GETTING READY FOR YOUR TRIP!!!!

ADVICE try to pack clothes that you do not want to use anymore, so you can leave there and have more space in your luggage (I wish I would’d done this).

You are going to get a packing list, and I going to tell you what I use and what I did not.

  • Definitely you need more than $200. There are amazing things you want to bring back home, and sometimes it gets really difficult to get money out + you want to save the extra charges that some banks have for using your card in a different country.
  • Knowing the India currency or the currency of any other country it is very important and interesting!
  • Money belt (never used it). I have a small security purse that REI sells, and you can safely keep your more and other stuff in there. $65
  • ALWAYS BRING BACKUP DOCUMENTS; copy of your passport, insurance, the card you are taking, and your airline itinerary.
  • Mosquito net (never used it).
  • 1 pair of comfortable shoes or sandals. I used sandals of the time because of the heat. We did not walk too much, so they were perfect.
  • 1 pair of flip flops for showering. I did not bring them and did not need them. The showers at the places we stayed were very decent.
  • CLOTHES like I said bring the clothes you do not want. Bring something that you are comfortable and fresh, the heat makes you really tired. Bring something nice for a night out. Extra t-shirts!!
  • The first week was a little cold, so bring something light but warm (most of us were not ready for the cold).
  • Socks (never used it) 1 pair is enough.
  • UNDERWEAR, I brought underwear for every single day because I do not feel comfortable somebody washing my underwear, and because I did not know who I would be sharing the room with. Days were really long and sometimes you did not have time for small things like this, and I had to share the room with the boys. I am so happy I had underwear for every single day! My girl roommate regret not doing it.
  • Pijamas
  • I brought my own, but each place had clean towels. You can save some space here.
  • Camera OF COURSE!!
  • Ziploc bags, I never used them, but it is important to have some just in case.
  • Tissues, disposable wet wipes YES!!! I brought 1 roll of toilet paper which was really important. I bought small wipes to carry with me all the time and a big package that I left at the hotel (Used them all).
  • A thin collapsible duffer if you plan to purchase souvenirs. If I was you I would just leave all the clothes I do not want and put everything in your luggage, that way you are more comfortable on your way back. Many of us did not have the space, and it was very uncomfortable to travel with so many things.
  • Facial care (sunscreen)
  • Personal care (dental, hair,eye body) HAND SANITIZER, DEODORANT, RAZOR, INSENT REPELENT
  • Over the counter drugs. PLEASE bring something for a cold or cough, I got some kind of cold and had nothing for it.

       TAKE THEM ALL, YOU NEED TO BE READY!

Under the counter medicine

  • Vitamin C
  • Dramamine $7.89
  • Melatonin $6.57 (jet-lag) (if you have never taken this before buy the 3mg).
  • Alka-seltzer $6.29
  • Pepto-Bismol $6.29
  • Imodium $9.49
  • Ibuprofen
  • Earplugs and eye cover (optional). I did not bring any, plus the airline (EMIRATES) gave us earplugs and eye covers.
  • DO NOT BUY THE ONE IN MARSHALLS IT DOES NOT WORK EVERYWHERE!
  • Map of India (YOU DO NOT NEED IT!). $15
  • Sense of humor and flexibility (bring extra of those).
  • Bring your own snacks!! The time between meals it’s a little long

    This is the one you should get!!

This should be part of your kit. I took the picture because when I went I had a hard time, so if you do too you can just look at the picture and i will be easier to find them.

Before Your Trip

This is my first time writing a blog in English, so I am so sorry if I make any mistake. However, at the same time it is a representation of me as an immigrant whose first language is not English. So here is the process that I wanted to have before and during my time in India.

Process before your trip…

 This is a process that we should all enjoy, although it is stressful, once you get the congratulation letter everything will have a different face :).

Interview…

For this I do not have much to say more than be yourself. If you do not know something it is okay to say it, you do not need to have a perfect answer. From this, you will learn (like I did) to be okay with who you are with your answers even if they sound silly sometimes. For a while I was worried that I was not going to be selected for the program because of some of my answers, but I got the good news and that opinion about myself changed….and if you are wondering about the picture in my congratulation letter, yes we took it while in India!

Visa

If you are like me and do not read the instructions, you are going to be very frustrated. For this, you will need:

  • A picture of yourself with a white background. What I did… I took a picture of my passport picture and change the size of the picture to what it was required and it work!
  • A clear picture of your passport

I thought it was going to be easier, so please take your time to do at once. However, if for some reason you can not finish it when you started it DO NOT FORGET to write down your application ID number which is on the middle top of the page. It happened to me, and I had to start over again and learn the hard way.

These were the mistakes I did while filling out the application:

  • DO NOT write your social security or your driver license enter NA.
  • DO NOT use punctuation marks. If your name is hyphenated then use a black space instead. Do not use a period if your name has a sux such as “Jr.”
  • AND write the address as they show it even though the space is not long enough. Copy and paste what they give you, and if it does not fit IT IS OKAY!

…and here goes your first investment on your trip $61.50 for you visa!

IMMUNIZATIONS

DO NOT WAIT TILL LAST MINUTE…

Go to the doctor as soon as possible so you will know what your insurance is able to cover. If you do not have insurance Bartell Drugs store and Walgreens offer the service of the immunizations that are required to enter to India. Bartell Drugs have an international nurse that will help you with the research and the decision with some the ones that are optional (malaria).

Hepatitis A $139

Typhoid $102

For me, my insurance covered the Hepatitis A, and with my doctor we decided that I was not going to take anything for Malaria. However, I paid for the Typhoid at the community clinic in North Gate and I paid $76.78, so it was more convenient.

DO NOT FORGET to ask your doctor for CIPROFLOXACIN for traveler’s diarrhea. Most insurances cover this. WHAT I DID TO NOT USE IT… I was really worried about getting sick during India, so my cousin who traveled to Nepal recommended to take probiotics as much as possible BEFORE and DURING the trip. I was eating two yogurts everyday, kombucha, and I bought some probiotic pills called “Pearls Complete” that he recommended. I got them through Amazon for $15.49…. and I never got sick of my stomach!

Pre-Departure

Truth be told, I never thought I would be able to do a study abroad program because of the costs associated with them, and I had no idea how to sign up for scholarships. So I didn’t put any effort into doing them during my time at UWB. Then the perfect opportunity came along, a study abroad trip focusing on gender, media, and human rights during spring break…in INDIA! Practically my entire undergraduate education was centered around this topic, especially in India, it was meant to be. However, the cost almost scared me away again. But I knew that I had to at least try, and I’m so glad I did.

After my acceptance (which was a super exciting day for me!!), the Global Initiatives team were extremely helpful and encouraging, helping me step-by-step for the scholarship application process. It was my first time applying to one so I figured I wouldn’t get it, but here I am! It took care of half the cost of the tuition for this program, leaving so much of the financial burden behind. I was, and still am, truly grateful for that.

I was really excited for this trip and couldn’t stop thinking about what it would be like! But when I started to tell people about it, the outcome was usually not so great. Here’s what a typical conversation would look like:

Me: “I’m going to do a study abroad program!!”

Friend: “Cool! Where?”

Me: “India!”

Friend: “Oh…why?”

Practically every time!! No one understood (or wanted to understand) why I wanted to go to India. They warned me and told me I would get sick from the food, that’s hot, and that it’s dangerous for a woman to go. All they really knew about India was negative, which was clear to me that they did not really know anything about the country. But it didn’t work. No one could talk me out of this amazing opportunity. I knew it wouldn’t be a vacation on the beach, but I knew I was meant to have this experience that would push me out of my comfort zone and help me grow.

That being said, I still did a lot of research on what I should bring. I got all of my shots, special bug spray, toilet paper, medicine, snacks, shoes, and probably the biggest struggle was finding suitable clothes. We were told to only wear baggy clothes, none that really showed our figures, so I had to buy an almost completely new wardrobe. I’m glad I did because I was comfy in the hot weather and I didn’t draw a lot of attention to myself, but at the same time, shopping over there was plentiful (and AMAZING) so I didn’t need to over-prepare as much as I did.

By the way, if you’re not used to eating Indian food, it might not be a horrible idea if you started to work on your spice tolerance. The food I ate was some of the BEST food ever, but also incredibly spicy for my pallet.

Okay! So more specifics on the structure of my program! We had to attend three orientations: each were 4 hour meetings that went over health, safety, and cultural adjustment issues, as well as historical and political information about India to prepare us for this trip. Our last pre-departure meeting was held at a Hindu temple. This was a very interesting experience, as it was many of our first time being exposed to this type of environment. There were lots of colors, statues, rituals, which we were all amazed by, but also were a bit caught off guard because we didn’t understand what was going on. I think my tip to those of you who are thinking of doing this program is to do a bit more research on your own and ask lots of questions to your professor so you know how to conduct yourself in these environments and know what to expect. Otherwise, it was a great experience and the people there were so welcoming and kind. We got to eat really good food afterwards which was a plus!

I think some of my pre-departure tips for India are to:

  • Keep an open mind. Don’t have set out expectations of what you feel you must do while you’re abroad. Plans change and you need to be flexible with whatever happens.
  • Know that you may feel uncomfortable with a lot of the things you see and experience.
  • Understand what privileges you hold and how that may affect your experience. (Ex. a white male may have a different experience from an asian female. I will explain this more later on.)
  • Pack light! You only get 1 carry on luggage. Hand-washing clothes is easy, you can do it!
  • Bring toilet paper and feminine care items. Toilet paper is not really something that is common in their bathrooms. (Also be prepared to use the squat toilets…they’re not as scary as they look!)
  • Bring a scarf. It’ll protect you from the heat while also being useful to cover your body when necessary (such as a low-cut top or if you are visiting a temple to cover your head).
  • Bring a water bottle and stay hydrated! Only drink filtered or boiled water down there, as the tap water is not safe to drink. Same goes for raw foods, be very cautious with these.
  • Learn a little bit of Hindi! I downloaded a free Hindi app on my phone and learned a few phrases such as “Hi, my name is…” and “thank you”. It shows as a sign of respect to the locals there that you took the time to try and learn their language.
  • Have fun! This is a once in a life time opportunity to travel with your classmates and study this curriculum. You are going to have a fantastic time!

My Journey through India

Blog by Angela Wirig, Society, Ethics and Human Behavior, Gender, Media and Human Rights in India

Angela Pic

Namaste! Meera nam Angela hei, and welcome to my blog! A little background about myself, I’m a Society, Ethics and Human Behavior major in my last quarter here at UWB, and I love everything about traveling! Packing, boarding the plane, arriving to a new and foreign destination…it’s all so nerve-wracking but exciting at the same time. I still cannot believe I was selected to participate in this life changing program through this beautiful country, AND become a Study Abroad Ambassador! I will use this space to talk about some of the key moments I experienced before, during and after the program. Stay tuned for more!