During our first few days in India, one of our tour guides described the country as being full of contrasts – that the people, culture, religion, food, and many other areas are full of diversity that come together to create one, unified India.
In a way, this is also an apt description for our trip. We combined different topics – education, sightseeing, exploration, fun, friendship, and more – into one trip that none of us will soon forget.
The trip’s business visits introduced the group to what it is like to conduct business in India from the perspectives of economists, managers, marketing experts, entrepreneurs, and accountants. Our hosts at KPMG, Shadra University, the Bombay Stock Exchange, Amity University, Ogilvy and Mather, the Western Union Call Center, and the Agrawal Group of Institutes were incredible, teaching us not only about their respective fields but also about India in general. The things we learned help illuminate Indian business, but also added to our knowledge of international business. As a group, we were blown away by both our hosts’ knowledge and their hospitality.
Our sightseeing visits provided yet another taste of the beauty of India, as we were able to take in the amazing sights while learning their history. Some highlights included the Qutb Minar, the second tallest tower in India; the Bahai (Lotus) House of Worship; the Red Fort, an emperor’s fort made entirely of red sandstone; the Presidential Palace and Parliament Building; the India Gate; the beautiful Hanging Gardens in Mumbai; the Mahatma Gandhi museum; the breathtaking Taj Mahal; and another incredible fort, Fatehpur Sikri. We also got to explore the cities of Mumbai, Goa, and New Delhi, each with its unique layout, architecture, and people. Overall, the group was stunned by the sights we were able to take in. Visiting destinations like these gave us better insight into the history of India and why so many of our hosts referred to the country as “incredible India.”
There were also some aspects of the trip that were solely for fun! Our visit to Goa was spent almost entirely on the beach, enjoying the sand, water, cold drinks, and even some parasailing. We also had a pool party in our hotel in Mumbai. On the shopping end of things, we got to visit the Crawford Market, the Janpath Market, the Khan Market, and Dilli Haat, where we were able to practice our newfound haggling skills and purchase some fun souvenirs to take home with us. We also got a taste of the amazing food India has to offer at a few restaurants across the country, including a celebration for the wedding anniversary of Professor Sirias and his wife!
Traveling through India is best described as being an adventure in itself – getting anywhere with 25+ people is always a challenge! One of our tour guides told us it takes 5 things to drive in India: a good horn, good eyes, good brakes, patience, and a lot of luck. We found this to be true as we were amazed watching how motorcycles would weave in and out of traffic and drivers in general appeared to be fearless. Getting anywhere by bus seemed to take at least an hour, but at least we got to see more of India when we were traveling that way. We had a few bumps in the road with our travel plans, including a cancelled flight that led to an 18-hour bus ride across the country, but for the most part we got to where we needed to be on time and saw all the things we had set out to see.
Overall, our trip to India was a great one. We saw amazing sights, learned a lot, ate great food, and bonded as a group. None of us will soon forget our trip to incredible India. (Rachel Stocki)