I visited India the summer before my sophomore year in high school. I was only 15 at the time ,and I was traveling alone. I was a bit scared to be traveling internationally by myself but I was even more thrilled about the adventures that awaited me. While I was there I experienced what it would be like to grow up in India, and when the trip was over I appreciated what all we have here even more.
First, when the plane landed in the crowded, hectic, and a bit unorganized airport of Bombay, by our standards at least, my first impression was that I was in for a culture shock. I had been taught the national language, Hindi, and the state language, Guajarati, in advance which helped me find my way out of maze like airport. The plan ride had lasted an exhausting 18 hours and I was very happy to be greeted with loving arms by my family which I was to stay with for the remainder of the summer. It was a five hour car ride from the airport to their small town of Navsari in the state of Gujarat.
Some of the unique experiences that I had while I was there consisted of attending classes for skills such as painting, mehendi drawing, classical Indian dance, calligraphy, and parlor arts. I spoke the language fluently which made it possible for me to understand my instructors. I really enjoyed riding in the three wheeled cars they called rickshaws to my classes. I eyed each and every single one of their outfits hanging on the side of every corner. I loved all the carts of food everywhere I turned. I wasn’t very fond of the toilets there though. They had two kinds. One was a type of whole in ground that worked like a regular toilet though and the other they called a western toilet. The western toilet was like ours but it had a jet system instead of toilet paper. I admit I was ambushed many times by beggers for money, but it helped make me realize how even the people in poverty in America should really appreciate what all they have. I saw how some of the people lived in houses made out of cow dung in empty river beds. I was astonished to see the way they carried themselves with their mannerisms. The local people were used to them and many simply ignored them. Once on a local crowded road I noticed a guy on a motor cycle knock over a guy on a bicycle and not even apologize or stop his bike. I also learned about how religious and devoted to education the middle class children are there. Most people through college go to the temple every Thursday and fast that day for they beleive it helps them succeed in their future endeavors. The children there also are not as focused on clubs, sports, and jobs at their high school levels. They are more concerned with acedemic preperation. They go to school six days a week and usually after school hours go to tuitions. Some do play sports but as a hobby and usually not through school. The biggest sport there is Cricket and every evening you can be sure to see all the little kids, teenagers, adults, even senior citizens playing it in their yard or streets. The kids and teenagers there were also very respectful and called even strangers their uncles, aunts, sisters, and ect. They did not really go out on dates in the rural areas but in the city it was a whole other ball game.
I also visited the city areas while I was there. Here it was like a new version of New York. Every one spoke English and wore western clothes. They asked me about actors like Will Smith. They ate Subway and McDonalds. They had regular taxis and not as many poor people were to be seen. It was kind of like everyone there was living the high life. I loved all the showrooms but even more the poorer people who sold things on the sidewalks for cheaper prices that you could bargain for.
All in all my trip there made me realize that we are so lucky to have the luxuries we take for granted here in America. The trip made me value education and other practical activates teenagers here pursue. I admit it did seem to me while I was there that we were a bit wilder than they are. It made me appreciate how much freedom we have here. The cultures between our two countries are very different but yet we share all the common goals of human beings such as peace, love, and happiness. We are same but different.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.