Congratulations CLS Punjabi 2012 recipients! My name is Demelza, and I went on the CLS Punjabi 2011 trip. Write your thoughts here!
I'm feeling very excited to make my way to the Punjab, but there's a hint of nervousness as well. Thanks for being willing to answer questions; I definitely have plenty. Right now, as I'm getting everything ready and sort of packed, I am wondering if you have any suggestions about gifts to bring for host family, tutors, etc.? Any suggestions on other things to bring that could easily be forgotten or overlooked?
Also - what is the independent research project like?
Thanks for your help!
hi gary! i wanted to let you know what i am bringing as gifts-- small boxes of chocolate are awesome (this was popular with indian friends when i visited last year). also anything that is an american brand or has an american icon of some sort on it-- pencils, magnets, t-shirts, key chains, etc... it seemed that people in india were always asking me for an "american pen" or "american candy." if there's anything particular to your region, that would probably be cool to bring as well-- i brought maple syrup from virginia to friends in india this year & they loved it! looking forward to meeting you in DC, gary!
Hi Gary, sorry for the delay!
As far as gifts, I'll have to basically second Ilene's reply. I, too, brought chocolate, which went over well; general American things are also a good choice. However, from what I saw, the more personal you can make it, the better. Bringing pictures of your city and your family and friends - just your normal life, really - establishes a nice connection between the student and host family. Family and friendships are extremely important in India, and host families seemed to really enjoy seeing what those relationships are like here in America; it brings them into your life much more than other, less personal gifts, would. You would certainly be bringing your host family something they have not seen before - your own experience, unique to you, not a brand; it's a lovely way to start building a bridge between you and them. That being said, bringing regional-specific products or products generally unavailable in India is also a winner as far as ideas, and would supplement the photos nicely, or even work fine on their own.
The independent research project, if it hasn't been revamped since my year, is structured pretty loosely. It's like a normal class presentation, doesn't have to be anything heavy-duty. I'm a little foggy as to whether there was a writing component or no, but you will have to present to the class on the day of the final exam. You just need to pick something, anything, your interested; it can be related to some aspect of Punjabi culture, an experience you've had on the program, something you learned, etc. For example, I did a presentation on kathak dance, since I had enrolled in classes during my time in India; another presentation that stands out in my mind is that of a classmate who presented a slideshow on his travels to a Punjabi village to meet his great-grandmother for the first time. You really have a lot of range here, as well as plenty of time to decide what you'll do, so no need to fret! It's all pretty painless, objectively speaking.
We also had a separate end-of-summer presentation where each student had to perform for everyone at the institute, including the home stay families and any guests that the students invited. There were individual as well as group performances.
Feel free to send more questions my way, I'll do my best with them! I'll also be at orientation on the panel, and I can't wait to meet all of you :-)
Hey again, everyone! Thanks for all the advice/input/etc that's been shared! It's all really helpful, but I have a couple quick questions-
1. How many gifts should we bring? I don't know anything about my host family yet, and I want to make sure that I can give them something that can show everyone how grateful I am to be sharing their home.
2. The alphabet is stressing me out! I know it's been suggested here and in the pre-departure packet that we familiarize ourselves with the alphabet and a few key phrases, but I don't think I'm pronouncing any of it correctly...
3. What does one wear to a party at the consulate? I'm totally lost on that one.
Thanks again for the help everyone. I'm so excited to meet everyone, and get to Punjab!! :)
hi meera! i don't have any great wisdom about gifts, other than that you should probably bring more than you think you'll need-- you will surely meet people to give them to :) at least, that has always been my experience traveling in india.
about your clothing question: i'd say it's appropriate to wear a modest american dress or dressy pant outfit. i'm sure it's also appropriate to wear a sari or a nice salwar suit, which is what i plan to do. plus if that's not ok, you can surely buy a nice dress in chandigarh, where it sounds like western-style clothing is easy to get.
can't wait to meet you soon! :)