Interaction with American Students

I have spent few years of my life in Midwestern US, Kansas and Iowa to be more specific. The Midwest is popular for huge farms and equally big farming equipment, hunting, doing stuff on your own etc.


Being the only Indian among 200-250 workers in my plant, I was skeptical if I would fit in with these guys. I did have my own inhibitions but it went well from day one. I was always surrounded by people who had not even crossed the borders of their home states. They were eager to know how it felt to come all the way from India to the small towns of Midwest. They wanted to know about the Indian culture, Indian festivities, how marriages work here and lot many things.


It’s been about 6 years since I moved back to India. Last week was special though. I had an opportunity to interact with the 6th grade students of Gehlen Catholic School, Le Mars, Iowa. As a part of their class work, the students wanted to know about India and the Indian Culture. I facetimed with their class. I was amazed by the variety of questions I was asked by these 6th graders.

I was asked,


Where do I live?


What do I eat for breakfast,lunch and dinner?


How does the food and diet vary across the country?


Do I eat meat or not?


Which languages do I speak?


When does the school year start?


Is hunting legal in India?


How do marriages take place?What are the difference rituals?


What is a Saree?


What is Mehendi?


How is the education system in US different than in India?


I enjoyed answering these questions to the best of my knowledge. I always got these kind of questions from the people I used to work with. They were all adults. But something like this coming from 6th graders was a pleasant surprise for me. I was very happy to see their inquisitiveness and eagerness to know it all in the 25-30 minutes interaction planned.

At the end of our interaction everybody thanked me for answering their questions and promised to visit India when they grow up.
We need to keep in mind that outsiders love India. Some of them have misconceptions about India and Indians. But once they visit our country, they fall in love with it. I have met at least 7-8 people in the last one year, who have said the same thing and now are planning to visit India again.


I hope at least one or two of these 6th graders will one day visit India and experience the Indian culture firsthand.

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