Allegra's Words of Wisdom: 25 Pieces of Advice

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  1. pack a few of your favorite home snacks/food that you really enjoy and save it for when you get home sick here in India. 
  2. If you are thinking of buying something for your host family, buy something local from where you are living. maybe a local town snack or sweet. Food is always a good option when it comes to giving gifts in India. 
  3. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself with all of the pollution. Cover your nose/mouth when in a rickshaw. And buy yourself a neti pod. I know it sounds gross, but honestly, irrigating your sinuses every day will help you not to get sick from the pollution. 
  4. WATER IS SO IMPORTANT. Especially this semester, it is so hot and I have realized how important it is to stay hydrated. 
  5. If you get to pune and realize you don’t like the classes you signed up for, don’t worry. You have that first week to see all the classes and finally decide what you want to take. 
  6. Manage your time on the wifi. Especially at school, manage your time so you are using the wifi for school or downloading articles for research at home. If you do get a wifi dongle here, make sure you manage your time on that too. If you watch netflix or FaceTime a lot its going to eat up your data. Just be smart about it
  7. Think about where you want to go for travel week as soon as possible! Like as soon as you decide to go to India. Research. Think about where you really want to go and plan it early. If you leave it to the last minute it is going to cost a lot of money. 
  8. It is important when you do organize traveling, think realistically. You aren’t going to be able to see all of india in One week. I have been here for a year and I haven’t even seen everything. Just take into account three or four places near each other and plan accordingly. 
  9. Get outside of your comfort zone. you will have many chances to do this in India. But do something that you normally wouldn’t do. like eat something off the menu that you don’t know what it is. It most likely end in something spectacular or something you didn’t expect. 
  10. There is a pune darshan bus tour that takes you everywhere around Pune. It is five hundred rupees but it doesn’t buy your tickets in every place you go. You can do it, but I suggest visiting every place on your own. You only get ten minutes at every place and it does;t give you the full expierience.
  11. Keep some small amount of cash stashed somewhere for emergencies. Don’t take all of your cards with you, don’t take it if you don’t need it. I lost my wallet and it had everything in it. Just make sure to keep some extra cash on you while living here. Who knows what will happen. 
  12. Be crystal clear about communicating with your host family. If you aren’t going to be home for dinner, just say I am not going to be home for dinner. Remind them before you leave in the morning. Just be as simple and as clear as you can be.
  13. Talk with your host family about your curfew. It can sometimes be pushed back, but don’t be so late. Be respectful. You are staying in their house and you need to respect their rules. They will stay up waiting for you to come home, it would be rude to keep them waiting so long.
  14. Manage your time well. Traveling on the weekends is fun and you should take india at your disposal while you are here. Just make sure that you are also managing your time with projects as well. 
  15. If you are going somewhere by bus or train, some websites don’t take international cards, so you will need the help of other people in the program who can do that for you. 
  16. When traveling by bus/train, when you get off there will be rickshaws waiting to find fairs. Don’t go with the first person who agrees. 98% of the time they are trying to get a hundred/two hundred rupees out of you. In general, if a rickshaw wala is approaching you and pestering you about where he should take you, it is most likely a scam 
  17. If you are going some place new or out for dinner with friends, always take an Uber or ola, an indian equivalent to uber. That way they can use GPS and you won’t worry about having to give directions to a place you don’t even know where it is.
  18. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are lost, don’t be afraid to ask for directions. Sometimes it helps out and gives you another story to tell when you get back home. 
  19. Really think about if you want to bring your phone. Both semesters in India, my phone was stolen/lost and dropped in water. If your phone dies, it makes it difficult to fix it while you are abroad. So really think about if you want to bring your phone. 
  20. Indian airports require you to show your booking confirmation or ticket to enter the airport. Always print it out before leaving for a trip. 
  21. If you want to travel by train, you definitely should. You will need to registar with the train association though. It is a short process and shouldn’t take much of your time. you will have to email them your documents in addition though. Just keep that in mind
  22. When they teach you some marathi, and they will, pay attention to giving directions in marathi, that saved me the first few days that I was here. 
  23. You may go through spurts where you aren’t pooping well. Make sure that you are drinking lots of water and take breaks from eating heavy foods. Eat plain foods, it will help you.
  24. This semester I have been doing one thing by myself every week. I call it a master date, going on a date with yourself. You should really take some time each week to do this. Explore something of Pune by yourself. It is such a great time to understand more about yourself. 
  25. Be as present as you can be. Enjoy every single moment in every day. the whole semester goes by so fast. Learn to appreciate every day of it. 

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