Lottie Hammer

Ashoka University, India

Hi, my name is Lottie and this summer I spent six weeks studying at Ashoka University in New Delhi, India. It was an incredible experience, especially for someone who had not travelled much before this trip, and I would to recommend to anyone considering something similar to do it!

I had a wonderful time studying at Ashoka. Being in a completely different learning environment, and experiencing how the professors at different universities teach was incredible. One of the professors teaching at the university was Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, who had worked as the secretary for the President and the Vice President of India; High Commissioner for India in South Africa and Lesotho; High Commissioner to Sri Lanka; Ambassador to Norway and Iceland; and Governor to West Bengal. Hearing him teach the history and politics of ‘Indian Civilizations’ was incredible. Furthermore, being a part of the summer programme meant that I could take a variety of modules on topics which were different to my degree. I am currently a third year history student, and taking modules on politics and gender has definitely helped me broaden my interests within my degree.

One of the most amazing aspects of my trip was the opportunity I had to travel around northern India. During my six week stay I travelled to numerous cities during my weekends, including Agra, Udaipur, Ajmer, Pushkar, Jodhpur and Jaipur. These trips were life changing for me, exposing me to different cultures and peoples. Indeed, studying abroad, rather than restricting my opportunities to travel by holding me to one city, instead supported and improved them. Before studying at Ashoka I had never been to Asia, and was apprehensive about travelling in a country so different to any I had visited before. This is where studying at Ashoka really helped me; living on campus at the university meant that I had a point of reference when travelling, providing me with somewhere to return to regularly so that travelling never felt overwhelming or stressful (it was also nice to take a break from overnight trains, sleeper buses and crowded hostels!).

Additionally, at Ashoka I met other international students who were on similar programmes to me who were also keen to travel. I travelled with people from all over the world, and it was great to have the opportunity to travel both in large groups of students to huge bustling cities, and with just one or two people to quiet spiritual towns. Furthermore, at Ashoka I met countless people, both students and professors, who had lived in India for most of their lives, and could recommend places to stay or eat in the cities I planned on visiting which did not appear in the guidebooks!

I can honestly say that by studying abroad this summer, I gained the confidence and passion to travel the world, and if anyone is considering something similar, do it!