A look back at my life in India…

By Amélie Bui, Junior Manager – Academic Relation & Projects, August 2016 – February 2017

Between the dates of August 16 to February 17, I worked as a Junior Project Manager at swissnex India, Consulate General of Switzerland in Bangalore, while also performing the role of an ambassador from HEC Lausanne.

When I landed in the airport of Bangalore, I had no idea about how my life in the next 6 months would be. I didn’t know if I could acclimatise easily to this new culture, let alone survive in a city of 11 million inhabitants. Or if I would be able to eat spicy food and get used to the Indian accent. All of these questions in my mind were answered quickly, surprisingly.

My time in India flew by! I remember my first day at work as if it happened yesterday, greeted with a warm welcome in a spacious office on Rest House Crescent Road… I remember my first Indian meal, eating with my hands, my first taste of street food & ice creams from Naturals… It’s true that a lot of souvenirs of mine are food related, not only because of the level of spice that was initially too hot for me, but especially because of the variety and the amazing flavours! And this country is certainly full of foodies, much to my delight!

At swissnex India, we organised projects where we bring Swiss people to discover the Indian market or field of expertise. While I was there, projects on Space, Smart Cities, Design, Gaming, Virtual Reality or Contemporary dances took place. It enabled me to open up my mind to a broader range of topics and work with many Indian and Swiss stakeholders. I had the chance to meet amazing people. Not only through my work, but also while travelling by Uber, train or bus. Bangalore is a huge city but every festival or long weekend was an occasion to travel around and discover the beauty of India. This country is just magic! From Hampi to the Backwaters in Kerala, with a detour in Goa, I have seen beautiful landscapes that were totally new to me. Travelling in a local train in Mumbai was epic, especially when the train is well over-crowded. But according to my co-traveller, it “wasn’t that packed”. I suppose it’s just a matter of perspective…

And Bangalore is also a large international city where many expatriates live. Thanks to the previous swissnex India interns, I met a group of people from France who quickly became friends. It is always nice to be able to talk in your mother tongue after some time… And with them, I celebrated Christmas in a traditional French way. The only difference was that it took place on a terrace in the sun. Beautiful!

When I look back to the start, I did not think I would love my time in India as much as I actually did. It was indeed a time of discovery, with amazing memories and great laughs along the way. Sometimes things do not happen as planned in India, but we can say that everything will happen is a good way eventually. A good way to train your patience and manage your nerves.

I can only be sincerely thankful and grateful to those I shared this experience with, and my biggest thanks to all the people I met who made my time in India truly amazing. It was a blast!