Written by Mary Kate Moloney, (University of Notre Dame) Student Correspondent UW in India: Delhi Intensive Language, Summer 2019 The street leading up to the program house. Every morning we walk from the program house to the metro, getting to see the residents of Delhi waking up and starting their day. It is a short walk, only about five minutes, but it is a battle between you and the heat– by the time we get to the program house we are so thankful for the air conditioning. All the students gather in one room and converse before class begins, and then we are called into class by our teachers. One of the most interesting and compelling characteristics of Delhi is its longevity. While walking through an area right by our program house we came upon a ruin from hundreds of years ago. It quite literally sat in the middle of the street with modern shops, restaurants, and apartments built right next to it. To see automobiles casually parked alongside and piles of trash clumped at the base of this ruin felt odd for this foreigner. It makes one understand that Delhi has a unique challenge of growing amidst already established structures (and there is quite a lot of history to maintain)— something most cities in America do not deal with on quite the same scale. India Gate is right next to most of the government buildings in Delhi. It was packed with people from all over India and a few foreigners. Being a foreigner amidst many people who are not even from Delhi themselves causes a bit of mayhem. We were asked for many pictures and stared at–a unique experience, but it really makes one think about the cultural differences here. I have found that people in India are very excited to learn about other cultures, and clearly hold an appreciation for the foreign (selfies galore!), but they also are even more excited to find out that we are learning Hindi and making an effort to learn about their culture. The differences in treatment of foreigners will be confusing and unnerving at first, and India Gate especially can be overwhelming, but it does quickly show one how not every practice of the U.S. is the norm for the rest of the world—something we must constantly keep in mind in order to be a more inclusive global citizen. This is the Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib ji. Once again, a centuries old Sikh Temple in the middle of the city. It was a very crowded bustling place on the outside but inside was meditative and peaceful. They require shoes to be taken off upon entering the temple and all hair to be covered—males and females alike. Taking a look inside the museum next to the temple allowed us to see a lot of the history behind the Sikh religion. I did not know much about it coming in, but the museum showed that the Sikh’s are very accepting of diverse beliefs. It is really interesting to see how large of a role religion plays in the daily lives of the residents as well as religion’s impact on the city itself. It is something taken very seriously that shapes local custom and interaction. Lodi Gardens was the perfect spot to go to on a restful weekend. It is free entry, has tons of shady areas, and is super quiet and peaceful. You can do yoga on the lawn, chat on benches, go for a walk and look at the scenery, and of course check out some tombs and mosques from the 1400s! It is amazing how we were able to walk right into the tombs—to be so close to that much history is a feeling unlike any other. The combination of all these things has made Lodi Gardens my favorite place in Delhi. It provides a nice break from the city life that we have grown accustomed to. Each metro station is different, and each has varying decorations: some celebrate historic art while others have modern murals up. You also never know what you will find upon emerging from the station. The South-Extension Station next to the program house is often frequented by quite a few cows. Overall I have enjoyed riding the metro, it provides independence and convenience allowing you to be free to explore all that Delhi has to offer. I had not really used public transport before coming to Delhi, but it is super simple to use, very fast, and very safe! There is a Women’s Only car at the front of each train which we prefer to use, not because we feel unsafe in the normal cars, but because there are less stares and they are less crowded. I found the above sign humorous: just more of the quirkiness of India … And watching that 1% of men who somehow end up in the Women’s Only car is pretty humorous too once they realize their error and sprint down towards the appropriate car. And lastly, a great example of how kindly we have been welcomed! The Starbucks workers were so excited to see us studying Hindi and they proceeded to tell us (in perfect English) how we needed to help them with English! They were very excited to learn what we were doing in India and how much we had seen of the country. It is awesome to see people so excited and proud of their country and eager to show it off. To top it off they invited us to a complimentary coffee tasting. A warm welcome indeed!