The only way to summarize this post is to say thank you. Thank you to all of the amazing friends that I made in Hubli and on this trip. You truly made this the trip of a lifetime, and you helped me to grow personally. And of course, the fun never stopped! Every moment was made better by the students in Hubli.

One thing that I will never forget was how welcoming everyone was. I remember being exhausted after the long flight from Boston and the seemingly never ending bus ride from Bangalore to Hubli. However, when I stepped off the bus, a necklace was put over my head and a traditional bindi was put on my forehead. This warm act meant so much and really made me feel at home.

During the two weeks we were in Hubli, we made so many memories. The constant dancing, selfies, and singing “Cheap Thrills” are things that I will miss so much! Shopping and trips to the market began on the second night that we were in Hubli, and needless to say, we all loved traditional Indian clothing! Traditional Day was a highlight of our stay, as we were able to fully partake in Indian culture.

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Each day became more than just an agenda of things to do. We truly enjoyed and made the most of every minute that we were in Hubli.

Below, modeling the hair nets at Akshay Patra, the largest kitchen in all of Karnataka and making new friends at the market.

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On New Year’s Eve we celebrated by lighting (trying to light) lanterns. We were able to be a part of many festivals and parades.


Working on projects proved to be the greatest challenge and greatest bonding experience. From collaboratively strategizing on our business plan and practicing presentations, to going out in the community and getting primary data, all of it was very valuable entrepreneurial experience. For our market research, our group split up and went around to area schools to survey principals, science teachers, and students. I believe that I learned the most from working with my project group.

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There are countless memories like visiting temples, getting mehndi, trying new foods, and the last night in Hubli that we spent dancing outside. This was all thanks to the amazing people of Hubli. There are no words that can convey the amount of love and gratitude I have for my new friends.

“Danyavad” and “Mate seguna” –  thank you and I will meet you again.


Lessons from Hubli

One of the greatest eye opening experiences for me personally was visiting the all-girls orphanage in Hubli. The trip to the orphanage was one that our group had planned before arriving in India. The day of the visit, I was excited to meet the children and spend some time with them. I had purchased some little bags of candies that I thought they would enjoy. To get to the orphanage, I was riding on the back of a moped with one of the very good friends I had made. While driving we came to a crowded stoplight where we were surrounded by other mopeds, rickshaws, and cars. Through the mess of vehicles, a poorly dressed, tiny, old woman walked up to my friend and I on our moped and she asked for money. I did not know what to do at that moment. In the U.S., giving money to beggars is discouraged, but here we were and I knew this old woman had nothing. I fumbled around and handed her 100 Rupees as the light changed and all of the vehicles began to move again. As we pulled away from this woman, I became teary eyed. This woman had absolutely nothing and I had given her a bill that could maybe buy her a bag of chips. Instead of continuing to the orphanage, I decided that I was able to and wanted to do more for the children at the orphanage. A little over an hour later, we arrived at the orphanage with school supplies, toys, health and hygiene products.



The gratitude that the children had was small in comparison to how thankful I was for them. Collectively, they had reminded me that I can make a difference, there are opportunities every day to make a change, and it all comes down to you personally being willing to see and take that chance.


Taj Mahal visit and Conclusion of trip

Leaving Hubli was an emotional experience. We had to say goodbye to all but two of our great friends that we have made over the past two weeks. However, we all knew it was coming, and also know that we will meet again. Fortunately, we get to have Praful and Riya accompany us on the trips to Delhi and Agra.

Once we arrived in Bangalore, we sat down and had a great meal at an Italian restaurant in the airport. We were able to finally take a deep breath and reflect on our time in Hubli together. Our flight to Delhi got delayed by a few hours, but eventually, we were on our way. Stepping off the plane in Delhi was a shocker because the temperature was noticably colder. Nothing like Boston cold, but still very cold to what we were used to in Hubli. After leaving the airport, we could immediately tell that we were in a different part of the country. It was much more developed and crowded. The bus ride to the hotel was only about 30 minutes, so we were there in no time. The Hotel was beautiful and we were all blown away by the architecture and design. We were all asleep in no time though after a long day of travel.

Wednesday was spent touring Delhi. My favorite part of this day was the trip to Mahatma Gandhis house where he lived for the final 144 days of his life. Both his spot of assasination, and his final resting place were here. I learned so much about who he was and the causes that he lived for. We were able to buy some awesome sculptures and cloths from the store there and streetside vendors.


Thursday is the day that stood out during the entire trip. We drove to Agra and visited the Taj Mahal. Going in, I knew that the Taj Mahal was going to be incredible, but I had no idea how much it would exceed my expectations. Walking up to the gates, I began to see it, but the second that I stepped through the gate and was able to see the full building in one view, I got goosebumps from head to toe which lasted for a long time. We spent some time taking pictures from afar, and then made our way to the steps. Each step closer I would continue to get goosebumps as I slowly realized the magnitude of the structure. Once we got up and onto the building, it became evident just how detailed and perfect every aspect of the Taj Mahal really is. Each small detail was carved to perfection, with all the writing and designs in their own respective stone. Every aspect was beautiful and hand crafted to perfection. I came to appreciate the time and skill that was put into constructing this beautiful building. Inside and out, the entire building was truly a wonder of the world.


Our final day in Delhi was spent doing some shopping, and preparing for the long flight ahead. It was extremely hard to say goodbye to Praful and Ritu. They had become so close that many of us consider them family. I wish that more students were able to come to Delhi with us because it only helped us bond even further than we did in Hubli. While it was a sad goodbye, we know that we will meet again soon when they come to the United States in June. Even after that, we will be sure to keep in contact and visit eachother whenever possible.


Going into this program I was not sure exactly what to expect. Even during it, I didnt realize just how special the experience that I was going through really was. It was once I returned to the United States that I gained the true appreciation for everything that I had been through over the past few weeks. I gained friends that I can honestly say that I am closer with than ones from home. The people that I met are some of the most genuine, caring, and loving people I have ever crossed paths with. I will cherish this experience for as long as I live and encourage anyone who has the opportunity to take advantage of it. We will all miss the wonderful friends that we made during this time, but as I was told by one of my newest, closest friends, “Goodbyes are promises of meeting again”


Final thoughts on India… rural India


Looking at these pictures give me a happy, yet sad feeling of leaving all these wonderful people. I am often consumed by what I am doing, and I always assume that everyone around me has to understand. For this trip I let that go a little bit and i promised myself i would be more of a sponge and let my mind absorb as much as it could. It turns out that everything i learned was beautiful. There was no hidden agenda behind the simple fact that we are guests and they wanted to see us happy.

The women helped us get dressed in our saris (even though they were too dressy for the occasion), the cops welcomed us, strangers welcomed us and most importantly, my team welcomed me like no other group project I’ve ever done in my life! What was interesting to me was the fact that instead of looking at us as people with no culture, they asked questions and they highly admired all our answers.


I am certainly not used to hearing how cool the American culture is, or how people wish they could do it our way, but something tells me no matter who comes across rural India, they too will be welcomed with nothing but kindness. I keep mentioning rural India, because in a lot of ways I believe that area is very different than urban India (like Delhi or Agra). The fact that Delhi is more developed also means ” the western ways” has infiltrated the cities and it doesn’t quite feel as different than our culture in those areas.I saw people dressed like us, they even used the same slang as us – which is why Hubbali was so shocking and eye-opening.


People were generally thankful that we were willing to sit down and teach them all while being awed by the fact that they barely ever saw white brothers and sisters around. They also were always willing to stop anything for a selfie, a random picture or just plain old great conversation. In a sense, I feel as if we have lost that notion of kindness here and timeliness is more important than just simply making sure someone is okay. Not once did i ever somebody mention money in our business classes; the question always was, ” but how are you helping people”? And it was very refreshing. Many ideas were thrown into our brainstorms and many positive outlooks came from not just always talking profits.


After this trip I feel extra blessed to be in a country like the USA, where we have toilets with water some Indians would be happy to drink from, where our money that we spend on make-up can pay for somebody’s meal twice every day for a year in India. To put it simply I am very lucky and blessed and I would like to take this opportunity to rethink some of my decisions in life for 2017. Being a minimalist might be a great idea, but I also want to work on how to actually help that make a difference somewhere. We are consumed by corporate America and we forget sometimes that all it takes is a very wonderful business plan to take care of two problems (Like Air BnB, TOMS,Ben & Jerry’s, etc…).


Meeting the owner and founder of seven beans was the most impactful speech simply because of all the times he’s been defeated. He taught me a lot by talking about ways he’s fallen. he also taught me a lot by just always mentioning helping and talking to us about where he borrowed ideas from.

My “akkas”, “tangis”, “tammas”,

I don’t remember ever being taught this way; “everyone who is not you is still your brother or sister”. Of course it was refreshing to walk around and be called a sister by many people who just simply realize what kind of love it takes to make humanity just a little bit better, but it also reminded me of the fact that love is easily taught. Love is also a choice – and the Indians, they definitely reminded me of that everyday.  With every request, or every time that things were not going perfectly well, they didn’t get annoyed or roll their eyes like we see here in many cases; they were readily available to fix whatever the problem was.

They made sure to always let me know that “guests are gods”, so “no thank you/ no sorry” allowed.


It did not take much time for us to be invited to eat at people’s homes,and we were full every time. People would stop their days to make sure we got to visit the temple that we wanted to see, to take pictures of the little piggies outside, the goats, the shopping and pretty much anything else that we felt the need to do. I met phenomenal people who were selfless and chose to give up their egos and even religious choices just to make sure our day isn’t bothered. I am so used to people making sure EVERYONE knows that they might be different or difficult in many ways. I caught myself being ignorant to small things many times and Indians were still not enticed to point out my mistakes. I ate non-vegetarian food next to vegetarians and caused offenses that I would consider large, but they still chose to educate me and enlighten me on everything. Sometimes, they would even try new things with me, such as mixing ketchup with mayonnaise to dip fries in it !


With as many religions as they have, nobody ever tried to convince me to love their ways, or their religion. I even had people who wouldn’t eat at all join me and never mention it once. There were people who skipped prayers and people who chose to not eat at all just so they could stay around us and make sure our days were great! I only found out about all these sacrifices they made AFTER leaving Hubbali, which made me admire them so much more for not seeking attention or praise for this even though they all deserved it! If that’s what the gods feel like everyday, they’re extremely lucky and hopefully they will be rewarding the beautiful people of Hubbali in many ways!


Even children constantly hugged us, said hello, called us brothers and sisters and always made sure to leave us with a smile on our faces. Somebody didn’t have a car? No problem, they’d borrow a scooter, they found a friend who drives, or they’d finagle our way to the destination somehow. I wrote this blogpost, because Indians had plenty of opportunity and choices to go about their days the way they normally do, but what made the trip was them actually trying and actually being excited to have us with them. You can tell they’re not the type of people to wait for death to tell you they love you. Every day and every moment in India, I felt LOVED. I felt appreciated and I felt like people were actually curious enough to want to get to know the real me,


It was a beautiful experience every single day. I never felt pressured to act like somebody i am not even though they  had plenty of chances to have the last say, or make me feel uncomfortable. “Dhanyavad” – I had to learn to say thank you even though it made them mad at me, but I wish I could say it a million more times ! These people impacted me a whole lot more than others who’ve been in my life for many more years !! I cannot wait to return and visit them.

Finished the class!!

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I got the best experience through the class! The lectures, guest speakers, group works, etc. The course was organized well and gave opportunities to learn many valuable things. The knowledge and information gained from the class will enable me to be successful as a business person. Besides, my classmates were as great as the contents of the lesson. At first, I was full of anxiety and worry as to whether I could finish the class well. However, the best classmates supported me to do something complicated and challenging. I appreciate for being able to meet them. Truly, everyone was great!! Also, at the end of the lesson, everyone celebrated my birthday. I was very grateful! It was the first time to be celebrated while filling a cake on my face. Although I was surprised firstly, I felt that it was a good experience as well, and I could know the completely different culture from Japan. Including this incident, I was also able to learn many things from my classmates. I am thankful to the professors and my classmates for being able to broaden my horizons! I miss everyone so much.

Traditional dress day

We got a delayed start to class, but only by 15 minutes, because today was traditional Indian dress day! Last night I bought a bright red kurta that has gold trim with some blue and green in it as well. At first, I thought the color was a bit much and an eye sore, but the second I walked into class I was greeted excitedly by countless people with compliments such as “you look truly grand!” and “this kurta is grand”. It turned out to be a great choice of color and design. Even the professors individually complimented me on my attire. Todays class was in the upstairs class which I think affected wifi. We quickly settled in and Professor Mehta got going on lectures. The morning always flies by, especially today because the Chai break was longer than usual. Everyone was taking pictures for a while. I gave Anvita my phone to take a picture of me and someone else, and I didn’t get it back for 20 minutes. At one point I saw Riya with it… When I did finally get it back, there had to be 100+ pictures on there with half of them not including me haha. Pictures were very fun though. At one point, I was sitting on the seat-steps on the windows with ricky and a few indian students, when Yuan came up and squatted behind us. He did something weird and got nudged and started to fall backwards.. into the window which was wide open with no protector. Someone managed to grab yuan before he fell out of a 2 story window.. Everyone was able to laugh it off but it could have been a very bad situation. We went back into class and finished up the time before lunch with group work.

Lunch was great today. They went the whole 9 yards because of traditional day so it was special food. I sat with a big of people including Riya, anvita, ricky, and a few others. At one point Sophia pulled me aside and proposed the idea that we have an independent study next semester with Professor Mehta and work on a marketing plan together to help promote the India program and potentially give aide to the orphanage. I agreed immediately!

After lunch I went and hung outside with Fiaba for a bit. We hung out with the stray dog who is around a lot. Just as we were talking abut how its as if were famous here (because of the number of people that as for pictures with us) a big group of young girls from the school next to the college walked by and half of them ran over saying hi and shaking our hands as if we were celebrities.

At the end of the afternoon, we left class to go back to the scholar house around 4:45. When we got back, kids were letting out of school again and we got swarmed. Ricky, Fiaba, and Sophia brought out candy again which always makes them go crazy. I got a bunch of great pictures with the kids. Another example of how we are looked at like celebrities here… Every single time they walk up and go “Hi” and shake hands.

Shortly after that we were ready to head to the temple/market with Moukoun. The 3 wheeler ride to the temple was great as always. We went down side roads which was awesome because I hadn’t really seen those parts too much. We got to the temple and it was a beautiful building on top of a hill. We took our shoes off at the bottom and walked up the stairs with little kids to the top. I held one little boys hand to help him get up there. The temple was absolutely beautiful with gold elephants at the bottom of the building stairs. We would hear the loud singing even from the bottom of the stairs, so when we got to the temple, it was almost intimidating walking in. The room was separated, boys on the left, and girls on the right, with a split down the middle so that the gods can walk down the middle and bless everyone. The ceremony was beautiful with two people singing, two people playing small symbols for sound effect, and one person banging on a bongo. Front and center was a large sculpture of the god Sai Baba, who accepts people of all religions, so it was acceptable for us to be there. He was draped in a pink robe with a purple scarf on, multiple necklaces, and a large flower necklace on. There was a lot more around / on him but I cant remember because the decoration was so extensive that I found myself trying to memorize what was there mid ceremony so I could remember. We stood there for a while, but eventually sat down and mokoun told us only 2 more minutes. At the end of the ceremony, we all got in line, walked up to the front, gave our flowers to a man who put them infront of Saii Baba, and then prayed to him. There was a plaque directly infront of him with silver feet prints which we put our hands on, rested our head on them, and then continued out the side door. We waited for Fiaba and erin to be done since all of the boys went first. Then, to complete the ceremony, we had to walk around the temple 5 times which was not very far at all. We then walked down the stairs to the main platform where there was a large pot of rice and everyone got a small bowl to eat with their hands. We saw a huge fat yellow lab looking dog which was unusual because all of the dogs thus far looked frail and malnourished. There were also two smaller buildings on the side which we walked through for more prayer. This was an awesome experience and most likely once in a life time unless im back in India at any point. Especially great because it was Thursday, which is a special day for this temple, as everyone attends on Thursdays.

This day was a staple in my experience here in India. I learned so much about Indian culture and got to experience it first hand. It was a day which I will never forget. india03 india02 india01

Saying goodbye!



After all the teams completed their presentation we had a ceremony where the professors awarded each student a certificate of completion. What a relief to know that we are done with the program, but at the same time I think most of us are grateful for the knowledge we acquired. These two weeks were intense but the sessions were informative and thought provoking. I think for the students that did not have a business background it helped them acquire a new set of skills and for the students with a business background these two weeks helped them develop an entrepreneurial mindset.
We wrapped up the day with a celebration with all the students. We all decided to stay at the scholar house and spend time eating, dancing, and packing our bags. We are all excited to have the night for ourselves without worrying about school requirements.
Wow, today has been an emotional roller-coaster ride, most of us were happy to present our projects; but I think all of us dreaded the fact that we need to say good bye to the wonderful people we met and interacted with during these two weeks. This experience has been a learning curve, not only I was able to get to know the culture of this country; but most importantly I was able to grow as a person because of this experience. The day I arrived in India, I was full of uncertainty because I didn’t know what to expect, but as the days passed by, I started to feel at home. I was shocked and impressed by the hospitality of the people in Hubli. Everyone I came across was eager to bring me to their house and introduce me to their family
I spent many hours talking to people and learning about their life, dreams, and hopes. The memories I made will never be forgotten. I think that one of the highlight of this trip was spending time with people and going to meet their families. During those visits, I felt so welcome and more connected to each one of them. I promised myself that I would not throw away what I learned here but instead I would make it an essential part of my life. I can sincerely say that because of these two weeks in India I would try to be a better daughter, mother, wife, and friend to those that would cross my path. I can assure you that what I learned from this amazing place will forever change the way I look at the world. I will always cherish the moments I spent with the student at BVB and the long-lasting bond we made. This is not a good bye, this is a see you later.


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We made several presentations in class. I was so surprised at my classmates’ performances! Their expressiveness, behavior, confidence, and so on. There were lots of things to learn. We Japanese have no chance to do a presentation in front of a lot of people. Even in school education, we have received little classes that let us express our thoughts. Most are passive styles taught unilaterally by a teacher. Therefore, Japanese expression power is scarce. I think Japanese need to increase opportunities to express and share our ideas more. At this time, by listening to everyone’s presentation, I was able to know various ideas and got the chance to capture things from the different perspectives. I got a meaningful experience! I would like to make efforts to make use of what I learned in my actual work.


A few days ago, I went to the stand to buy something cold. At that time, I had only big bills. When I tried to purchase a drink with the bill, the store’s staff refused my payment because the staff did not have any change. I asked the person a few times, but I couldn’t.  A strange Indian student who watched the situation paid for me. I was wondering about why he paid for the stranger Japanese. If we Japanese are in the opposite position, will we do the same? I felt the warmth of Indian heart with this incident and decided to take the lead in helping Indians in Japan if they were in trouble. This event was a real amazing!

India Program update

Happy New Year and Greetings from Hubli India. We have 60 students from UML, India, China and Japan going through our 2-week accelerated Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation program. On our first day, the Vice Chancellor of the KLE Technological University, Dr. Shetter, welcomed students.


This is our eighth session between US and India and now we have over 420 students participating in these programs! Numbers are growing! UML students are posting blogs of their experiences. Please do take a look at https://blogs.uml.edu/india-winter-2017/.


On Monday January 2, students visited the largest kitchen feeding 200,000 school children around Hubli! Take a look at this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aziKmC7ZLpM


Monday afternoon Desh Deshpande and his wife Jaishree came to our class and had a very informative dialog with students. They enjoyed the conversation immensely. Desh has to all of our programs in Hubli and has taken a very active interest. His wife asked students about their experiences and projects they are working. Students were very appreciative of their visit to the class.