teachers at the school better and contribute to the program in a meaningful way. Everyone here is so welcoming and warm and I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to work with them more in the upcoming weeks. As for now, I am making a conscious effort to appreciate every moment that passes and every person I meet because I think I have just as much learning to do as the students I’ll be working with.