by Elizabeth Shaw
High: One of the best things about the program that I am on is that we get to live with host families. My host parents and brother are amazing (I also have two host sisters but they don’t live with use). They are so nice and have been so helpful in getting around Pune and even arranging a car for some of the people in my program so we could travel outside of Pune for the day. I also have a host niece who is 10 months old and, of course, adorable. She’s learned my name, will give high fives and dances when you turn on music. They have made coming to live in another country for 4 months so much easier and I feel really at home with them.
Low: Here in Pune the way you get anywhere is on a rickshaw (you can also walk but since I’m not all that familiar with the city yet the few times I’ve tried I’ve gotten lost). I have had some wonderful rickshaw drivers but I have also has some really bad ones who try and cheat you to get more money by insisting you pay more, telling you their meter is broken (which is how you tell how much to pay), taking you in circles or taking the long way. Especially not speaking the language has made it very hard to tell the drivers where you want to go or when they get lost to help navigate them.I just have to give it time so that I am more familiar with my surroundings.
Glitter: I am learning Hindi while I am here and we’ve had four classes so far where we are leaning the vowels, consonants and conjugations. Over the weekend I was sitting at breakfast with my Kaka (it means uncle, it’s what my host dad has us call him) and looked over at the paper he was reading and I realized I could recognize some of the letters written in hindi and could even sound out some of the words!!! Of course I don’t know what the words mean but from Hindi I could write them in Roman Script and sound them out! It’s not much but I’m horrible at languages so I’m so proud that I can get this far this fast.
Elizabeth is a Junior at Smith college. She is studying abroad in Pune, India during the Spring 2015 semester. She looks forward to learning the language and being able to learn and see as much of India as possible. While abroad she will be interning for an organization focused on public health and learning traditional painting. At Smith she is a Psychology major, an Exercise and Sports Studies minor and a Community Engagement and Social Change concentrator.