i'm an alumna of the cls punjabi 2010 group, and i've started this discussion so that you of the 2011 group can ask any questions you may have, voice any concerns, and just express general excitement and nervousness if you want to! i'll happily respond to anything to the best of my ability, so no need to be shy! i hope to be able to meet you all at orientation!
hey lin :-) you'll stay 2 nights in d.c. for pre-orientation, then, on the third day, you leave for your destination.
Hi Jessica! I'm going to be taking Beginning Punjabi this summer for CLS. Is there anything you would recommend that I start practicing before the trip or anything that I should research about? Would it be a good idea for me to learn the Gurmukhi script ahead of time? Did the pace of the language learning feel very extremely fast? My biggest worry is that I won't be able to keep up with all of the new information.
Also, what was your favorite part of the program last year? (I realize that that's probably a difficult question)
I'm so excited for this summer, and it will be great to meet all of the other people on the trip!
hi allison, nice to hear from you!
since you are a student in the beginners' level, there is no need for you to practice anything, as they do not expect you to have any prior knowledge. however, if you want to start studying, for example to learn the gurmukhi script ahead of time, it certainly wouldn't hurt you - it will definitely give you a great head start, though that will be the first thing you learn/review in classes.
there is a good amount of flexibility in the pace of classes. not only were we separated into beginning, intermediate and advanced, but there were also subgroups within these levels (for example, i was in intermediate c, but there was also intermediate a and intermediate b). furthermore, once a week on fridays, each level had a meeting with the head of the institute to discuss any issues, concerns, and problems we had with the classes and the general structure of things; she would take notes on what we said so that she could implement proper changes as soon as possible, and the schedule for next week was also discussed during these meetings. hopefully, these things will remain for the 2011 group.
when you say is there anything you should research, do you mean about the language or the culture?
my favorite part of the program? difficult question indeed, but i would have to say it would be getting the opportunity to meet people and to meet families that then came to treat me like family, and with whom i still stay in contact.
stay excited, it's going to be the experience of a lifetime! best of all, no one's experience will be the same, and each of you will take away something very personal that i guarantee will change the way you view yourself and the world.
Thanks for explaining. It sounds like the program is really well organized. I studied abroad in India last summer and it was a great experience, but it was a lot less structured than what CLS seems to be in terms of classes.
When asking about whether I should do any research, I was talking about Punjabi culture or really anything else that you think would be important/useful to have prior knowledge of. Currently I am taking Hindi and Urdu, and I was in Delhi last summer so as of right now I have a lot more knowledge about Central North Indian culture than Punjabi culture. I'm really looking forward to learning as much as possible about Punjab and it's culture and people.
well, the punjabi program is small and young, so it still has a ways to go as far as organization, but it's working on it!
not sure if there's anything you need to have prior knowledge in general as opposed to just learning first-hand when you get there, but are there certain concerns that you have that you might want to know more about prior to your trip?
I just sent you a message with a bunch of questions -- please feel free to answer whenever you have time! Thanks!
i was very happy to get your message! i was almost finished my rather lengthy reply when i hit the backspace button and, instead of deleting a typo, it took my browser back a few pages; i pushed the forward button, but the reply was no longer there :-( i have to re-type what i wrote, but it should be in your inbox tomorrow!
clothing is a very valid, very important question, especially as a woman - not strange at all!
in chandigarh, you can get away with either, so it really is a question of personal comfort. because of the nature of the location, being a planned, modern city, you will see many women in western clothes; jeans and t-shirts are all over the place. if you choose to go this route, my advice is: don't wear jeans that are too form-fitting (a semi-loose straight-leg is your best bet), don't wear shirts that are too low-cut/too tight/show midriff, and keep your shoulders and legs covered (don't do spaghetti strap shirts, and although you may see some women in capris or maaaybe a skirt or dress - calf-length at shortest - the majority wear jeans). modesty is your best friend in india - when in doubt, just cover it.
the salwar kameez or churidar kameez will work in any situation. you just can't go wrong in one of those. the sari, not so much - it'd be an odd choice for a young lady, unless it's a special occasion (i did break out my silk one for the end-of-the-summer celebration, that counts). there are a ton of fabric stores, where you will find beautiful colors and patterns should you choose to get a suit made (there are also ready-made suits that you can purchase).
if you want a mix of western and indian, jeans and a kurti is an excellent choice.
as far as shoes, you're going to need some sturdy sandals, and maybe another pair with a low heel in case you want/need to get dressed up.
i'm happy you're excited, i love seeing the enthusiasm coming from the punjabi group! keep the questions coming!