Stay in Pilani, Report by Yannick Pfisterer

Namaskaa! This was one of the first vocabularies that I learned during my stay at BITS Pilani in Rajasthan, India. Now I would like to tell you about some of my experiences during that time.

To continuously update and develop the Experience Lab at BITS Pilani, I initiated a modification of the Storage Station. As it was being done at the Experience Lab at the IWF at the TU Braunschweig, I started to introduce a Cooling System to the Storage Station. After presenting my work to several Indian students at BITS, we were able to have a few interesting discussions about it, and two students even volunteered to participate in the project. It is great to see the enthusiasm that some of the Indian students show towards the JInGEL-Project and I learned a lot working together with them.

As the other German project participants and I were the only foreign students at the university, it was a perfect opportunity for us to get to know the Indian culture and traditions. I personally was surprised that the actual situation was very different from my expectations. Arranged weddings and the general behavior towards relationships were only a few points that rattled me, but on the other hand, I was very impressed to see the patriotism and the pride of the Indian students towards their home state in India. Very regularly cultural evenings were organized by students to show the culture and traditions of all different regions in India. That includes two major events that lasted up to 5 days each. During these sports and cultural events students from all over India came to BITS to participate. The closed campus concept of the university brought us much closer to the students. By the end of our stay in India we were even invited to an Indian wedding which was a very spectacular evening.

Besides the time at the university, I was also able to visit some of the very diverse states in India. One of the Ph.D. students, participating in the same project invited us to his family to celebrate Diwali, a big Indian holiday similar to Christmas. We went to visit his family in Bikaner and were able to experience this holiday first-hand. Furthermore,, I was able to visit a few further places in India. In Goa, we stayed at huts just next to the beach and were able to enjoy the very warm sea. Also, I experienced the Himalayan Mountains in McLeod Ganj near Dharamshala where I was able to hike up the mountains. Finally, we took a Safari through the Rajaji National Park and trekked through the mountains of Dehradun.

All in all, I had a great time getting to know the Indian culture and traditions, taking in the nature and beauty of the Indian countryside and developing the project within BITS Pilani.