My name is Shekhar Kumar, and I am an Industrial Engineering student at the University of Toronto. I chose IIT Bombay for my exchange because I wanted a different experience than what I would have received in Europe or Australia, and because the semester would allow me to re-connect with my roots. I enjoyed my experience, and would like to share a few insights:
(1) Learning Jugaad. It seems as if any problem could be solved with being resourceful and clever about the tools at hand. Ranging from the use of tape to prevent mosquitos from entering my hostel room, or the use of bicycle horns on a motorcycle, there was no shortage Jugaad examples in India.
(2) Accepting Chaos. A lot of my initial experience involved coming to terms with the very different way that people go about their lives, and the social, cultural, and academic changes that come with leaving a country you’ve grown up in. Having been able to perform reasonably well, I now have the confidence in knowing things will turn out okay, if I am placed in a difficult or challenging environment.
(3) Value of Community. 19 other brilliant, and compassionate exchange students from Europe and the US joined me for the semester. The shared experiences of adjusting to a foreign land, or of trips to Goa and Aurangabad made the experience far more memorable, than if I had done it on my own.