Spicy, hot, unforgettable country full of warmth and energy. Past Review

By (University of Maine - Orono) - abroad from 01/17/2017 to 05/15/2017 with

USAC India: Bengaluru – Culture, Society, and Global Perspectives

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
People are really the same everywhere and like similar things that make us human. I came back feeling much more 'one' with the world.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Not very rigorous. I hoped there would be more opportunities for research or more intense classes, but if you are going to study abroad for out of classroom experiences, India is the place to go.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I had a great time with my on site advisor for USAC. Very funny and caring, nearly always asking to give us recommendations of places to go and things to do. I didn't hear great things though about him from some of my peers though, which made me more weary. Mostly about his lack of personal space and unconscious sexism.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartments where great. In a hopping district in Bangalore, huge spaces, great place for dinner parties, and minimal electric/water/plumbing problems. Very far from campus though, about a 45 minute walk, and it's tough when it's very hot outside.

* Food:

Can never ever go wrong with the food in India. Street food, restaurant food, marketplaces, food vendors, farms. As long as you: -Clean the food before you prepare it -Make sure the street food is hot and doesn't have ice -Be weary about meats, make sure they're well cooked Then you're gold. It's too beautiful a place and too delicious a cuisine to avoid entirely when you're there if you're nervous. Just educate yourself and have a great time. Also, all food is comparatively cheap.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

People in India are extremely friendly. I mean extreme in all senses of the word. People will help you if you're lost, converse with you about culture and ask you many questions. There's a difference in race relations though, where in most places in India, there is still a heavy association fairness to status, so fairer people definitely get different treatment and more attention given to them. A sociological reality of India to be prepared for.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally didn't have any health issues but the people I knew who did had great experiences. Mobility is difficult in India if one is impaired this way is just a caution.

* Safety:

Very safe. Walking at night is no problem, and Indian people are always generous and open to help rather than harm. Although I'm not, my female friends did get harassed a bit by men. Not physically, but verbally and made uncomfortable sometimes with looks and tones.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

It's what you make of it! It's opportunities are endless and to take advantage of them, I become a better person.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Average of $50/week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Use markets instead of restaurants. Or if you want to eat out, go for a street dosa or samosa.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

Not much, only because we got to learn Hindi, but Bangalore mostly speaks Kanada, while the North speaks Hindi

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 0
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Make friends at Christ University! They're great people and always eager to help foreigners.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Indian natural environements
  • Meeting Indian university students
  • Food!
* What could be improved?
  • Education of cultural differences prior to arrival, particularly about women's perceptions/safety
  • Mixing classes with Indian students or just not American students
  • More awareness while there of cultural events
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Gender roles are different to an unpredictable extent Same for race roles