(The Free Press Journal publishes articles by study abroad consultants, Consulates, foreign universities, international students, and much more every Saturday to give its readers a glimpse of the world of overseas education.)
Hello, my name is Ole Hinrichs and I am a student at the Technical University of Denmark, also known as DTU. Three days ago, I landed in the city of Mumbai to pursue my 6th semester at the department of energy science and engineering at IIT Bombay.
There are a lot of reasons why I chose India as an engineering student. For one, India as a country is very important to the world with a rich and diverse culture which can help me be a better human being and grasp an understanding of how people think and feel in the city of Mumbai. Also, I am sure that such an experience will help me become a ‘better engineer’ later in life when I graduate and work side by side with Indian engineers in solving problems in the best possible way. Lastly, IIT Bombay is a great institution and world-renowned which can benefit and teach me a lot as well.
Not enough cultural shock but differences vivid
It’s still a bit early for me to delve into culture shocks in India as I arrived a few days ago. For the time being, I am observing and accepting everything. Maybe after a few weeks or months, I will be able to see the deep differences which are when I would be able to term it a ‘culture shock’.
But regardless, there were things that I noticed, which were occurrences I expected. The food I ate was pretty spicy, the traffic was different from what it’s like home, and drivers honking horns. Mood Indigo, for example, was alcohol free unlike festivals and events in Denmark.
I am pretty sure I am in for more treats in the coming weeks or months.
Campus life more interesting than Denmark?
One thing I noticed, and I am not sure if this was particularly due to Mood Indigo, was that the campus life is much more lively than in Denmark. Though back home we do a lot of academics and other interesting activities when you walk around the campus you don’t see that much bustle. That was very impressive as something was going on everywhere in IIT Bombay.
Divided reactions from friends, family, professors back home
When you tell someone that you are studying abroad in Denmark, others might think that you are going to the US or Australia. But when I said I was going to India, others thought it was very bold of me to do that as it’s a different country and could be very challenging. That was most of the reactions I got from friends. On the other hand, when I talked to other students and professors in Denmark they were amazed by the fact that I am going to IIT Bombay and highlighted its work on solar cells and computers and believed that it will be very exciting academically. My family was a bit concerned about whether I will be doing well because of the challenges of staying in a new country but it’s working out well for so many people, so why can’t it be for me?
Excited for the IIT Bombay experience
My experience at IIT Bombay is going to be about exploring different things and meeting new people. Here in the IIT Bombay hostel, I had the opportunity to meet other international students so I will also spend some time with them since they will also be able to give me an outside view of things in India. I haven’t been able to meet the professors yet but had the opportunity to interact with the student secretary and office of international relations who have been nice to me throughout the process.
‘Don’t outsmart the locals, listen to them’
I think students from abroad will be just fine in India as many exchange students from Europe and North America come to the country every year. It will be easier to face challenges together. If you are open-minded and flexible then it will work out. You should be willing to accept that things are different from country to country and find a way of liking it. Don’t try to outsmart the locals who have been staying here, if, for example, they are asking you to be safe and not go to bad areas in and around the city.
I would like to Mood Indigo again next year but I might be back in Denmark by then for my final year. I hope to have a great time in India during my stay.
The author is a Bachelor’s student at Technical University of Denmark and is currently pursuing his sixth semester from IIT Bombay’s Department of Energy Science and Engineering.
(FPJ's My Space column gives a platform to Indian and international students abroad to relay their experience which can prove to be helpful to many other students. Stay tuned for more!)
(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )