While our day was spent at our individual internships learning about business in India, our evening was filled with learning as well! Although we took a little break from the Indian culture by having Pizza Hut delivered and eating all of our pizza in a hotel room, we then did some exploring! We had been invited to a salsa dancing event and so 6 of us ventured out and learned how to salsa dance! We found plenty of locals that were very eager to teach us and had a great time once we got the hang of it!

Here is a picture of Anne and our gracious host Jeremy teaching us to dance!

Anne - Salsa

But the real adventure involved getting home! We had to do some major bartering with the auto-rickshaw drivers and had to completely walk away a couple of times…in the end they chased after us and agreed to our deal of 50 rupees per rickshaw! But of course once we got to the hotel they tried to charge more, we pretty clearly look like foreigners who would fall for it, but Grant wouldn’t accept that! He told them he knew it was 50, handed them the bill and then we all walked away, making it safe and sound inside of our hotel for the night.

Also, we saw HUGE bats…but again, we made it home safely!

As for our internships and the Indian workplace . . . here is the SHARE Microfin team!

Share team

After a few days at our internships, there are already some major differences that we have all realized! First of all, time is a little bit of a different concept here in India. When someone says they are going to be with you in a few moments, it usually ends up being closer to an hour. This definitely took us all by surprise our first day, but we have already learned to expect it. Another difference is the schedule of the workday. The workday starts pretty late as employees usually show up around 10:00am. You can imagine their surprise when Americans showed up at 8:30am our first day! This means that lunch isn’t until 1:30 and the day ends a little bit later than the typical American workday. Another surprise was the bathroom experience at our workplaces. Let’s just say I carry extra toilet paper in my bag… It look awhile for some of us to learn, but over time we learned the purpose for the hose in all of the bathroom stalls; I think we will stick to toilet paper!

We have also come across a few other challenges being Americans in an Indian business. The biggest challenge being names. Some people have names like Ben and David, but for the most part names are more like Ramalingeswar and other things that are extremely hard for us to remember, let alone pronounce. It can also be difficult to understand some people’s English through their accents, but we are getting better everyday! We just have to ask them kindly repeat things and people are always very gracious! Another difficulty is attempting to turn down service. Whether they want to bring you tea, coffee, water…  it is almost offensive to decline, but there is only so much tea we can drink without having to make more trips to the bathroom than we would like.

Our workstations at SHARE Microfin, filled with tea, biscuits and water of course!

Tea and coffee

 

We have already learned so much and we have only been here a week! I know I speak for the rest of the group when I say that I am looking forward to everything else we have yet to learn! Thanks for reading!

Steph Malinowski

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