Reflecting on my trip to India, I can confidently say that my knowledge of the country was limited to traditional western views of India. This trip has been life-changing! I’ve met some amazing people and done some amazing things I thought I’d never get the opportunity to do. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get to have gone on the Reimagining India study tour and gotten to experience such a variety of India from a wide range of lenses. From spices to the Taj, my view of India was very 2-dimensional. After having been to India and having experienced the many different colours, buildings, cultures and religions; I’ve come to view India as such an amazing country, filled with innovation, and ingenuity coinciding with multitudes of contrasting lifestyles. My point is, as Nick Booker would say, other than the Taj, India is filled with so much life and beauty, a fact that many often forget. I can honestly say I have seen so many more beautiful things within India that have not been the Taj and I think that’s what was both highlighting and my biggest takeaway from this amazing adventure. Though stomach issues plagued the group daily, we were able to create long-lasting memories filled with universities, NGOs and multi-million/sometimes even billion companies. We had the opportunity to meet Amitabh Kant, G20s Sherpa alongside New Zealand’s High Commissioner – David Pine (a very insightful man who has accomplished a lot).
For anyone even remotely interested in this program or even visiting India, I can’t urge you enough to apply, to travel and experience the diversity that is India. The country will surprise you in a number of ways that I can’t even begin to explain. Whatever your preconceived notion of India is, I’m telling you it’s wrong. I went into this viewing myself as culturally diverse and understanding but having experienced India first-hand, I can proudly say that my views have changed, and I have grown in such a diverse way. India is something everyone experience, especially in such a prime age of youth; experience the colours, sounds and emotions of India.
To finish off, using another Nick analogy; “we are all blind men describing the same elephant from different sides, all correct but all seeing a small side of the bigger picture.”