As I pass over the snow snowcapped alps of Europe by plane in the early morning sunlight, one of the most beautiful sights I will ever see in my life, so beautiful it moves me to tears, I think about my family. This is home for us, this is where the roots sprouted that grew into the tree that we try so hard to keep righted day in and out. This morning, I also think about what I have done and it occurs to me that I have had the extreme honor of working with individuals from the other side the world. Individuals whom I normally would have never met at all. Although at times extraordinarily frustrating, it is an experience that I will never forget. I have been able to experience the thought process of people who come from a completely different background than I and I can only hope they have learned from me as well. Although I do have a few minor qualms with how our class was laid out, I have enjoyed being able to take a class with my Indian counterparts. I have enjoyed watching them work, watching them play and observing them in class. Alas, as I am an armchair psychologist, this was the most fascinating and rewarding part of my educational experience in India. I noticed that, in class, the Indian students seemed to approach problems in the same way the Americans did, with the only exemption of sometimes having more hesitancy. Some of my Indian friends seemed hesitant to start new assignments, unlike the American students who would often jump right in. Perhaps this was just my personal experience, rather than a representation of Indian students as a whole. I also noticed how the students in India seemed to pay little mind to their classes, understandable, as their school system works in more of a European style where grades are decided mostly off of exams leaving little wight for classroom time.The educational experience in India is quite a bit different than the United States and that could be why this trip was so rewarding to me. To be able to observe an educational style that is so different from what we as Americans know, presents its own set of problems.These are problems that we must learn to navigate. For instance, Indian people are very indirect, something which is very foreign to us. I would often sit in class trying to figure out exactly what point people were trying to make. From this problem I learned to dissect speech. Another problem that presented itself frequently, on the part of the Indian students, was the use of a syllabus. From my discussions, I learned that Indian students do not use syllabi (at least this is what they told me). To that end, they had to learn how to use a syllabus. As I now look toward to going home, I don’t think I will ever forget the experiences I’ve had in India. However, I know, as I head home, the greatest learning experience is yet to come – reflection.
– Christopher R. F. Lentricchia