Melissa, Craig Ullom, and I arrived in Mumbai last night after a 14-hour flight from Newark. Our preparation for the trip included readings, video conferences with representatives from LSR, and insights shared with others who have explored India and who are interested in partnerships among colleges and universities in our respective countries.
In a video conference with our delegation a month or so ago, LSR’s Principal Gopinath offered two pieces of advice for first time travelers to India. First, she noted that India is a land of paradox and nuance and that “for everything that is true about India, the opposite is true.” Second, she suggested that the best way to experience the rich texture of India is by suspending all Western assumptions of time and space. While our introduction to India at this point consists of nothing more than a taxi ride from the airport to Taj Land’s End, where we are staying, I can see already the wisdom of her counsel.
Today’s schedule includes a presentation to counselors at the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) this afternoon and a reception this evening with OWU alumni and parents of current and former OWU students from Mumbai. USIEF has been instrumental in directing students from India to OWU. You can learn more about USIEF at http://www.usief.org.in/About-USIEF.aspx .
Our student delegation departs from campus at noon today and from Port Columbus around 2:30. Various members of the delegation have been skyping with LSR students this week in preparation for assignments they will complete in small groups during our time together at LSR. Already we are seeing the benefits of technology in preparing us for this time together.