Albert Einstein once said, time flies when you are having fun. Before I even realized it, I have already spent 15 days in the colorful city of Delhi (that is over 360 hours or 21600 seconds and I’m loving every second of it). Within two weeks’ time, Delhi has truly become my home away from home. Now, let me rewind and take you back to my very first day in the incredible land of India—-

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My host family’s living room.

After a 15-hour flight and one bumpy Uber ride, I was welcomed by my host family at their beautiful house in New Friends Colony, a quiet yet lively neighborhood in south Delhi. Just as the name of the neighborhood-New Friends-might have symbolized, I felt immediately connected to my host parents when both of them gave me a big welcoming hug. My host mother K is a 70-year old granny with long grey hair and her husband S is a retired ISA officer who now manages his own non-profit organizations (ISA, the Indian Administrative Service, is often considered the premier civil service of India). I found their place a few weeks ago through an online hospitality service and decided to stay with them because of all the good reviews I read.  Of course, I wasn’t disappointed. My room is not only very spacious, but also has a balcony attached to it that hosts at least 20 plants. I also have my own bathroom which gives me the privacy I had hoped for. 

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View from my room.

My host parents provide me with breakfast, lunch, and dinner on request at a very reasonable price, and they also give me complimentary drinks throughout the day to make sure I’m always hydrated given Delhi’s heat. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, as a huge tea lover, India is literally my drink heaven. I get Chai tea at least four times a day and I could even have more! Chai tea is also very common at workspaces in India, so I’m served tea twice a day at my internship.

Of course, Chai is only one of the many many reasons why I love my internship. My colleagues, the scope of work I do, and the laid-back environment all make getting up for my internship every day very easy. One of my favorite things about working with this organization on its Education and Research team is the opportunity to learn from and work with many like-minded people who are passionate about education for children. While I was getting acquainted with the various projects during the first day of my internship, I learned that everyone on the team had extensive early childhood education (ECD) experiences. I was very impressed by how they brought creativity to their community-outreach programs, and felt very lucky that my input was highly valued despite my role as a summer intern. In addition, my supervisor made sure that I attended all the meetings or brainstorm sessions available, so that I got a sense of what the organization does in India. I have never felt like an outsider due to the care and attention that my coworkers graciously offered during the past two weeks, and their kindness definitely smoothed my transition to this new country and workplace.

Besides the invigorating conversations and exchange between me and my colleagues, I also LOVE the work I do. Even though I was new to the office, I was given just as much work to do as my other colleagues. Over the past two weeks, I’ve been assigned the following projects/tasks to work on:

  • Reaching out to the head of each department to familiarize myself with their work and responsibilities. These departments include: the research team, the content development team, the creative team, and the communications team. In addition to talking to these department heads, I also spent a large chunk of time reading past reports, (Done)
  • Working on a literature review to develop a paper that focuses on gender equity issues in early years. The content of this literature review includes successful case studies from around the world, my organization’s strategies going forward, and key indicators to measure the success of these projects. (Done)
  • Working on a curriculum package for parents to develop their children’s executive functioning skills. (Work in Progress)
  • Drafting a news article on the impact of conflicts on children’s learning and my organization’s efforts in addressing this issue. (Done)
  • Drafting interview protocols to interview parents and children on the long-term impact of my organization’s projects. This process include several iterations of revisions and piloting with children. (Work in Progress)
  • Supporting the training of research assistants who will conduct a qualitative study with local children. (Done)
  • Summarizing and forecasting the latest trends in early childhood education globally. (Done)
  • Supporting the PR campaign of a month-long workshop in India. (Done)
  • Identifying strategies to strengthen my organization’s online social media presence. (Work in Progress)

I couldn’t believe how much work I had done in the past two weeks and I’m so grateful that my internship gives me the flexibility to work on projects I’m interested in. For people that know me well, I am very artsy (at least I’d like to think I am) and love anything that’s design-related. Therefore, when I had the chance to work on a design project with the communications team, I was more than thrilled. All that experience I gained from working as a graduate assistant for IEDP and managing IEDP’s social media accounts came in handy. I will post a link to my work once it’s finalized and approved by my supervisor!

Besides work, I also made some local friends here and got to explore the city a little bit. Within the past two weeks, I went shopping three times, visited the Lodhi Gardens with my friends from college, went to a dinner party hosted by my office director and enjoyed Chinese food at the Delhi Golf Club with my host family. There’s so much to do in Delhi and I will detail all these fun activities in another post.

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Also, as a fun way to end each of my blogs, I’m going to document all the new Hindi words I learned within the past few weeks. So far, I’ve remembered all the essential food words and phrases, which include: आलू (potato), लौकी (gourd), पानी (water), can I have some lemonade, रोटी (bread), दाल (lentils), आम (mango), अचार (pickle), मिर्च (pepper).

Hope my vocabulary expands beyond food items next time you hear from me!