My experience living in India has been amazing so far, and successfully integrating into the New Delhi community has been a huge part of why I am enjoying my time here. There are many things that have helped me to meet new people, form strong relationships and just enjoy the experience.
Being open to new experiences and saying “yes” when asked to do something is a great way to integrate into new places. I’ve noticed that my initial reaction when asked to participate in new activities is often an inclination to be guarded with my time. This can be helpful from the standpoint of productivity at work, but when it comes to fully enjoying new experiences, meeting new people and just having a good time in a different culture, going against this resistance and saying "yes" to new things is honestly almost always the way to go. During my second week, here my cousin asked me if I wanted to play futbol. I was feeling tired and not yet adjusted, so I wanted to say no. But I ended up agreeing and inviting another Fulbright friend along.
This is one of the best decisions I have made!
Since that night, playing futbol in Delhi has been an awesome highlight of my experience. It has been a fun way to connect with my cousin and friend, and it has also provided a great channel to integrate into the Delhi community.
Anther important quality when living in a new place is patience.Living in India is completely different than living in the U.S. From the food one eats to the quality of air one breathes to day-to-day life, India and the U.S. are quite different. As a result, adjusting takes time. First I had to create a system that allowed me to stay mentally and physically in good spirits. I joined a gym, and I make sure to eat healthy foods, attend a weekly meditation class, and try to stay connected to my friends and family from back home. After all, I need to take care of myself to be positioned to fully enjoy the amazing adventure that life in India brings (such as attending really cool conferences like the one below).
Next, I am all about creating friends with diverse groups of people. Within the Delhi community, there are many sub-communities that one can explore. Making an effort to connect with people from many walks of life has been an amazing part of my experience.
Whether it has been playing futbol at the adidas base plaza, attending art galleries with other Fulbright students, going to dance clubs with my cousins, getting lunch with think-tank colleagues or having study sessions with my IITD classmates, the spectrum of people I have become friends with is amazing.
Recently I had a birthday celebration, and over 50 people attended! The incredible thing was not the number of people, but rather the amount of diversity within that group! I was unsure if people would get along, but it turned out to be a really nice event. People came from all countries, backgrounds and interests.. it's definitely the best party I have had!
As you can tell, I'm really enjoying life in India! I look forward to sharing more stories with you over the next few weeks.