Life in India

The people will almost always be very kind and welcoming. Get used to the heat. It's unimaginable at first, but if you’re like me, you'll actually miss it once you're gone. Be careful on and around the roads; they’re insane at first! I thought that I was in a video game during my first car ride in Delhi.Clara from OH, Year Program
Accents can be difficult to understand as you might misunderstand the tone. Keep a balanced head and don't overreact. Learn the main language even if your friends and family do not normally speak it. Natives will be impressed and happier to help you if you try, even if they already know English.Annah from CO, Year Program
Be involved in your school, it's the best way to make friends.Clara from OH, Year Program
Do not be surprised if someone comments on your weight, it is perfectly normal in their society to do so. Learn about Indian cleanliness rules before going. Money is a common topic of discussion. Be open and ready to experience anything, try new things you will never regret it! Marianna from MD, Year Program
India is a chaotic, beautiful, vivacious country, where nothing happens on time or the way you want it to, so let go of that stress and realize that a definite answer to an Indian really doesn't mean anything definite. As long as you know this, you'll be fine. Kate from OR, Summer NSLI-Y Program
A difficult part of adapting to Indian culture was the superstitions and beliefs of my host family, not the religious beliefs, but the cultural taboos and bad luck oriented ones. Remember, this is their way of life and you must adjust to their way of life, since you are now part of their family. Max from LA, Summer NSLI-Y Program
Don't joke about religion, and realize that the country keeps all topics such as sex, drugs, and alcohol under the radar, so try not to discuss any of these topics.Kate from OR, Summer NSLI-Y Program
The lack of independence that is so much a part of Indian culture was hard to adjust to. My host family would decide what I was going to wear, who I could spend time with, what/how much I would eat, etc. It's easy to get frustrated at times, but realize what an incredible experience you are having! Sara from VA, Summer NSLI-Y Program
The Indian social life, which is centered primarily on family and not peers my own age, was difficult to adjust to. Just be patient and keep a positive attitude!Sara from VA, Summer NSLI-Y Program

Digging Deeper

Language Resources
Cultural Resources
New and Media
Movies and Documentaries
  • Gandhi (1982)
  • Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
  • Like Stars on Earth (2007)
  • Rang De Basanti (2006)
  • Bhaag Milkah Bhaag (2013)
  • Swades (2004)
  • The Story of India (PBS-BBC 6 part series)
  • Bombay Dreams (BBC)
  • Monk with a Camera (2014)
  • Chronicles of a Temple Painter (2014)
Books
  • India: Brief History of a Civilization
  • A Concise History of Modern India
  • National Geographic Traveler: India, 4th edition
  • Enjoying India: The Essential Handbook
  • Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking
  • A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush
  • Midnight’s Children
  • The Immortals—Amit Chaudhuri
  • City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
  • The Hungry Tide
  • The Shadow Lines
  • Baumgartner’s Bombay
  • Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard
  • A Fine Balance
  • Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure
LGBTQ Resources (Diversity) Heritage and Ethnicity Resources (Diversity)
Note: The links and resources listed in "Digging Deeper" have been provided to AFS by people involved with our organization, including alumni members, volunteers, etc. AFS has not reviewed the resources in their entirety and presents them "as is" for your own information. As such, the sites, publications, films, etc. do not necessarily reflect the approval of nor the views, opinions, and/or values of AFS.