Travels to India

It was during January where I received confirmation from my tutor that our school led bid, for a proposed visit to New Delhi, India was successful.  India was a place where I have always wanted to visit, as I come from an Indian family it is a country of great significance towards me. Also it would be great to see how the retailers operate in India and to see some of the shopping malls, but also some of the traditional markets. I have never travelled to India before and I have benefited a lot from the trip academically and also have gained a personal experience.

We arrived in Delhi around 4.00am Tuesday morning, and I was feeling very tired as I have never experienced a long haul flight before. We had a few hours sleep in before starting off our trip; we visited a market which was just outside of old Delhi, so it was the traditional side. We were amazed by the amount of people there, my own perception of India before going was that it was not going be as clean and modern as the UK and maybe thought of it as a third world country, but I was wrong. Delhi exceeded my expectations and we encountered the hustle and bustle of city life. The markets and shops there were small but there were many of them, you could see that these businesses were run by close knit families, and there was a feeling that this meant everything for the people running the shops.

On the second day we met the Indian students who are coming over to UCLAN to study in their final year. We met them at their school the IRS, and also met the tutors. The students were very friendly and we discussed thoroughly about Preston, and what they should expect when they come over. Also we talked about the course and whether they do things slightly different in India. We then finished off talking about the major differences between Delhi and Preston, they seemed very engaged and were not shy too ask any questions which was good as the session was more productive. After this we all went together to see some of the shopping malls. This is when I was blown away as I was not expecting this, the mall may have been the size of the Trafford Centre, and was very clean and prestigious. They had all the well – known brands there that are recognisable brands, but did also have some Indian retailers there as well; in addition it was a good time to get to know the students more.

The next day we headed to Agra as we were visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal. This was a great monument to visit as it was an educational visit on the culture of India and how the Mughal Empire made a palace in memory of the late Mumtaz. It was a complete different experience to just seeing an image of the Taj Mahal, the size of it was huge and I did not expect it to be this big and it just got bigger and bigger the closer we went. It was an exquisite day and one I will never forget.

The fourth day we met up with the Indian students again, to visit a manufacturing plant. We saw each stage of the process from making the product from material, to being the finished product in the packaging. The factory was a reasonable size and there were many employees, it was very warm in the rooms and it made me think on how difficult it would be to work in those conditions. Later that day we departed from the factory and went to The Kingdom of Dreams, which was a blend of India’s culture, heritage, arts & crafts and cuisine. For some of the Indian students they have never visited the Kingdom of Dreams so it was a first time for them as well, which was good as it more enjoyable when you have never visited a place rather than seeing the same thing can be quite boring. It was educational as well as you visit each state of India the theme changes, so you could see the differences. The Indian students later that day decided to take us on a night out in Delhi to experience the night life so we visited Khan market, which is the most expensive area in Delhi due to its location, the bar we went to was pleasant, and then the students took us to a nightclub, which seemed very up market, people were smartly dressed, for example men were in suits, it seemed like it was one big business meeting with loud music. I presumed this must be how people dress when they go out; also the nightclub itself was in very prestige condition, like a 5 star hotel as oppose to the ones we have in the UK.

Overall I feel that from the visit to India, that I have gained a lot of experience and that this will help me academically also. I have gained a lot of new knowledge on how India’s retail sector works and also the culture. Most importantly I think that we left the Indian students more knowledgeable about UCLAN and life in Preston which made them less worried about coming over here and felt more confident in moving to another country. I feel that we comforted the students and that we have made friends with them so that they already know someone is here for them when they come over and that they will not be alone. As much as what I have gained from the experience I also feel that I know more of Indian values and culture than before and how peoples life are in India compared to the UK. I definitely think that I have benefited from the visit, and this has persuaded me to go and visit India again in the future, this opportunity which UCLAN has provided is great and I would recommend more of these educational visits.