I’ve never been good with saying goodbye; I can’t stand having to deal with all of that emotion at once. Over the summer after meeting the 14 students who came to the U.S, having to say goodbye to them was so hard. I was feeling happiness because I had the chance to meet amazing people, sadness because they can’t all live in my closet and it’s illegal to harbor and illegal immigrants and lastly fear. The fear was for the uncertainty.

The day they left no matter how much we said we would see each other again I didn’t believe it. I have had friends who live in the same building as me who I have lost contact with throughout the years, so believing that people half way across the world would stay in contact wasn’t too believable. This trip has taught me that anything is possible.


During my last night in India I made a few of my old friends and new friends stay up with me all night. We laughed, played cards, listened to music and danced the chicken dance. I wanted to hold on to the last 10 hours I had in India.


When it was time to say goodbye a few friends just stood with me. For a few minutes we didn’t say anything we just stood together enjoying our last moments.

Saying goodbye for the second time was harder than the first but I think I’ll see them again.


India – The Classroom

I don’t think that I am alone in saying that the things I was most excited about learning, the things that I first told my parents about, were outside of the classroom. However, the topics we learned about in the classroom and within my group are definitely worth mentioning as well.

I had previously taken an Entrepreneurship at my university before joining this global immersion program so that helped me a lot. I needed this previous knowledge because I was the only American in my group and, also, the only business major. I am not the type of person to come out of the gate and immediately take the bull by the horns, especially in a group of people I don’t know, so the beginning was rough and it wasn’t until I spoke up with my ideas that we really started to get on track in the right direction. This work I did with my team was definitely where I learned the most. It would have been difficult if I hadn’t gone through other business classes before this, but with the knowledge that I already had, I was able to actually apply it in a real life situation in order to successfully complete this group project and be able to have something worthy to present to the CEO of the company.

I was really proud of the work that we produced and I was definitely proud of my team and the fact that the CEO had mentioned that he really wanted to take our advice into consideration.

It was great to have the classroom experience each day and get refreshed on the basics of what we were supposed to specifically focus on for this particular project. The classroom itself, however was a bit difficult to focus in because it was difficult to hear the speakers and there was a lot of extra talking going on. Overall, I think that this was a great opportunity to work with a team to come up with a real-life solution for a real-life company and this is an experience I can use in the business world going forward.

a look back at the class

In looking back at the class, I must say that it was very interesting. I did like the fluidness of the class, however sometimes it could get a bit hard to hear. I think that a different room would make a lot of difference for that.
I also very much liked the snakes. They were cute, or at least I thought so. The design on the cobras back was fascinating. The hole face your fears thing is also partly why later on I almost fell into a well ((I am terrified of heights). The brakes also helped a lot with the heat. At about 1 or 2 pm I belie we were walking on the sun. I burn very easily however so this might be a bit bias in that regard.
I am also a fan of the chi brakes. I had a cold during the class, which seemed to affect everyone, and the tea helped my through immensely.
The fact that there was no textbook also helped, thought the shaky internet made it difficult at times to complete assignments (hence why these blogs are post class)
What I think I enjoyed the most was meeting and getting to know our team. I am proud to call them my friends.
Out of everyone I can think of, I am the last person to think they would be traveling here. It is a place of beauty and color like I have never seen. The historical visits where possibly my favorite but I wish I could have shared that experience with my team.
I hope to see them soon, so that I may show them my country, however cold it may be.

And pancakes.

historical preservation and such

In this blog post I’d like to mention a few things on archaeological preservation in India. Now in the USA part of the resign that things are put behind glass and not touched is due to the damage it can do. Oils from fingers will slowly erode, rust, smear different surfaces and flashes from cameras will cause shadowing in different types of material. The best example of shadowing is when the bomb dropped on japan, the flash of light created permanently burned the shadows of the people caught in the blast onto walls and things around them. It is akin to putting something in the sun for years and never having it move. One side will bleach more than the other. Anyhow, the museums that we visited did not have the proper preservation tetchneeks for many of their exhibits. Many where open to air and humidity and many could be touched. The effects of this kind of erosion tacks years to effect the artifact visible, but chemically and physically the pieces are weekend because of it.
Wall at the Taj mahal, you had to ware booties and the steps where covered by stairs. This is a good way to help prevent damaging, however the amount of people allowed in the space without gloves has already had a visual toll on the stretchers. Many of the railings, doorways, and undone seals have been growned smooth. This tack decades with stone, but with the volume of people flocking to it this is excel orated. It is akin to very old wooden stairs in which the steps have a smoother surface where people have placed there feet over and over. Now as far as photographs go, the damage will not be as noticeable in a large area such as the Taj due to light entering it. The burial chamber would be the only concern.
Part of the resign our historical artifacts are kept under such lock and key is more because they were not built to last century’s. Our country is in its infancy compared to India. Temples and ruins that scatter the land may be at risk in a long term scents, but they also act as tourist attractions and drive commerce into the land. I would hope that in the future tourists where given more history and more warning of the damage they can do, however not everyone is into history like I am and might find it boring.

standing out and talking to people who want your money.

so, again these are being posted after i got back due to internet troble. now, I am very tall, Irish, and have a red beard. this is not normal for India. also im still not good at titles.

This is a bit of an odd topic, but the amount that Americans stand out here is staggering. In the USA unless you’re on fire most people don’t pay attention to you. I am rather tall, with a red beard. People took pitchers of or with me in the streets, some waved hello, others gave dirty looks. India has a large population, of mostly Indian people. Some of the people we crossed paths with either could not comprehend someone of fair skin was around, or that I had some sort of disorder.
I find it very strange to be stared at, and in fact dislike it heavily. It did not help that our bus had a large tourist sing on it, so pan handlers would come up and ask for money for nick knacks or whatever. I will say I don’t mind tipping someone who has done a good job, but I was harassed by workers because they knew that to be here I needed some capital. One of the guys, who was trying to sell me some sort of elephant figurine insisted that I had cash after I told him I did not. I wanted him to go away, but I am very bad at this. When the Indian students are around this happens a lot less. I believe that because we are fourin, they try to tack advantage of us. For instance the car ride to the hotel I currently sit in at an airport was told to be a 15 rupee ride by the coordinator however many of the rickshaws where trying to gorge us at 350. I don’t think if they think we are stupid or jest exploitable. I think my concern for people puts me as a target for this, as I was asked it far more than others on the trip. I think it is because I talk to people if thay ask something rather then immediately dismissing them.
I will however say, no matter where in the world I am, I cannot stand bathroom attendance. I’ve come across a few in India and they are just as bad. They go into a bathroom, pull out all the tissue paper and black the door until you give them money. Many seem to not speak English ether but fully understand you if you produce cash.
I would feel bad about the panhandlers too if we were not told that the poor here are given free school, clothing, and supply’s if they send their children to education. I fell very badly for these kids that are pan handling on the side of the road, but handing them cash will only further the problem.
Someone tried to pick my pocket in the Taj mahal in fact, however I keep my wallet in side pockets, and thus they ended up jest grabbing my ass for about 3 very confusing seconds. The crowd would not let me turn around to see who, and they were jest a face in the crowd after.
My trip had very few issues with interacting with the local people once we were with the Indian students. I think this is partly in due to the fact that English is a second language here, and we speak much faster than some can understand. I am paranoid of crowds, but this had made me appreciate how much space Boston people give one another.

Im not good at titles but its about food

now that I am home I get to the net I can post some of the blog posts i had typed up beforehand.

For this blog post I would like to focus on food as a brod topic. Now Indian food is far different then food in the USA. This is not to say that there are infect recognizable ingredients within each dish nor that they are not prepared in similar ways however the different spices and colors may make it harder to identify things. When we were warned of the spice that was used the first thought is that everything is hot. This is city not true. What they mean is there are far more flavors in the food then Americans are used to. Yes there are many dishes witch are hot in taste, mostly curry, but it is more an overwhelming amount of flavor that should be warned of.
Food in itself also is basically divided into veg and non-veg denoted by a green or red cercal in a square respectively. Due to religious resigns, pork, beef, and some other meats are not consumed so the majority of the food that can be found if meat will be mutton (lamb) or chicken. I am still very confused by KFC in India as they serve burgers made of fried cheese. It was good. If it didn’t make me violently ill I would recommend it.
The other thing about food that should be observed is that no matter clean or “dirty” as some people put it, it can still make you sick. Dirty usually refers to street vendor food or things that are not packaged. Clean is restaurants and bagged food with health regulations. This doesn’t mean that everything will make you sick, however being from across the globe there are many bacteria and things in the foods we never built an immunity to. Most of the locals will not be effected be these partly in due to having had the food all their lives and have antibodies to prevent such sicknesses.
One of my group mates got Indian jaundice from street food. We know Indian jaundice as hepatitis A or B. that scared me a bit so I tried to stay away from the street food if possible. O and as tempting as it may seem, cane surge juice has a very high chance of getting you very ill.
In short however it may be wise to wotch what you eat and where, however if the opportunity arises you should try stuff. Jest make shear to bring along the appropriate measheres to combat being ill if it arises.


Bittersweet But Not Goodbye

It is 5 P.M. in Massachusetts right now and I have only just rolled out of bed a few minutes ago.  My head as well as my heart are still in India.  As I unpack as slowly as possible, I find myself reflecting the most on the people.

The first two days spent in Hubli were with our respective organizations or companies that we would be working with for the next two weeks.  My group and I traveled to Dharwad to meet a woman by the name of Vani.  She is an incredible woman running a non-profit organization called RAPID which offers Rehabilitative Assistance for People in Distress.  The organization provides opportunities for women to become self-sufficient providers for their families through skill training and career placement.  Many of the women excel in the art of bag making, and Indian handicrafts such as these are of extremely high demand on the world market.  Vani told us that her dream is to expand production of these bags and in doing so she would be able to take on more women and give them opportunities they otherwise would not have.  Over the next few days, my group explored RAPID’s business practices and at the end of the two weeks we expanded RAPID’s business model with practical solutions that can help make Vani’s dream a reality.

Being that not one person in my group, including myself, had any business experience, this project was at times extremely taxing.  However as the course progressed, I saw the value in the reading assignments, guest speakers, and class activities.  The most rewarding part of the experience was getting to work with such intelligent, intellectual, and inviting people.  My group members, Anjali, Shrishail, and Rahul, were incredibly eager to tackle the project even before any of us knew what exactly that entailed.


I also really enjoyed visiting with the women employed at RAPID. Watching them sit in a circle, create beautiful handmade bags together, and form a sense of community within those four walls is a memory that will stay with me forever. It reminded me of the importance of non-profit organizations like RAPID and the value they bring to so many underprivileged lives.

India was one of the last places on Earth I would have imagined myself before going on this trip and now it is the only place I want to be. The students at B.V.B were without question the sweetest people I have met in my life. They are so welcoming and open to sharing anything and everything about their lives. Hanging out with them was like being their little pet; they want to take you everywhere and show you everything. It was also refreshing to meet so many vegetarians!

One thing I will simultaneously miss and not miss is the Indian head wobble. It’s the most frustratingly cute thing that they all do. It’s frustrating when all you want is a straight answer and they give you the wobble, but you also can’t get mad because it’s so goddamn adorable when they do it.

Coming home was certainly more bitter than sweet but thanks to social media and Whatsapp the Indian students don’t seem so far away. I love you all! Now come to the States!

Welcome Home, Son.

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

Some wrapping up – Erin

Now that I have settled into a hotel in Mumbai, am finishing up my coursework, reflecting on my experience, and enjoying one more night in India, a few topics come to mind.

During the course, held in the unfortunately echoey MBA hall, it was often difficult to hear the speakers.  I did enjoy hearing from guests from different types of start-up companies, especially the drug producer/contractor founder.  He explained how he always knew he wanted to be in the medical field and worked his way into making his own company with partners he trusted.  The speakers expressed how important it is to find people you trust to work with and to share a common goal with your compatriots.  This is something I was glad to hear as Nonspec has had some issues making sure our team was working towards the same goals.  We have also found that it is very important to be on the same page early on and to continually check that things are in alignment.

Besides the snakes of course, it was wonderful being able to hear from every person in the class during the final presentations.  I had heard bits and pieces about different team projects in the dining area and in the Scholars House (where we were housed), but I didn’t get a full picture of the elaborateness of the businesses until the final day of class.  It was awesome to be able to purchase hand-made gifts form the Exceptional Children that had come in for my roommate’s presentation (since I had been wanting to since she told me about them a week ago!).  It was also great to hear the take-aways and highlighted experiences each team had with either their interdisciplinary teams, their chosen/assigned corporations, or their project styles.  I was happy to hear that the trends were all positive and that everyone got to learn so much about each others idiosyncrasies, lifestyles, and hobbies.

After the presentations, the group had our final event at Seven Beans, a local coffee shop that was started around 6 years ago by a college student as a third place to go that was fun and had a great community. We happily had frappes (pronounced like in the McDonald’s commercial…), coffees, pasta, nachos, and sandwiches. The group took TONS of photos and got to dance and towards the end had the pleasure of hearing from the founder himself.  He told us how he went in with a grand idea, not very much money, and not very much support, but managed to build a great place that people love.  He honestly told us that entrepreneurship is a series of highs and lows, with many more lows than highs.  His biggest low was something I could never even imagine.  About two years ago, he was at the office during shop hours when he got a call from his friend.  “Where are you, Seven Beans is on fire!”  Like anyone would, he thought he was joking.  He told his friend, what a prank and tried to laugh it off, but his friend continued.  The founder jumped on his bike and started heading the short distance to his establishment that he had build with his own hands…and into the crowd of people.  He froze in his tracks as he tried to process what he saw.

I was very affected by the story this guy, about my age had just explained.  I can’t even fathom the amount of emotions he had in that moment and during the months recovering.  I was so happy to hear that they had recovered from the tragedy, expanding into 2 other locations in South India (one is just about to hatch), and started a processing plant up to code, following sanitation standards.  The UML students liked Seven Beans so much we asked him if he had thought of expanding abroad!  He was overwhelmed by the question since his current expansions are taking so much power to make happen, but the excitement on his face when he talked about his team’s growth was amazing.


As for the parts of India I have visited, I have found a stunning difference in what different groups of people take pride in.  Although most of the UML students were from the New England area, I heard a lot of proclamations about the “US” which in real life even vary from state to state; similarly, India is such a large country that I can see this being the case here as well.  From what I have observed, in India there is great pride in the way one looks and dresses, a pride of religion, and a pride of food.  In contrast, with what I have seen in some parts the US, there is a pride in environment/building conditions and possessions (cars and technology being the most obvious that comes to mind).  This is a difficult thing to discuss, as I don’t want to offend, nor be too top level, but I do feel the environmental differences are profound.  I was shocked to see, for example, that Aquafina bottles in India say “crush when finished” as apposed to “please recycle”.  Don’t get me wrong, I know often waste is burned in the US in factories, but in India the norm is to burn piles of trash on the side of the street, seemingly at random.  A company that is so prevalent and large is not making efforts to reclaim, recycle, or prevent damage to the environment with their product and it is irresponsible.

I also personally had the problem with the lack of hand soap/hand sanitization in schools, hospitals (!!!), and restrooms in general.  I think this is something that would be an easy change that would help alleviate some of the health concerns in the area.

I know this is getting long, but this is what happens when I am off with new friends, everything pours out when I get the chance…  So in other news, Nonspec has officially had our device tested by a patient in India!  It was simultaneously a terrifying, exhilarating, and overwhelming experience.  Our device was able to take a load we never expected to happen in real life (when a poorly made socket collapsed) just like it had in digital testing!  Thanks to our wonderful BVB team; Shruti, Chaitanya, and Kalyani we were able to capture information about prosthetic use from three different patients in their local language ranging from ages 8-60!  We have a lot to work on when we return home and can’t wait to send our next iterations to our team to return to the clinic for trials!

We are strangely heading out at 1:45pm Saturday, Mumbai time to a 1 hour layover in London, followed by a flight direct to Boston where we will be landing at 9:40 pm on Saturday after traveling for about 17 hours in the same day!  …It is going to be weird man…   See you all when I get back!

Final Post

I seem to have fallen behind on my intended blogging ideals of one every 2-3 days and instead find myself now recapping an entire 1.5 weeks in one post. In terms of the social and personal aspects of this class, I can honestly say that I have found the interactions with the team to be extremely rewarding. Coming into this project I was very concerned that the students would be bored with the project due to its advanced stage as well as the rather tedious nature of the device design process. Instead I was blown away by the interest the students had in our project, as well as the detail and level of observation they put in even when the team was not directly working on the project. Each of them fit in quickly and easily and brought a special something to the project and made it an experience I hope to have again.

On the side of the class, I enjoyed the overarching topics, and I felt that a lot of the material was rewarding. I particularly enjoyed exercises which allowed for us to test our business plans and canvasses as needed. The guest speakers were topical, and largely interesting, but my favorite would have to be the owner of 7 beans. His story was substantially more human than the other presenters, and you can tell that he had to work for what he had. I particularly enjoyed how he quite candidly was willing to share failures and low moments. I often feel that when presenters present, these things are overlooked but are fundamentally the most important part of being an entrepreneur.

I cannot express how much I enjoyed the opportunity to work with and meet the students from India and bring them in onto the Nonspec team. We spoke about continuing the relationship we have now through continued testing in India, and we are looking forward to moving our project along with their help, ingenuity, and feedback. I would not hesitate to take this class again (if it was even remotely feasible) for that aspect alone!