India here we come!

Four flights, three days and more hours without sleep than I care to know but I am finally in here in Hubli! Today was an exciting albeit long day and was an adventure from start to finish. After meeting with the group in Bengaluru we as a group were hungry and decided to get some KFC (with an Indian twist). While I wasn’t sure what I was eating (it was called a chilly crunchy) it was delicious and I was envious that our chains do not have them here! The flight was one of the shortest I’ve had, it seemed like we were barely in the air! While I have been to quite a few airports the Hubli airport was a new experience. We landed and disembarked on the tarmac and a few minutes later another plane pulled up only a few hundred meters away! What a way to enter India!

The drive from the airport was an amazing experience, waving rickshaw drivers, wandering cows and beautiful buses met us throughout the ride. I was shocked by how happy and friendly the local Indians were! Everyone was waving back and seemed a little bit surprised on seeing us! When we got to the campus we were stunned by the beauty and explored meeting several interesting characters along the way (including several teachers-in-training). The campus is a sprawling landscaped place with beautiful buildings, palm trees, almond trees and two amazing fountains!

While we were exhausted we heard loud music and cheering and could not resist finding the source of the commotion. A few wrong turns, dead ends and fences later we finally found the entrance. The event coordinator was apprehensive and said that she had to double check if we were allowed. I could have never expected what was going to occur next.

We stumbled into a cultural event (run for and by the Indian students at KLE) and they were enthralled that Americans had come to see it. A crowd of what seemed like several thousand greeted us with cheers and brought us to the front row where we sat with the Principal of KLE. Dances, costumes, plays and fashion shows followed for a truly diverse introduction to Indian culture. The principal then surprised us and brought us onto the stage…and had us dance! As we left swarms of Indian students came to take selfies with us, shake our hands and thank us for sharing their culture. I am very excited to see what India has in store for us next and can’t wait for tomorrow!

Getting Acquainted with India

Having never traveled outside of the country and my longest plane ride being less than three hours, it was safe to say that I had no idea what to expect from the GE2 trip to India. A 12-hour flight and food, people, and a culture I had never experienced before? Part of me was hesitant and definitely a little scared, but I was SO ready to jump outside my comfort zone. I have always wanted to travel, and I had fully embraced the culture shock that would come from visiting India.

After our three flights and a 6-hour layover in Bangalore, I can confidently say that I was practically an expert at going through airport security, finding comfortable positions to nap on the plane (even without a window seat), and navigating my way through unfamiliar territory. And the experience made my groups members so much closer, too, even though most of us had just met for the first time that day.

On the bus ride from the airport to Hubli, I couldn’t stop smiling. The sights of the city were nothing I’ve ever experienced before: intensely busy roads, buildings that looked far different from buildings in the U.S., and an overall buzz of excitement in the air. The university itself is beautiful, and I felt instantly welcomed when we arrived at our dorm. They greeted us with traditional necklaces and huge smiles, and at that moment I was so grateful that I decided to participate in this program.

KLE University, Hubli, India

I have experienced so much in just two days being here and I cannot wait to see what else is in store. On the first day of class, one of my team members from China brought my other three team members a small gift. I was blown away at how welcoming both Chinese and Indian students were of new people, and how different their culture is from ours. One of the main reasons I decided to go on this trip was because I wanted to experience cultures that were completely different than my own, having only lived in Massachusetts my whole life. It was incredible to see that the other students in this program were just as excited as me to learn about new cultures. One Indian student even said that they admired U.S. culture, and it put my own culture in perspective and made me realize how proud I am of my culture, and how lucky I am that I get the opportunity to learn about their culture, as well.

I am so looking forward to the next two weeks!



First Day in Hubli

Beginning in Boston, I was unsure of what to expect from such a long flight. To my surprise, however, I slept through almost the whole thing, staying awake only for the free meal. The hour layover in Doha, felt very short and soon enough I was back to sleep on the plane again. We arrived to India in the early morning hours, only to wait my next flight which was 6 hours away, The Bangalore airport made the waiting process much easier, I ordered my first meal in India and browsed the many shops there. When the third flight finally came around it only took 45 minutes to land in Hubli.
We walked off the open plane in the warm air and caught a bus to the university. The bus ride was a whirlwind of excitement. Both the American and Chinese students were together and were in awe of the streets of Hubli, the commotion an activity going on in the streets was so much to take in. I had no idea I would have so much fun just in the first thirty minutes of arriving. Once we arrived we were greeted by the Indian students and given a Indian flag necklace and a Bindi mark. After we were assigned our rooms we went outside to explore.
At one point, we heard crowds of people screaming and music playing so of course we wanted to find the source of it and go there. After searching for at least 10 minutes, we saw people who were dressed very nicely walking into a gate, it looked like there was a wedding going on. We went up to the gate, but right when the guard there was not going to let us go, a girl from inside walked up and asked where we were from. When we told her we were students studying at KLE, she said she would see if she could get us in and brought two students with her. I waited outside with two others until she came back to the gate and let us know we were allowed in and brought us through. She had mentioned it was a culture festival so I figured it would be a good amount of people. We walked in and suddenly HUNDREDS of faces turned and watched us get escorted to the front row. I was in such shock, I turned around after I sat down in front of the stage and saw a sea of people. The event consisted of young men and women wearing traditional wedding clothing from the different states of India. I loved seeing the diverse styles and colors. At the end of the show, when we were getting ready to head off to orientation, the chancellor walked up to the stage and used the microphone to call us each up to the stage and introduce us to the crowd. As we were standing there he suddenly added on that we had a “gift for them”. I turned to the other students confused as to what he was talking about when “Moves like Jagger” started playing. Our gift to them was our dance. So, sure enough we just improvised and did whatever would make the crowd cheer. As we jogged back to the Scholar House to make it to orientation on time, I was on such an adrenaline rush. If this is what my first day in Hubli was like, I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks will bring.

Learning About International Business in India

A Coca-Cola product for India

I have always loved traveling and learning about places that are unfamiliar to me. International travel has provided me with opportunities to see and experience cultural variety that just cannot be learned otherwise. Prior to this trip to India for the GE2 program, I worked with several Indian colleagues who I was privileged to call friends. But aside from talking with them about India – and enjoying Indian cuisine, of course – I did not know too much about the country. Obviously it is not possible to learn everything there is to know by simply visiting a place, but I truly feel that observing people in their daily lives is much more informative than reading a book or watching a documentary about historical events or current landmark activities. Therefore, I very much look forward to learning more about Indian culture and business methods during the next few weeks while I am immersed in the coursework.

In addition to experiencing Indian culture, I look forward to learning from fellow students in the course. In the brief time I have spent with some of the students thus far, I have noticed that we all have different academic and professional experience and interests. I am optimistic that students will share their knowledge both among our project teams and in the larger classroom discussions. While I probably learn best from doing activities myself, learning from others’ personal experiences usually runs a close second. When a peer can show me the relevance of a concept by sharing their experience, it helps me to see how the concept may also apply to my future activities.

One thing that continues to fascinate me during international travel is the way businesses are adapted for each region they serve. Business adaptability first struck me when I saw a KFC in Shanghai selling a chicken drumstick-shaped fried rice dumpling. Though I do not frequent KFC in the USA, I know that they do not sell this product there. However, YUM! Brands has adapted the Chinese KFC menu to meet the needs of their regional customers. Similarly, here in India I received a lemon beverage that is produced by Coca-Cola specifically for their Indian customers. Again, Coca-Cola has expanded their product line to include a drink that is specific to regional tastes. Not only do region-specific products produce revenue, but they also promote brand loyalty on a global scale. This is a concept I hope to explore more in the upcoming course.

Why I am here…

I am thoroughly looking forward to this program!

America is a unique place. The U.S. is a relatively new country that is made up of people from all around the world. It is indeed a melting pot of different ethnicities, heritages, religions, beliefs, etc. While these differences define us as individuals within the United States, there is also an underlying commonality that makes all of those different people American.

Over the past few years I have been fortunate enough to travel around various portions of the world. This has been very enriching, informative, and enlightening and I have had the opportunity to see and experience cultures that are completely different than what I grew up with in America. Additionally, this has given me the opportunity to look at America from a slightly outside perspective to see that there are some general cultural traits that are uniquely America just as there are for other countries/regions around the world.

For example, while we have the freedom to practice whatever religion we so desire as Americans, we also keep a separation between Church and State. This is completely different from some other nations who’s religion is inherent in the government and everyday way of life. In addition to religious differences there are general cultural differences all around the world. Prior to completing all my recent travel I was aware that these cultural differences existed, but I did not understand to what extent these differences played a part in everyday life and business economy.

Concurrently while I have been traveling, I have been working on my Master’s degree in Engineering Management. The courses I have taken, coupled with the travel that I have done, have helped me to realize that these cultural differences don’t just define us as different groups of people around the world, but they also play a large part in the global market. These cultural differences can affect product usage, applicability and product acceptance, marketing strategies, or even to the extent of completely eliminating or creating various markets or market segments. As the world becomes more of a global economy and the internet of things continues to explode, these differences need to be understood by companies and personnel hoping to compete on and serve the global markets of today.

I look forward to further developing my understanding of the global economy and the effects that cultural differences can have. Additionally, I hope to learn how to adapt business plans to not only accommodate cultural differences, but also how to utilize those differences to create new business opportunities or enhance already existing ones. I believe that working in a diverse group from various disciplines and global regions will help to enhance this experience.

See you in the classroom!


Blog 1-My way to India

Hello everyone,

My name is Nadine Uwase, and I am a Sophomore here at UMass Lowell. For a very long time, I have always wanted to study abroad, and it is finally happening. As I am writing this, I am on the final flight to Hubli. FINALLY! So how was my trip to India you may ask? Well, definitely not what I had in mind.

On Dec 27th, I left my house in Springfield at 6PM to catch the 10PM flight in Boston. I arrived in Boston exactly 8pm, which gave me more than enough time to check in and board. This would be my very first time taking Qatar airlines. I did not expect much from the airline, but to my surprise, the eleven hours flight to Qatar was worthwhile. The plane was very spacious and wide. Although I did not get a window seat, the free movies and entertainment provided kept me sane. The first movie I watched was a Bollywood movie. I do not remember its name, but I sure learned a whole lot of Hindi, as the movie was in Hindi with English subtitles. As I started the movie, the flight crew began to serve dinner, which I thought would not be that great. Luckily, the food was very decent. I had chicken with rice, and a few beverages. The crew was so kind and welcoming, as they came around asking if you wanted anything else to eat. 5 STARS FOR QATAR AIRLINES. After the movie, it was about 1AM and I decided to go to sleep.

I woke up six hours later, and we had five more hours to go till arrival in Qatar. The crew came around and served us brunch, and I found out I had 1 hour of free Wi-Fi, and full Wi-Fi for the whole flight for just 10 USD. ANOTHER STAR FOR QATAR AIRLINES. Finally, we arrived in Doha, Qatar at 5:40pm, and had two hours layover till our flight to Bangalore. The Doha airport was so beautiful.  It looked like a small New York and Vegas smashed together, although the culture shock began to hit me. I saw four women in full black dresses with their whole face covered in black cloth, which I came to find out is called a burka. I’ve only seen it on TV, but it still took me by surprise seeing it in person. I tried my hardest not to stare, but I don’t think I tried hard enough. All I kept wondering was “How do they actually look like?” “What’s the culture and religious aspects behind it?” This led me to want to do more research on the Islam religion.

Finally, we boarded ANOTHER Qatar Airline to head to Bangalore. Can you tell how much I love Qatar Airlines? This flight was much shorter, just four hours. During the flight, I reviewed my class notes and ate dinner. Upon arrival to Bangalore, I was so excited. We got off the plane and went straight to immigration. They asked us a lot of questions, but we conquered and made it through. We headed to baggage claim, and an airport staff decided to help me pick out my baggage and place it on a rack. When it was time for the group and I to head to the transfer section of the airport, he began asking money for his services. I was so confused. What services was he talking about? I didn’t ask for any services I thought to myself. He said he needed to be compensated for helping me with my suitcase. I was in awe. I told him I had no cash on me, and he insisted I go by the nearest ATM. I became very frustrated and scared, as I saw the seriousness in his eyes. Gladly, Chris came to the rescue and gave the man five dollar.  As the man walked off he said “don’t tell any authorities.”  Unbelievable.

There goes my first encounter in India. I began to second guess on how good of an experience this was going to be, but the group members motivated me to stay positive. The six hours layover in Bangalore did not help the situation. I started to become very inpatient, and tired. Than goodness we’re finally on our way to Hubli. I pray the rest of the trip goes well. Stay tuned!


Getting ready Winter 2019 Session!

Had a taste of typical south Indian cuisine last night! This was in preparation for the upcoming Winter 2019 Study Abroad – Hubli, India. This will be our 6th session since starting the program in 2014. We will have 13 students and 2 faculty travelling to Hubli on December 27. Students from NUPT China will join along with KLE Tech Univ. Expect another amazing experience for students!