Archive for India

Colors for Life

By Nerelle Que

 

We went to an orphanage yesterday for Allie’s “Colors for Life” organization, getting ready to teach them songs, play games, and color. It was great being around kids again! I’ve missed seeing those bright eyed innocent stares and radiant smiles; no troubles, no worries, just happy to be living in the here and now…

It was interesting to see how shy a lot of them were in front of the camera. We later learned that they didn’t want to be photographed because they were taught that cameras were not allowed, even though we had been granted permission, but a few of them broke out of their shells and jumped in front of the camera every chance they got

The kids were also extremely good at drawing and coloring! I drew an elephant, and the two girls in front of me drew an elephant that was 10x better!! *cough* my turtle drawing was still the greatest though lol

Twelve of our cohort students went, and we all had such a good time, we’re planning on making weekly visits to the orphanage

As you can see, Hector’s drawing can’t quite compare, hahaha! I wish I had taken pictures of the better drawings, but again, a lot of them were super shy!

We definitely want to play more games with them! Especially Francisco, who was probably more playful than anybody in the room!

Mona, learning some awesome hand taps that the girls were teaching us. I’m pretty sure I’ve got it down pat lol… mmmmaybe

hahaha we tried to make the little girl laugh for the picture, but we eventually made ourselves crack up instead

Allie O’Brien, President and Founder of “Colors For Life”, brought an entire luggage full of crayons for the kids’ enjoyment

Passing out crayons; it’s not much, but it’s a little luxury that they may not have on a regular basis, bringing smiles and creativity

To learn more about Colors For Life, click here.

Delhi and Agra by Jeremy Lackey

Delhi

The first leg of our Golden Triangle trip was to Delhi. Got to see some very cool things, and took a bike rickshaw through Old Delhi. Also got to see the Qutub Minar (which is the tallest completely stone structure) – I could’ve swore I took pictures, but I can’t find them, so I will get some from a friend to post. I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t utilize my time well in Delhi. I was exhausted after our long week of classes and traveling that I just wanted to chill out and recuperate, and I got a haircut!

Agra

From Delhi we had a 5-hour bus ride to get to Agra. Arriving in Agra we went to a cool textile shop, where I made some purchases for my mom and sister. But it was an early night because we had a 5am wake up call for the Taj Mahal. It is impossible to accurately describe how beautiful the Taj Mahal is, rather, it just needs to be experienced (so do it!). But we went right after sunrise, so the way in which the sun hits the Taj at sunrise is breathtaking, it pretty much glows from the sunlight. One thing I didn’t know going in to seeing the Taj was how small it is inside. History Lesson: The Taj was built by Shah Jahan for his 3rd and favorite wife (she gave him 14 children, but died in child birth), and she asked that he build something to remember her forever…so she got the Taj Mahal…where they both rest in peace together side by side inside. Here are some of my favorite pictures.

Taj Mahal from the South  

 

Taj glowing in the morning sun

 

View from just outside the mausoleum, glowing again.    

From the Taj Mahal, we went back to the hotel to eat breakfast and then ventured out again, this time to Agra Fort. It’s this crazy expansive fort that is mostly red. I had more fun exploring the nooks of the fort than I did the Taj because the Taj is “what you see is what you get” while the fort had all these passages and rooms that were open to explore. Again, here are some pictures…I was also completely surprised when we looked out to the east and the Taj Mahal was sitting there in all it’s glory.

Map of Agra Fort

 

Taj from inside Agra Fort

 

Taj one last time

Adventures in India: Summer 2012

by Jeremy Lackey

Jaipur

 
Jaipur was another 6-hour bus ride from Agra…and it was my favorite city on the trip, although I enjoyed the sites of Agra more. Driving in to Jaipur it hit me as a sleepy little town, but that’s not really true. We got in on Wednesday afternoon, relaxed at the pool for a bit, then went in to town to get some dinner and explore the shops/city. We got convinced to check out this guy’s puppet shop in a back alley, which also led us to straight razor shaves for a couple dollars. From there we went back and just relaxed at the hotel as we had another early morning for sights.

The next day we went to Amber Fort, where we got to ride elephants up the hill to the entrance of the Fort.

 
My favorite part of the entire trip came after this though. We had a bunch of free time to explore the city, so we went to the main street where there were countless shops…shoes, jewelery, textiles, etc. Basically you go in to these shops and they try to sell you whatever they have, and for ridiculously expensive prices…so you say you start to bargain, and when you aren’t getting what you want…my rule is to walk away and every 10 feet you walk is 100 rupees off…because these guys HATE to see you walk out without their product…so basically you end up getting the price you want by telling them no and walking away. I ended up buying…a really cool elephant tapestry, a collapsible/folding knife, 3 different silver pendants, and a cool Ganesha painting
 
Overall, it was an amazing trip, but I am happy to be back in Bangalore with less than 1 month to go til home. So it’s back on the school grind for less than a month. Thanks for reading!
 
Peace and Love,
JL

“Filthy, Yet Beautiful” – India

For my first post, I have decided to talk a little about my opinion of India, and one of my favorite parts so far. I feel that this will be a good way to begin my blogs. So here goes.

At first, when people would ask me what I thought of India, I could not even start to explain it to them. Recently, after doing some adventuring with a few friends, I have found only one way of describing this BRIC Country. “Filthy, Yet Beautiful.” I came across this description after a few friends and I traveled to Ramanagara, India to go for a hike/climb. During this hike, I took the pictures below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in Bangalore my adventurous urges got the best of me as I began to wander around the unsafe and unfamiliar streets. This was one of the best experiences I have had and will have while in India. As I walked through a dirty field filled with cows, I came across about five local kids playing a game of Cricket. They were shocked yet excited to see a “white” person wandering around their neighborhoods. They immediately ran up to me asking me where I was from and what I was doing there. With the little English they knew, I was able to ask if I could play with them. Not knowing much about Cricket, they helped me pick it up very fast. As the time flew by, more locals came out of their homes to see what was going on, as well as play with us. I ended up meeting a few people my age that were studying finance in Bangalore. They were also ecstatic to meet me and only wanted to learn more about me and the U.S. I quickly became close friends with all the members of this neighborhood, and I love hanging out with them. This has provided me with a great first hand way of learning about the culture and people in India. This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I hope this starts to give you an idea of how my trip to India is going. I am currently working on a video of my picture and a few video I have been taking while traveling. This video will be posted in a later blog and will give you the an amazing idea of what it is like for me being in India.

Thank you

Eller Global Cohort India 2011 ~Mysore and Kabini Trip

Mysore and Kabini Trip

It’s the halfway point and India has offered a number amount of challenges but more opportunities to discover such a beautiful country with traditional cultures and values.  After three back to back nights of pulling all nighters for our final exams and projects, the entire group was anxious to explore Mysore and Kabini.  Though most of us had 10 hours of sleep for the last couple days, our excitement kept us wide awake; pumped of what we’ll see next as we traveled by bus through villages and vast fields.  When we finally arrived at the Regaalis Hotel in Mysore, Dr. Umashankar hosted a wonderful dinner on the lawn.  That night we took full advantage of the pool and delicious room service.  Everyone at that point knew that this trip was going to be amazing.

We had to wake up pretty early the next morning but thankfully the fresh eggs and bacon were heavenly.  To the people of India the word Mysore is synonymous with Sandalwood, silk and fine inlay-work using ivory. It is the home of incense sticks dipped in sandalwood oil perfume base and has two well known incense factories – the Aravinda Parimala and the Vasu and Cycle brand (together these two account for 70% of the incense stick export from India).  Our first visit of the day was to the Infosys training campus.  Infosys is a software testing company who obviously know how to take care of their employees.  The campus was full of fitness centers, pools, movie theaters and even bowling alleys.  The campus had restaurants and shopping centers for its 40,000 employees that the company could train in a single session.  The 400 Infosys teachers train the employees on company values and other corporate information for a few months before they are official employees for Infosys.  Overall, I thought the business visit was remarkable to see how much a company invests in its employees.

~Infosys Campus

    

After the Infosys visit, we went to Chumundi Hill where people can visit the temple palace deity Chamundeshwari, a statue of Mahishasura the demon who used to trouble the people of Mysore. It was cool walking around and interacting with the vendors before reaching the actual temple.  A lot of us got ripped off buying little trinkets that feel apart 20 minutes after we bought them.  Many of us were blessed in the temple as we passed through the ritual customs of the Hindu religion. 

~Chumandi Hill and Temple

   

Later that afternoon, we also got the chance to visit the Mysore Palace which housed the Wodeyars, a royal family in Mysore’s history who ruled from 1399 to India’s independence in 1947.  Most of the architecture was carved Teakwood with lavishly carved frames surrounding massive portraits.  We actually had to take off our shoes as we walked through the palace rooms.  Although pretty dirty, it was cool walking around on cobblestone and tile built in the late 14th century.  Again after we left the palace gates all of us were attacked by the street vendors.  These vendors were selling all sorts of things ranging from instruments, boxes, fake jewelry, and sun glasses.  The general rule of thumb is dived the price by at least 5 from the vendors who are trying to rip everyone off.  There was a guy who literally followed me for a mile selling plastic sun glasses.  Initially was to sell these aviators for 250 rupees but I bought the glasses for 50 rupees.  Eller would be proud of all our newly learned negotiating skills.  Our last night in Mysore was of course outrageous and extremely fun.  With a month into school, most of us have gotten really close as friends and love hanging out. 

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Our bus ride to Kabini was ridiculously bumpy as we traveled on a dirt path through miles of fields for a couple hours.  But when we got to our 5 Star Resort (Orange County Resort) all of us were besides ourselves.  This hotel overlooked a river and the huge jungle full of elephants and tigers.  All the food was inclusive with fresh ice cream, kabobs, salads, and pastas.  All of our rooms were separate houses each with a Jacuzzi.  That night my roommate and I threw a Jacuzzi party which was awesome.  Although the water wasn’t initially warm, we dumped hot shower water to make it bearable.  We were too happy to care about the mosquitoes biting us or the cool water…. We were in Kabini and having an amazing time.  The next day we woke up to an amazing breakfast with custom omelets and fresh fruit.  Although the weather was rainy, we all had a good time hanging out in each other’s rooms.  Later that day, a group of us crossed the river and went on a Safari through Nagarhole National Park.  We got to see a bunch of deer, monkeys, wild dogs, a leopard, and some elephants.  It was pretty cool to see these animals without any fences like in a zoo.  That night we had an amazing final dinner and celebrated knowing we had a long bus ride back to Bangalore the next morning.

~Kabini

    

Welcome to the Eller Undergraduate International Blog!

Vannessa Kramer at the Taj MahalWe thought it would be fun to hear about our Eller students as they travel around the world for their summer abroad programs.

We have invited students to be guest bloggers to share their experiences while they are abroad. We have students in Costa Rica, China, India, and Spain this summer who are participating in engaging in different international experiences.

This is an interactive blog, so please comment and ask questions.

We are happy to hear about everyone’s experiences!