A number of our ITE students are currently in India completing a 15-day placement along with Grant who is facilitating the experience. Many thanks to Grant for sending through this update from one of our students, Rhys McIntosh. Rhys has generously devoted some time to writing about his experience so far. An extract below speaks to the transformative nature of the experience.
Wishing Grant and our students safe travels.
A lot can change in a week
One week ago I flew 9000 kms to Bangalore, India, where we’ve begun our Cross-Cultural Teaching and Learning at Christ University. In one week we’ve experienced some major differences in language, diet, time zones, climate and culture. Some things have been easier to adjust to than others.
A lot can change in a day
Every day has presented me with new challenges and I wouldn’t have been able to handle them quite as well without the guidance and support of our Indian peers. They were there from day one to welcome us at the airport. They gave up their weekend to act as guides, showing us how to navigate the city to find the best places to eat, shop and sightsee. They’ve been with us in the classroom to help overcome barriers that come with language, differing teacher-student relationships and classroom expectations. We’ve all became fast friends as we’ve shared each other’s culture, teaching practices and the new experiences the program has given us.
A lot can change in an hour
We’ve all taken that walk along the corridors to our first Indian class with a differing mix of eagerness and nervousness. Stepping through that classroom door I don’t know what was more notable, the wall of noise that a room full of 50 students make when they all talk at once, or how abruptly the silence falls as they all stand as one with a greeting of “good morning sir”. My first impression of an Indian classroom is the distinct contrast in the students’ relationships to us as teachers. There is the formal side, calling us sir and ma’am and standing up when we enter the room. And there is the informal, as the excitement of a new teacher walks in and they all strive to be seen and heard over their classmates. I have definitely done more learning than teaching in these first few classes.
A lot can change crossing the road
There have been lessons to be learnt around every corner. Having the confidence to boldly cross the road amidst the chaos of the Bangalorean traffic is just one way that shows how far I’ve come on in only one week. The trust I have in those around us. The courage I have to take risks. The pride I have in pushing myself that little bit further. Among all the differences in India, it’s the similarities that have stood out the most. If I can take one thing away from this experience, it’s to always keep looking for another way to do things. If we’re all going to the same place, it’s how we get there that counts.