What I learned was one of the most important parts of understanding of global business and markets is the cost is EVERYTHING.
My group is working on a product called the ‘Handy Bandage’ which is a modified bandage designed to help prevent infection of trauma wounds while the patient is being transported to a medical facility. The product has a starting target market of the developing world and in this case, specifically India.
As apart of our research for the product market, my group visited a few hospitals to see what types of products are used now to help prevent infection in these specific types of wounds and to inquire about their costs. In these interviews with doctors, we learned that the price of the product would be valued in rupees not dollars because dollars are waaaaay too expensive for a product like this to even enter the market. We also learned that this product would be completed with a lot of commonly used home remedies such as using turmeric as an antiseptic powder and dehydrating agent (helping blood clots form). Turmeric is commonly used because it is a very cheap household staple that does the trick just fine.
As we entered into our second week of classes, we prepared for the ‘Traditional Dress Day’ by venturing into the city and purchasing sarries. We went to three different shops for each of the different parts: the robe-like fabric, the underskirt, and the crop top.
We all decided that we loved this way of shopping because we got to sit on a nice cushion and the workers brought the fabric to us. Below are images of the sarry shop.
The next morning we were woken up to be dressed by the hostel housekeeping women who wear sarries every day. It took them about 15 minutes or so to wrap and pin each of us to their liking. Then some of the Indian girl students did our make up and gave us jewelry.
We had a lecture in the morning and then spent our tea break taking pictures. All of the colors were so beautiful.
Class ended up being moved to our hostel due to security concerns. A strike was occurring in the city just outside of the university by a minority group fighting for more equal rights. So, we took more pictures outside.
Then, we headed back to the hostel for lunch were a formal lunch was being prepared for us. There were women pounding the dough in the common room and the sound echoed like drums.
The meal was served on banana leaves which apparently is traditionally done at weddings. There were so many colors and flavors. Both sweet and spicey.
After some group (or rest) time, we took some more photos with the better evening light.
Overall, the day felt like getting ready for an Indian prom, except instead of dancing we did classwork. After my roommate and I were dressed by the housekeepers in the morning I turned to her and asked how are we supposed to be Boss Woman in these? The truth is, wearing those sarries was really difficult, so I give props to all of the women to do their daily manual labor in them!
My name is Jen and I am a freshman biomedical engineering major and business minor at UMass Lowell. I am so excited to be apart of this study abroad program in India and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Don’t forget your wallet with your passport, ID, and Money in a restaurant in Boston before you leave for the airport! Especially do not drive away and leave it there for 20 minutes. If you do make this mistake, as I did, make sure to call the restaurant while driving back and if they say they don’t have it, still drive back anyway because the chances of you actually retrieving it significantly increases.
The flights are long, so pack light, store the snacks given to you on the plane for later and bring a book audiobook because the plane will be dark and you don’t want to upset anyone near you by turning on the light. Also, try to get as much sleep as possible because once you are at the University you will want to have enough energy to greet your fellow students with a friendly smile.
THE BANGALORE AIRPORT DOES NOT HAVE FREE ACCESSIBLE WIFI!!! It will be helpful to know this and plan around this in advance. The Bangalore airport is small, so fear not, you will easily find people from your group when you or they arrive. Go to the bathroom, wash up, change your clothes, get a chai tea at the cafe, withdraw cash and get to know your new classmates.
The drive is 6-8hours so get as much rest as possible, but don’t forget to look out your window every so often to see what is around you. You will also be given lunch at the halfway point. Make sure to only eat the warm things and definitely try the coffee!
When you arrive at the campus, make sure to be alive and ready for a big crowd to greet you. This is what you rested for, so smile up!
Thanks for reading,