Shanghai, China – Survival Guide, Part 4

View of Shanghai's Pudong skyline from the Bund.

Looks like you are almost ready for life in the big city of Shanghai! Now comes the part you’ve been waiting for–what you should do for fun in and around Shanghai! Before you get started journeying around one of the most exciting cities you’ll ever be to, there are some tools that might make your travels a little easier. There are two applications I would recommend downloading if you have a smart phone or similar electronic device: Hi Shanghai and Google Translate. Hi Shanghai is a complete and regularly updated collection of just about everything you could possibly do and everywhere you could possibly go in Shanghai. It includes over 3,000 restaurants, 1,000 shopping locations, and 170 public venues. Best of all, it includes the location of the attraction on a map, and the address in Chinese. Just show your phone to a taxi driver with the Chinese address and you’re good to go. The application information is saved on your phone, so you can download the application using wifi and use it anywhere, even if you don’t have internet or a data plan!

Google Translate can also help you out when you get into sticky situations. If you don’t know Chinese and the person you need to communicate with doesn’t speak English, this application can be a lifesaver. Just type in what you want to say, and it will quickly translate it into Chinese. It displays the translation in simplified and traditional Chinese characters, and even has the option for the translation to be spoken. Unlike Hi Shanghai, this does require an internet connection. However, both applications are 100% free, and can be lifesavers.

So now that you know that, there are a couple of locations you just have to visit while you’re in Shanghai. The first, and probably the most famous attraction in Shanghai is the Pudong Skyline. It’s what you think of when you think of Shanghai. It a beautifully modern city built up on an artificially-constructed bluff above a river over the last fifteen years. The Shanghai World Financial Center (popularly referred to as “The Bottle-Opener” based on its appearance) is allegedly the world’s fourth tallest building, and the tallest building in mainland China, for now (construction is already underway for an even taller building right next to it!). There are two ways to view Pudong: from the Bund on the other side of the river, and from the Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai’s most recognizable landmark. Either way you can’t go wrong–just make sure to bring your camera, you’re not going to want to pass up these pictures! Just type the keywords into Hi Shanghai and get a taxi to take you there.

There are a couple other destinations in Shanghai you might want to visit. Shanghai is famous for the Yueyang Garden, which proved to me to be a misnomer–it’s actually a huge marketplace with an attached garden! It’s a perfect place to go for your souvenir shopping, and the garden actually presents a very quaint look at olden times China. It’s a fun getaway from the hustle and bustle of the big city, and proved to be a good day trip for me and my friends.

View from inside Yuyang Garden! Coy ponds and beautiful Chinese architecture are on proud display.

For the more adventurous, there are two day/weekend trips I would recommend. I was in China for two months, so I had enough time to research different locations we could travel a little farther to. The first is the river city of Suzhou, the Venice of Asia. You can enjoy boat rides through narrow canals and tour a number of other famous scenic spots. It’s only about an hour and a half away from Shanghai by train, and demonstrates one of China’s smaller cities experiencing explosive growth.

The view from one of Suzhou's famous canals.

My second recommendation is the lake city of Hangzhou, and the nearby mountainous Moganshan. The latter shows a more rural view of China complete with authentic villages and tea plantations. After some time in the fast-paced city, a weekend in the mountains is a scenic and relaxing break. For the daring adventurers in your group, there are breathtaking mountain views for those willing to hike in the heat!

The view of Moganshan from a mountainous tea plantation.

This survival guide could not be complete without my final recommendation: Beijing! This northern city is the cultural and political capital of China, and is famous for Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and its proximity to the Great Wall of China–all of which I suggest visiting. As I mentioned before, it’s about 555 RMB (close to $100) to get there (and about the same to get back to Shanghai), but it’s worth it. You can’t leave China without seeing its world wonder. Even though I was only in Shanghai for a couple of months, I could definitely tell a cultural difference between the two cities. I encourage you to check it out and make up your mind for yourself. Just make sure to budget yourself enough time in Beijing–my friends and I spent about three days/two nights in Beijing, and barely had enough time to see everything we wanted to. Although it’s convenient to fit into three-day weekends, you might want to take a day off work or miss a day of class (shh… I won’t tell!) to do the Great Wall of China and some of the other sites China is most famous for. It’ll be worth it in the long run!

Me and some of my friends proudly on the Great Wall of China!

And with that, I have bestowed upon you about as much information in as short of time as possible. I am confident that you are going to make your own set of memories and friends, and I hope someday soon you will be able to upload your own survival guide. I loved my time in China, the people I met there, and the wonderful memories we made together. Go into China with an open mind and an open heart, and I can promise you that you won’t regret it.

Shanghai, China – Survival Guide, Part 3

Now that you know how to eat at a restaurant more properly, the next question is: how do I get there? You’re in luck–Shanghai has a number of ways of getting around town, all of which are reasonably priced. Shanghai is the New York of Asia, and has about twice the number of people, so you ought to expect large crowds and the absence of lines (queues for most of the rest of the world). The fewer people you want to be surrounded by, the more expensive it’s going to be. But by Western standards, almost all forms of transportation in China are moderately priced.

In my opinion, the best way to get around town is by taxi. You can sit up to four people in a taxi (you can try to convince the taxi driver to allow five, but they might kick you out or try to charge you more), but you don’t have to sit with anyone you don’t know. You can hail a taxi from just about anywhere, just approach a street and raise your hand in the air. Empty taxis are designated by a green light on top of the car. We were told at orientation that all taxis in Shanghai should be Volkswagons, but they come in a number of different colors. There are red, gold, green, and blue taxis, and the color implies the company the taxi is owned by. As a rule of thumb, avoid the red taxis because they have a negative reputation in Shanghai for poor drivers and getting passengers lost. Regardless of which color taxi you decide to pick, daytime cab fare starts at 14 RMB (Chinese Renminbi, also known as yuan, and popularly referred to as kuai). That’s a little over $2, so it’s not a bad deal for distances it’s too far to walk. The further you go, the more expensive it gets. Depending on how fast your taxi driver goes and how long the car is parked at red stop lights, the charge can go up considerably!

A blue taxi ready to pick up passengers!

Sometimes it’s just too far to take a taxi. In that case, my recommendation is taking Shanghai’s new metro. Subway stations are relatively frequent and are well advertised by street signs. There are a dozen or so metro lines that criss-cross underneath the tall buildings of Shanghai. When you walk in the metro station, you will want to buy a ticket at one of the electronic kiosks. Select the English button to make things a little easier for yourself, and then touch the location you want to end up at. For example, one popular location is the People’s Square location, the Central Park of Shanghai. You click on People’s Square, and the kiosk will figure out the distance and associated cost with your subway journey there. For the most part, subway rides are about 4 RMB (about $0.75). If you plan on doing a lot of riding on the subway, it would be in your best interest to buy a refillable subway card that you can simply swipe at the security gate. You can purchase one of these at the Service Desk, and it will save you the hassle of buying a separate ticket each journey you make. Be careful–some people thought it would be a good idea to buy a large number of one-way tickets from the electronic kiosks. Unfortunately, those tickets are only good for one day from the time they were purchased, and therefore that money was wasted. Shanghai’s subway system is new and very well planned out and relatively clean–but it gets extremely crowded during rush hours (when the masses go to or come from work). Make sure you know where your wallet or purse is, and make sure to hold on to the handbars, so you don’t fall or lose any valuables.

Make the subway floor your best friend! Conveniently colored arrows direct you to the right subway line.

If you need to get out of town, then the train is for you. You need to buy your tickets early because seats fill up fast, but train tickets can be a cheap way to get around China. If you’re all the way in Shanghai, you’re probably going to want to make it to Beijing before long (you can’t leave China without seeing the Great Wall of China, obviously!). I’ll be straightforward with you: these tickets are a little more expensive. A one-way ticket from Shanghai to Beijing by bullet train (the world’s fastest, the one you’ve probably heard about on the news) takes about 4 hours and costs 555 RMB (close to $100). It might sound like a lot, but the less expensive tickets can take up to 14 hours, and some are for standing passengers only. So, if you want to make sure you won’t be on the train for an eternity, and if you don’t want to be standing the entire time, you might want to know what you’re getting into before you buy your ticket. The main train station in Shanghai has an English-speaking counter, so that’s where you’re going to want to go.

There are some modes of transportation I would not suggest in Shanghai, mainly public busses. Although these are the cheapest at only 2 RMB (about $0.33), they are extremely crowded and you as a Westerner might draw unwanted attention. If you’re going out of town, there are usually bus routes, but these can take large amounts of time. If you do decide to take the train, I warn you to get to the train station early! From someone who has run to more than one train in the train station, do not underestimate the time it takes to get to the train station, and remember that the train waits for absolutely no one! Train stations can be big and confusing, so try to get there as early as possible.

Now that you know all of that, the following are a couple vocabulary words that might help make your transportation experience go a little easier:
















Ditie Zhan

Dee-tee-ay Jon

Subway Station



Public Bus




Zuo Guai

Zo Gwai

Turn Left

You Guai

Yo Gwai

Turn Right




Zenme Qu…?

Zen-ma Chu…?

How do I go to…?



Shanghai, China – Survival Guide, Part 2

If you’re reading this, that means you’re still interested in going to Shanghai–and that I haven’t scared you away, yet. Now that you can say hello and goodbye, you’re probably pretty proud of yourself. Those are important words, but there are some others that might help make your transition a little simpler. Food and transportation are two things that you are going to have to deal with, regardless of what you’re doing in China or how long you are staying. The food you’re used to (name brands, cheese, frozen food) are available in China, but you’ll be amazed how expensive they can be! If it’s imported, it’ll cost you an arm and a leg. If you really, really want that bag of potato chips or frozen dinner, you can get it at a Western grocery store (such as City Shop or Tesco, both popular chains in Shanghai).

But for those who don’t want to spend $10 for a pack of noodles to keep in the freezer, you can either buy Chinese brands (which you have to guess what’s in it–intuition tells you what it should be, but the label and packaging is entirely in Chinese!) or you can spend a lot of your time eating out. Without a car, buying bags of groceries is not as good of an idea as it is back home–remember, you have to carry those bags all the way to your housing, and Shanghai can be oppressively hot! Just make sure your groceries have a logo with a white S over a blue background–that’s the Chinese seal of quality.

For me, it made more sense to eat out. It’s a little more expensive than cooking for yourself, but the food in Shanghai is tasty and a social event. If you’re in China with a group, I’ve found that food is the best way to make friendships and talk to new people. Shanghai has an entire range of food types, but know that they’re probably not the same as the ones you’re used to back home. They have American food, Italian food, and Mexican food, but it all has a bit of a Chinese flair. You’ll get used to it–and miss it as soon as you get home from your trip!

An important topic is Chinese eating etiquette, which means (you guessed it!) chopsticks. They’re devilishly tricky if you’ve never used them before, but you’ll learn quickly… it’s either that or you’ll be hungry for the first couple of days! I can’t explain how to use chopsticks on here, it’s something you have to try for yourself. I suggest practicing before you get to China in order to avoid unwanted chuckling at your expense! As soon as you do learn how to use chopsticks, there are some things you need to know about them. First of all, do not stick your chopsticks directly into a pile of rice and leave them there–that’s offensive because it resembles burning funeral incense. A lot of Chinese restaurants serve their food family style, in which you have a large number of different dishes you share with the rest of the table. This gives you a great opportunity to taste a bunch of dishes you would have never thought to try before. Take what you want, but remember the rest of the table wants to eat, too! Although in America we assume Chinese food usually includes rice, it is important to know that rice and noodles are considered “poor man’s food”–cheaper staple foods that fill you up quickly. Therefore, restaurants or families will serve the more expensive, elaborate, and ornate meat dishes first. Noodles or rice are usually served last to fill you up if you still have room.

Now that you know all of that, it’s time for you to learn some vocabulary! Before you know it, you’ll be eating like a pro.





Faun Dee-on



Me Faun



Me-on Tee-ow











Bu Yao

Boo Yow

I Do Not Want

Mei You

May Yo

I Do Not Have











Shway Gwo


Make sure to try new things while you’re in China–no one knows what you might like, yourself included! Many restaurants have menus that have English translations, so look for those. At the very least, most restaurants have some sort of pictures that you can point at if they look yummy. However, I do not suggest randomly pointing to a line of Chinese characters and ordering that. Some restaurants (especially the less expensive ones that target local Shanghainese people) specialize in food that people from the West are not used to. These include, but are not limited to: heart, colon, intestines, and other animal parts not popular in the West. Go in with an open mind, but make sure to know what you’re ordering if you have a week stomach or are particular in the type of meat that you eat.

Me and my classmates enjoying some authentic Chinese food and Keke Kele (Coca Cola) after class!

Shanghai, China – Survival Guide, Part 1

My laoshi (teacher) from Mandarin House teaching us our colors in Chinese!

Greetings from Shanghai, China–the city of inspiration! It has been my extreme pleasure to spend the last two months in this enormous, fast-paced, breathtaking city, the largest proper by population in the world. This was my second time going to a country by myself, and each time I surprised by the intensity of the culture shock–and the shock to emotion.

So, over the course of these next several blog posts, it is my goal to help you manage your transition from America to Shanghai. I loved my time in China, but I understand (and went through) many of the difficulties associated with moving to such a different environment. I hope that my experiences–some triumphs, some travails–will help you with your journey to the Far East.

A great place to start is with some of the words you really need to know before you get to China. I spent my first month in China studying Mandarin Chinese (the language understood by the Chinese people of Shanghai). This is a great start to communicating with the locals and many millions of people in the world’s most populous country. I do have to warn you though: Mandarin is only one of the languages spoken in China–Mandarin and Cantonese are the two predominate languages, but the people in Shanghai speak a variation of Mandarin known as Shanghainese. In addition, a huge number of people you will probably be communicating with in China are expats (short for expatriates, people who have emigrated from their home country and now live in a foreign country). These expats are from all over Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and there are a large number of restaurants and social events geared toward this group.

Regardless of where a person comes from or what their native tongue, I found most people living in Shanghai were able to understand either Mandarin or English–so you’re in luck. Most expats understand some English, but you will need some Mandarin for basic communication with the local Shanghai population. Since you are coming from the University of Louisville, you’re good on the English side of things; the Mandarin, on the other hand, might be a little more difficult!

I won’t lie to you–Mandarin is an incredibly difficult language, especially for native English speakers. Mandarin does not share a language root with English, and therefore grammar and sentence structure is impressively different. It takes about four years of intense study to be certified fluent in Mandarin, but there are a couple words that can help you get around.

PIN YIN (Chinese with English letters)



Ni Hao

Nee How



Z-eye Gee-in

Goodbye/See You Again


She-ay She-ay

Thank You

Bu Keqi

Boo Ke-chee

You’re Welcome







Those words will get you from the airport to where you’re staying, but I definitely suggest taking supplemental language classes in order to make the most out of your trip. I studied with a program called Mandarin House that offered intensive language classes, available during the day or evening. Friendly instructors, challenging peers, and real-life practice helps the language studies to sink in a whole lot faster than you might think possible. It gets frustrating at times, but it’s worth it when you can actually communicate with your taxi driver or know when someone calls you a foreigner!

Bangalore, India – June 20, 2011

Well, my time with Session I of USAC here in India is about to come to a close. After five long weeks here in Bangalore, my time is just about over. Thursday marks the last day of classes for me, and after that we will each be going our different ways. Some will be returning home immediately after classes end, some are going to journey a little more throughout India and then go home, and some of us are going to travel for a little bit and then come back and start the second session of the program. I’m planning on going to Mumbai, Jaipur, Agra, and New Delhi before coming back to Bangalore. By then, I’ll be very tired and very willing to meet the new set of students, teaching staff, and opportunities that await during the second session.

With this in mind, I fear that this last journal may be a little more nostalgic than it should be. I just got back from a delightful and very relaxing weekend with eleven of my new best friends in the amazingly beautiful Goa. We spent the weekend on the beach, in the pool, laying in the sand, getting tan (and getting a little bit burnt), and just enjoying the little time we had left together. I am very sad that our time as a group is so close to ending. We truly bonded like a family, and I can only hope that the second session will become as close as our small group did so quickly. Before we all head back to our different directions, we still have plans to tour the slums, to attend a henna party, and eat a final farewell dinner with our Resident Director and his family.

After the presentations of the last Service Learning class, I realize now that some of the things I have seen so far in India do not adequately describe the Indian scenario. The village, school, orphanage, and many of the parts of India we were shown may not be representative of the whole country. International aid, government intervention, and a whole lot of help from Christ University’s Centre for Social Action have heavily influenced these locations. Therefore, they might not show what the majority of India’s rural villages, schools, and orphanages are. However, I believe these will be a guiding light for what others across the country can grow to become.

The many actions of so many different help groups have combined to start a movement for the betterment and empowerment of the people of India, and have helped tens of millions of Indians out of poverty, neglect, malnutrition, and abuse of human rights. But there is much that still needs to be done. After my time here in India and with this Service Learning class, I will be able to investigate with my friends and family the many ways that we back in the United States will be able to use our time, talent, and treasure better the lives of people in this beautiful country, 10,000 miles away.

Last Group Picture
Our study abroad group at the Resident Director’s house. We enjoyed authentic Indian food and shared our favorite memories before all going our different directions.

Taj Mahal
Between Session I and II, we journeyed to northern India to see the world-famous Taj Mahal. In this picture, a small group of students smile below one of the most beautiful buildings ever constructed.

Bangalore, India – June 11, 2011

Wow. Just when I start to think I am getting used to India, I am proven wrong once again. I had been looking forward to this weekend for a while, but I don’t really think I could have prepared myself for what I was about to experience. With my Service Learning class, we had been told we were going to be visiting a school and orphanage for HIV+ children, but that didn’t even begin to explain what we saw. When I imagine an orphanage, I usually think of the classic Charles Dickens novel, Oliver Twist!, a book and musical set in a dirty, rainy, muddy, and cold orphanage in England. On Friday, we drove to the outskirts of Bangalore and turned off the main highway to a little side street, and continued until we came to an enclosed campus of lush vegetation and respectable buildings. We walked a little further to a school for children with HIV/AIDS. I could not have expected how nice and well-kept the facilities were. Our guide was very welcoming and informative, and then showed us downstairs, outside, and to where the children were playing before dinner.

My only complaint was that we could not stay longer. Although we were not allowed to take pictures of any of the children (to protect their identity), their faces stay in my memory better than pictures could have. I am still amazed as to how happy and smart the students were. One of the students took me to the classroom and read the names of all of his fellow students, and explained the pictures on the walls, and another showed me the animals back behind the building. I was taken to the garden, shown the flowers and vegetables, was asked to play on the playground, and spent a lot of time drawing pictures with many of the students. They were very appreciative of our time and attention, and their smiles were more than enough to make your heart melt.

With that being said, though, I realize that there were still things in the orphanage that could be made better and that most orphanages in India are probably not up to par with the one we toured outside of Bangalore. Despite their huge smiles, many of the children had poor dental care, and their skin was riddled with lesions and scars. Our tour guide of the orphanage explained to us that the center was established to remain sustainable after the first couple of years of overseas support, but I still think more can be done. I don’t know how much can be done with the meager funds available to college students, but I hope to see how funds from the United States would be able to go to the healthcare of these children, guaranteeing them the healthiest and most productive lives possible. As I put online when I was talking to some of my friends back home, the time I spent at the orphanage is sure to be one of the most rewarding and longest-lasting experiences of this trip.

After a very emotional day yesterday, today we went outside of Bangalore again, this time to visit with a rural village. Like yesterday, I was once again surprised with the smiles, laughter, and happiness of the children we came into contact with. After a long drive outside of the city, we stopped at a colorful little rural schoolhouse. After singing and dancing with the children, we left the schoolhouse and went to the village where we could talk to some of the local women. More than anything, I was amazed by the content attitude of the villagers we talked to. Despite not having some of the amenities we have back in America, they were perfectly happy. When asked if they wanted to move to the city, we were told that they were much happier in their village; life was simpler, and they had their family, which mattered most of all. It was very humbling to hear from someone who had so much less material wealth that they were perfectly content, something that makes me question the almost ingrained American materialism.

After some time at a local house, we went to the Self-Help Group (SHG) of one of the villages, where we heard how Christ University’s Centre for Social Action had aided some of the local women to band together and raise money. Through this, the women act collectively to better their community and empower themselves in the home environment.

Orphanage and School for HIV Children
View from just outside of the orphanage. I am sad I couldn’t take pictures with any of the children, but I hope I will be able to see them one more time before I return back to the States. This time gave me much hope for the future of these children.

Self-Help Group
The women of this local Self-Help Group were kind enough to invite us to their meeting place and introduce us to how they come together as a community for a collective goal of empowerment and community strengthening.

Bangalore, India – June 5, 2011

It has been another long week! After a full week of classes, we left for the jungle city of Coorg. We drove through the night on a bus and arrived early the next morning. After a quick refreshing nap at the Sri Venkateshwara Hotel, we made out for our first trek through the Indian jungle! It proved to be much more dangerous than I had expected–no one had warned me about the prevalence and tenacity of leeches. Despite much blood being lost, we climbed to the top of the mountain with the rest of the USAC hikers, and we enjoyed the beautiful sight from the top of the mountain. Standing at the very top, overlooking the entire valley, I felt on top of the world. Away from the pollution and sounds of Bangalore, I could have sworn I was back at my home in Kentucky, somewhere on the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. Neither the rain, nor the wind, nor the leeches could ruin the moment. In that moment I realized exactly how thankful I was to be in India.

Later that night we went out again to see the local waterfall, and enjoyed some Gobi Manchurian (and were delightfully surprised to find out it was made out of cauliflower and not chicken!). The next day we woke up early once again, but this time to see elephants! Our Resident Director informed us that only in the early morning would we get to experience the elephants being bathed. After a fun time with the elephants (but unfortunately no riding of them), we continued on to a Buddhist colony. I found it very interesting that in a community known for its chastity, charity, and selflessness, many of the Buddhist students carried cell phones! Looking back now, I guess it’s not as impractical as I first thought. Although it is different than one would originally have thought back in the States, I suppose the Buddhist students are youth themselves, and they are youth living in the present. It proved to be an interesting juxtaposition to what I would have expected back in the States.

We ended a relaxing weekend in Coorg by visiting a milk co-op. There we saw how rural villagers brought milk from their cows, providing a little extra money for the poor villagers and milk for thirsty city dwellers–an interesting business model for developing countries.

Coorg Mountaintop
After a challenging trek up the mountain, the USAC group stood victorious overlooking the breathtaking view of the valley below. The French exchange students joined us, a surprise that proved to give a different perspective in contrast to our American viewpoint.

Bangalore, India – May 28, 2011

It was less than a week ago when I left my comfortable home in Alexandria, Kentucky to travel to India–a land that I couldn’t have even imagined a week ago. After 23 hours of flying and 10,000 miles, I can’t imagine anything else. I didn’t know if I would be in the middle of a desert or a jungle, but I’m starting to learn that the climate and topography were the least of my worries. Becoming acclimated to that which is India is much more difficult than simply wearing different clothing and applying sunscreen; instead, it is the process of trying to understand the people, the music, the clothing, the religions, and the way of life. Each of these things, and many, many others, are all rolled into an incredibly complicated, beautiful, and wonderfully diverse enigma that is the culture of India. More than International Marketing, Yoga, or even Service Learning, I am constantly assured that the culture of this country will be the most important thing I learn about during my time here. Time that I am so very thankful for.

Wednesday marked our first real taste of our new home–the southern Indian city of Bangalore. We left the confines of both the National Games Village (our housing complex) and Christ University (where we were taking courses), and journeyed into the great unknown: downtown India. It was much different than anything else I have ever seen. All we were doing was acquiring our Residency Permits from the Indian government, but it was a rude awakening to the Indian system and the way things are done in much of the rest of the world. This was the first time I realized that much of the world doesn’t use lines (or ques, for that matter), but it’s a competition to be first in line.

Today, Jacob (our Resident Director) took us on a tour of downtown Bangalore, and exposed us to some of the things we have never seen in America. Our day started out at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, one of the remnants of the British occupation of India. Jacob told us that the line of people outside of the church was for food; in celebration or despair, parishioners would bring food to the church to share with some of those that were hungry. I was shocked by the number of Indians waiting in line to receive the small sums of food given out, and by the extent of the poverty of the hungry. The line was filled with not only men, women, and children, but also the handicapped, the old, and the very young. It was heartbreaking.

After a very somber start to the morning, we drove to Russell Market, and experienced a whole new set of smells, tastes, and sights. We continued on to a Sikh temple, a spot that personally touched me a lot. The guru told us that just as the sun pours its life-giving light on the entire world, so does the Creator love all that has been created. Despite color, nationality, religion, creed, sexual orientation, wealth, or imperfections, the Creator loves all. Although I am not a Sikh, this was still a message that resonated with me, and one that I am sure I will take back to the States after I leave India. Later in the day we went to a Hindu temple and a restaurant where we ate authentic Indian food off of a banana leaf. All in all, the day was very much a success. I’m beginning to really love the group of students I’m here with, and I’m looking forward to the next four weeks here!

Three USAC study abroad students going to get our Residency Permits. This was the first time any of us had ridden in an auto-rickshaw in India, and it was quite the nerve-wracking experience. We eventually made it, despite nearly colliding with numerous other vehicles. It was the first of many fun and unpredictable rickshaw rides.

Sikh Temple
The USAC group posing in front of the Sikh temple with our guru. The temple was exceptionally welcoming and invited our questions. I look forward to telling friends at home about this experience.