So up to now I have been living in India for 2 and a half months. And I’ve just decided to go back to Hanoi in mid-December, which means I have only 3 more weeks left. I’m pretty sure that I will be very sad when leaving.. About 2 weeks ago, I talked to a Serbian girl, and she said “India is a strange country. Can you tell anything here that is better than your country? For me, no, nothing! And I can complain whole day about what I don’t like here, but above all, I still love to stay”. In this term of meaning then India must be the strangest country I have and will ever visit.. Too much bad luck came upon me in the last 2.5 months but I have never really wished to leave..
I came to India with the internship exchange program for students and recent graduates of AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run organization. And I was supposed to do international marketing back to Vietnam. Before I left, a lot of friends that had been to India for internship within the same program already warned me “they would not give you anything to work there!” and I was mentally prepared for that but still I got shocked. Three foreign interns in the company almost had nothing to do, just sat and read brochures. After 2 weeks, I couldnt hold on any more and complained with my boss that I didn’t want to fly all the way from Vietnam to India just to sit idle in the office. I also told him that I could see there were so many people almost doing nothing the whole day, and he said one thing I would never forget: “20% of the people in my company make 80% of the profit and the other 80% of people are just for decoration!” – “But why? If I had to spend money to hire people, I would make them really work!” – “Because I am kind, I want to create jobs for everyone” – “..!..!.!..” (end of discussion!) It’s true that he’s the kindest person I have met in India so far but this working style is really not my way, especially when I just quit a job in Hanoi because of stress and overload. Going from one extreme to another extreme was too much for me and I couldn’t adapt that fast.
So, after 3 weeks, I decided not to waste my time in the office any more (I didn’t have anything to do but people would not let me do private things or open personal websites) and I said to my boss in the most honest way “Your company is not prepared enough to receive foreign interns! Could you imagine how we would tell friends back home? It doesn’t just influence the reputation of your company but also of all companies in India..” and he had to agree with me. I also helped him point out some issues in their training procedure for newcomers and intern recruiting process and he approved. So I guess my 3 weeks there were not totally just a waste, at least I did some impact on that company, they would improve their training process and also they now know that not everyone enjoys sitting doing nothing..
And I moved on, I applied to some other companies and all bad experience. One company asked me to come twice for interview and made me do a presentation in front of company staff about telesales. I did and the feedback on my presentation was very positive, but then they concluded such thing like they prefered white people and prefered man. I assumed they didn’t realize that I was yellow and woman from the first interview; and this company took me 3 weeks till their final answer. Fair enough! Another company also asked me to come twice for 2 interviews and made me do a research on Indian Steel Industry, I did all they wanted and their final reply was “For now we have no project that need more people”. Again I assumed they didn’t know it from the beginning and just took another 3 weeks of mine by accident. One more company that desperately needed Vietnamese people replied to me: “We have no problem providing you a job offer but you have to have a working visa in India. You can apply for one, duration 2 years, with 24 000 Rupees (equivalent to $560).” – “But what’s the problem with my business visa? All of my friends here are working with business visa, and I haven’t got plan to spend that much of money and stay here 2 years..” – “Uhm, in fact they are working illegally in India then, and our company is not like that. We’ll think about your case and call you within tomorrow” but of course they never called me back. And actually I also found the working visa fee in the website of Indian Immigration Office which was way less than 24 000 Rupees.
Apart from that very unpleasant experience about working in India, what else happened to me? I got cell phone and wallet stolen in my room while I was sleeping. I got stalked many times by Indian guys. I got “abandoned” by the irresponsible AIESEC Local Committee of Delhi IIT. I got terribly dry hair and skin because of the dry weather (way different from Hanoi). I got bitten by mosquitoes, bed bugs. I stepped on cow dung several times while traveling. And many many other small but annoying things that I can complain the whole day just like the Serbian girl I mentioned once.
But finally what can I say? If now someone asked me “Do you still want to stay in India?” I would definitely say “Yes, of course!”. Why? Because I have so many good friends here, both Indians and foreigners. I have learned so many things, and one of the best things I’ve achieved is that for now I am almost able to “always look on the bright side of life”. I get to know a really interesting culture and understand more about many other social aspects. And I like traveling in India, there are so many places to go. I just wish I could stay longer and solve all the bad experience above so that I would know the real good side of the country. But I just don’t have the chance or as I often say to my friends here “I’ve been trying but no one let me try”. Hopefully it was just my bad luck, hopefully no one from Vietnam going for internship in India would face too much problem like I have hooked into. And finally I would like to end the post with this quote from a friend “India is not a country, it’s an experience!”