'People aren't afraid to show who they are'

'People aren't afraid to show who they are'


For around ten days, five students from ‘The University of Namur’ in Belgium, along with their teacher, David, had visited St Josephs’ College of Arts and Science to learn about Indian culture and lifestyle.

Thrilled: (From left) Andrea, Brice, Isadora, Camille, Charlotte and David.  dh photo by dinesh s k

The excited bunch, which consisted of students between 18 and 21 years of age, spoke to Metrolife on their short stay in Bangalore and what they learnt from the City.

As part of a cultural exchange programme, the students were sent here to become more aware of the various issues plaguing the society and the way of life of Indian people.

During their stay, the group lived in the homes of a few Josephites, who will be visiting Belgium in a couple of days to do the same.

During their stay, the students went all over the City in autos, gorged on Indian food, visited a slum and even took a short trip to Mysore.

Ask them about their first impression of the City and Camille says, “You get to see so many different stratas of society in just one place but at the same time, you also realise that you cannot see just one city in India and generalise.”

Many also observe the pride with which people practise their religion.

It is a good thing, says Charlotte and adds, “Back home in Belgium, it’s not good to
display religion. The differences are blended and people prefer to think of everyone as the same. But here, people are not afraid to show who they are, which is nice.”
Brice, the only male student in the group, says he was thrilled at the opportunity of visiting India.

He made good friends with some of the boys out here and even got to see a little bit of the night life.

“Only when you visit other countries, you realise how similar people are in so many ways,” he adds.

Though the girls couldn’t go out in the night, they highly appreciate the hospitality they got from the Indian families who hosted them.

Isadora says, “The concept of guests being equivalent to god is very impressive. I even liked the bond shared between the parents and children. Back home, children begin to live independently as soon as they turn 18. Here they are protected and get to learn so many values from their elders.”

Think of Belgium and the chocolates come to mind. The group informs that the place is even known for its ‘French fries’ and beer.

But when asked what they think of the chocolates and beer out here and they would rather not comment.

But they do have a lot to say about Indian food. Having tried rice, appam and stew and even the biryani, they have loved every morsel.

“We just had to ignore the spice because it was there in almost everything. But we enjoyed the food, especially the paneer. We never get to have Indian food back home so we didn’t mind trying the local food out here,” says Andrea.

Now that the Indian students will be visiting their homes, the group has already decided to what all they want to show them in Belgium.

“We can’t wait to take them to all the popular hangouts in our City and at the same time, we want to expose them to some of the social issues that even Belgium faces.

Hopefully, they too will get a peek into our culture and learn something from us,” sums up Charlotte.

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