Courage And Heart From A Different Perspective – SPJIMR
9 August 2018:
“Why India?” asked my disheartened 81 years old grandmother. She was probably the most sceptical of all my relatives concerning my future exchange destination. “Why aren’t you going to the US? Your cousin had a great time there…”.I understood that I won’t succeed in convincing her. She wouldn’t understand. But I had taken the decision: I wanted to discover India. I wanted to live in Mumbai! I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and discover that wonderful culture that was the farthest from mine.
18 October 2018, 2 AM:
“That’s fine, Take it easy…” I kept repeating to myself. Now I am safe, I am in my room. Apparently, every single mosquito here has the power to kill a horse – I really have to stay well under my blanket and not expose even an inch of my skin. In the next few days, I’m also likely to be ill at least for two weeks, this is reportedly how it works when a Western arrives in India. Should I be scared??
I landed just two hours ago in Mumbai. I knew it wouldn’t be easy and I had imagined this arrival and first night many times. And my guesses were right, I am losing all my points of references here – something different is going on. Neither the Taxi driver nor the guard of the B29 hostel Building – Mouamar – were speaking English. My first ever interactions with Indians were complex. I even wondered if I would be able to make any friends.
Thankfully, I had memorized all the advice of my mother: “Don’t brush your teeth with the tap water!” “Be careful with what you eat.” “Take your medicines everyday” “Don’t trust people you don’t know!” etc. She even put a tear gas canister in my suitcase. Like me, she had never been to India but I was sure all her internet researches would be helpful.
27 November 2018:
Slowly and steadily, I assembled all the clichés and fears and threw all of them in the bin of ignorance.
The warm welcome and the care of SPJIMR students were absolutely amazing. They made me feel at home from my very first day on the campus. As a proud French Football ambassador, I quickly entered the SPJIMR Football Team in which I made my first friends. Going all together in a bus to a tournament in Indore was an experience I will cherish for life. All the events organised on the campus allowed me to meet dozens of new people every day. The only difficulty I’ve actually had so far in India has been to remember all these new Indian names – but I’m on the right track! To be fair, as I got used to the heavy traffic and the crowded streets, I was able to live my best life in Mumbai. My Indian friends were always up to show us the best places and to help me discover some typical food. I have to say, I threw up the first Paan I ate but I am embracing every new experience.
The learning experience in SPJIMR is also really interesting. It allows me to follow the courses with a different perspective than the ones I used to have in France. Professors are always keen to explain to us. They use different examples with which we could relate to explain concepts than those used for Indian cluster so we have a clear understanding of lessons and case studies.
I can’t wait to keep on discovering this country and culture. And I already know that five months will never be enough.
International Exchange Student at SPJIMR
EDHEC Business School