So far classes have been good and the professors have been helpful and knowledgeable. I'm taking Sociology of Religion, Classical Indian philosophy, Cultural Perspectives of Goa, and Contemporary Western philosophy.We did orientation lectures all this week and begin regular classes on Monday. They even have class on Saturdays, which means I'm not sure how much travelling we will be able to do around India, perhaps mostly short trips around Goa.
The department buildings are very simple and there are open meaning they just have archways and it is open to the outside (which means stray dogs like to roam the halls) to keep air flowing and the classrooms are very simple with just a blackboard which a few benches and tables. The campus is drastically different from UND because they don't have student organizations or really any place where students can intereact and hang out. The two real social places are the library and no one can talk in there, and the canteen where people get lunch but you mainly just sit with your friends, if you can get a seat. There isn't like straight sidewalks or perfect flower beds or trimmed bushes, but instead naturally growing grasses and lots of rocks and red dirt. Unfortunately though people do not throw their trash in bins but rather chuck it out the window, I think it's because they know when a janitor takes it away they just throw in a heap anways. Even where I stay called the Guest House a maid comes everyday and splashes dirty water on the floor with a dirty mop and collects garbage in which she throws outside anyhow. But if we look at the way things are done back home, we also collect the garbage and throw it in a big confined pile. I would say at least there is recycling. The thing is though, people do not have much of a disposable income as they do in the US so they are not feeding into consumeristic values and wasting, but instead use more practical approaches in their spending mainly because they have no other choice. Another good thing is the food is not generally loaded with artificial chemicals so that cancer is a rarity here. At home, you know at least one or two people who have cancer or have gone through the process, but here it is a very big deal because it doesn't happen as often.
Austin and I explored Panjim by ourselves a little and it was quite the experience. We got on a very crowded bus, but it only costs 3 rupees each way so like 15 cents round trip, but the thing is that each bus is privately owned so they like to compete for passengers so they are always very packed and there are people hanging off. Once we got down by the beach we walked around and saw more of touristy Goa which is also nice because I was wondering what attracted people to Goa since most of the beaches I've found you cannot swim since the rip tides are so strong. But it felt like a carnival, there were street vendors everywhere, people making balloon animals, people selling crafts and clothes on the street, others just lying on the beach and just people and kids running around everywhere. It was really interesting to watch and we found a grocery store that had a lot of familar items so we stocked up on toliet paper, cereal, juices and whatnot so it felt reassuring. Then we found a nice restaurant to eat at that was family owned with really good food and cheap prices. As we were leaving 2 men sitting near us asked where we were from and we started talking and they told us they were from Calgary and they come every year for their medical needs because they have to wait too long in Canada. That seems crazy to come all that way once a year for medical attention! After we ate we found a motorized ricksaw and went home for the evening to find our director waiting for us. It was about 10:30pm and he wasn't too happy to have us coming home at that time and said we now should be home by 9! They seem to want to control us and they told the Japanese students they had to be home by 8:00, I can see the purpose but we are all adults now and if we can get ourselves to India I think we should be able to monitor when we want to come home at night.