Well here it is, that point in time of my study abroad experience that always seemed so far away before now — my last week in India.
With finals over and no frantic studying left to occupy my time, the swift passage of time is really hitting me. I try to tell myself that this is not the last time I will every stay in India, but logically I can’t deny that my opportunity to return will most likely present itself a ways down the road.
India has taught me a lot during my time here. I find that my greatest lessons were learned outside of the classroom. In reality there are too many to mention briefly. Below are two of the lessons the country and people of India have taught me that really stuck out.
1. You can always make time for what you really want
So what if it takes an hour and a half to reach a venue with friends and you are already running behind. Just because you aren’t on time doesn’t mean you don’t have time. In the worst case scenario, you and your friends come up with a new plan. It’s not the end of the world and spontaneity can lead to amazing experiences you would have otherwise missed out on.
2. Meals are about connection, too: good food and good company
Meals are meant to last for a while, giving you time to talk and connect with your family or friends. I have spent two hours or more eating at a restaurant, comfortably lounged out, chatting with my friends. We seem to be in such a big hurry back home that this luxury isn’t taken, but it is definitely worth it.
Adding to the feeling of connection and community, restaurants or festival feasts are all served family style. Large portions are dished out and shared amongst everyone at the table. In the case of festivals or large group meals, everyone is served from the same bowl, ladled out on everyone’s plate individually.
Looking back on my amazing year abroad, I appreciate the opportunities, celebrate the friendships and acknowledge the growth this experience has afforded me. I hope that someday I am able to return to this unique country and continue exploring. Until then, I will implement these lessons and others in my daily life and interactions with others.