Friday, 3 August 2018


31st July, 2018 – was a fateful day for the 72 teams that participated in the Discover Holland Quiz. The teams competed for the exciting opportunity to visit Holland and further their career opportunities. The quiz saw participation from esteemed institutions like National Law School, St Joseph’s College, Jain University, RV College of Engineering, PES University, IIM Bengaluru and Symbiosis Institute of Business Studies from Bangalore and Ashoka University (Sonepat), National Institute of Technology (Goa), TKM College of Engineering (Kollam), IIT Dharwad and Osmania Medical College (Hyderabad) from other parts of India.

The quiz was conducted in two stages; the preliminary round resulted in 6 finalists who then proceeded to compete for the ultimate prize. The preliminary round consisted of questions relating to the landmarks and general trivia regarding Holland. In the final round, the teams had to be quick on their feet as it was a buzzer round. There were several rounds which gave the finalists a fair shot at the prize. The air was filled with excitement as the participants answered with enthusiasm.

Syed Murtuza Hashmi and Syed Mustafa Hashmi came out on top as thee winners with their unmatched performance. Nagendra Kumar and Abhilash Namboodri from RV College of Engineering secured the second place. The winners were presented with merchandise and a letter to approve their trip to Holland. The runners-up were presented with merchandise and pendrives. The winner of the online quiz was felicitated too. The event concluded with the finalists being awarded with certificates.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

One Day Visit to a Village in Kolar Organised by the Department of Sociology and Social work in coordination with the Centre for Social Action

As part of their course, MA Applied Sociology students were taken for a field trip to Kolar on 20th and 21st July, 2018. The trip was organized by the department of Sociology and Social Work in collaboration with the Centre for Social Action (CSA) at CHRIST (deemed to be University). The intention behind organizing the trip was to provide the students with a firsthand experience of village life. Most of the students took part in the programme which resulted in great levels of interaction between the students and the villagers on the one hand and the students and the CSA activists working in the village.
Dr. Rajeev Kumaramkandath and Dr. Sudipta Garai from the department of Sociology accompanied the students. The prime initiative for the programme came from the head of the department Dr. Victor Paul who consistently pushed the idea from the beginning of this academic year. The accommodation for the group was arranged at the CSA camp office at Srinivasapura taluk in Kolar district and the team visited two villages during the trip. One group visited the Kondenahalli village and the other visited Bollepalli; both villages were located remotely at about a distance of 15-20 kilometers from the CSA office, which in itself was distant from the main highways that connected with the cities.
The students were given a detailed orientation to the activities of CSA by the officers present there that included Mr. Anjan and Mr. Nagaraja. During the village visit the teams had very elaborate interactions with the villagers – both men and women as well as their children – and the activists who worked in the villages. The primary activity of CSA was through the Self Help Groups that it had established around 10 years back and through which it consistently worked towards the welfare of the whole village and particularly for the empowerment of the women. CSA also has serious investments in the children’s welfare and special programmes for the education in general and for girls in particular.
The trip was one space that our students literally watched with all excitement. They all felt equally enriched both intellectually and emotionally as village life has its own promises, problems as well as challenges.
The group spent the night at the CSA office and started their journey back the next day early morning. Below after this report is a narrative from our students about the trip.
Dr. Rajeev Kumaramkandath

Students' Perspective
We, the Students of 1st and 2nd year Masters in Applied Sociology, CHRIST (Deemed to be University) went on an overnight trip to the Centre for Social Action office at Srinivasapura Taluk in Kolar in Karnataka on 20 August 2018. We started our Journey from Christ University at 8:00 AM and reached Kolar at around 12:00 PM. We were accompanied by two of our professors, Mr Rajeev Kumaramkandath and Ms Sudipta Garai. In Kolar our accommodation was arranged in 2 Rural Camps. It was a serene and beautiful area with vast landscapes and long tracts of arable land. On our arrival at the CSA office, the office staff gave us a warm welcome and after getting fresh we were served lunch. The lunch was a different experience for us all as it was so simple and delicious. The whole group took a stroll through the vast and beautiful landscapes to observe the surroundings and to make sense of the place. We found that the villagers are so hardworking that in a district like Kolar, which is one of the driest places in the state, one could see vegetables and fruits (primarily Mango) being actively cultivated. Tomato, Mango and different kinds of gourds were being grown with an intention of distributing in the local market. The village was, nevertheless, in an economically unsound condition and with not less amount of infrastructure. 

The village was famous for mangoes. As we walked through the village the we could see how those hardworking people have grown different varieties of vegetables and fruits in their lands. Farming was done so scientifically at the same time as following some of the traditional methods. There was paddy and maize as well in some disparate sections that remained remote from we were. The houses in the immediate vicinity were more pakka and more or less well built with concrete and some with flat terraces. As we walked we were also discussing about the socio-economic sides of village agriculture and changing cultures. One of the officers from CSA came to us and said we have to return as the activities are about to begin.
Once in CSA office, the officers there started the orientation programme. It started with some ice breaking sessions which was very interesting and all students took part with so much of excitement. During the orientation a caretaker of the local anganwadi pointed out the benefits of the self help groups initiated by CSA among the villagers. She discussed how some women started bank accounts and operated those accounts on their own. They were trained to use these accounts for emergency and personal uses. Women in Self Help Groups were provided with trainings in activities like weaving, knitting and other related tasks. During the orientation we were told about the experiences of the CSA activists in the village ever since they started operating in the place 10 years back. The village so remotely located and distinct from the reach of state interventions was in a very poor state. However CSA’s interventions could make a big difference in the not only the women’s and children’s lives in the village but also in bringing the government’s attention to this place. This is one important factor why the village is decently connected to the nearby cities and has an average level of infrastructure.
However this was not the case in several other places in Kolar. This we realized as went to field trips to the remote villages where CSA was actively engaging with the villagers.  In the afternoon, post orientation, we were split into two groups and were taken to two different villages to see and understand the village life in its entirety including their forms of occupation, dynamics of collectivities, problems with economy and infrastructure etc. Each group was guided by a CSA member. We also made sure that the Kannada speaking members in our groups were equally divided so that we have sufficient translators. The first group went to Bollepalli village which was mostly populated by the Hindus. As we explored the village we had some serious interactions with the villagers. The CSA officer gathered the children in the village in the nearby village where we conducted some activities for their infotainment.  We visited some houses and interacted with the family members.

The second group went to Kondenahalli village which was primarily a Muslim area. There was some serious interactions with the people who were part of the Self Help Groups. Some of the people we interviewed pointed out that there were total 18 members in Self Help Groups. The duty of these Self Help Groups was to pool money and sanction loans. The wage labourers in the village worked on an average from 9:00 am till 5:30 pm. They were paid a very less amount of salary (300 Rs). A sharp distinction between the upper and the lower castes was visible in both these villages. The Head of the panchayat was also the member of an upper caste. We also interviewed somemembers of these Self Help Groups. One Woman member who have been associating with the group for the last 10 years told that being part of the SHG she now feels far empowered while dealing with big landlords and other male folk in the village. The SHGs also help its members to generate loans for agricultural purposes .The woman and her family had 5-6 acres of Land. Hers was a large family consisting of 18 members. of these 6 were landlords and the others worked as daily wage labourers. The SHG would conduct meetings twice in a month in order to decide whom should be given the loans and how to repay the loans.
We found in another family that we interacted in Kondenahally, that there were 3 members who were leaders of the Sangh, that is the SHG; this included the President, Treasurer and Secretary. This family sells Mangoes at around 20 Rs per Kg which was very less comparing to the prices that mangoes fetch in the nearby cities. They said that sometimes farmers had to sell mangoes for as cheap a price as less than Rs 5 per kilo. We also interviewed another person who was a lecturer in P.U College (Girls College) and was also doing his P. H. D from Bangalore University.

This one day field visit was a new experience for the students as we all live in urban areas where we are given all the facilities but this is another reality of India that we have never experienced. The Department of Sociology and Social Work (CHRIST - DEEMED TO BE UNIVERSITY) along with Centre of Social Action had given the students an opportunity to spend one day in Rural area and analyze the problems that they had to face everyday. Though there was no proper electricity, but they were very happy with their life. One very important thing the trip has done for us as students of sociology was that it allowed us to witness firsthand what the dynamics – internal and external – of village life is. The challenges they faced – including questions of education, economy and inter caste and inter religious relations, the possibilities of community life etc., - and the opportunities they presented in understanding a different form of communal existence was very immense.
Both the PG classes of Sociology would like to thank Dr. Victor Paul (Head of the department of sociology and social work) and also the organizing committee for organizing this rural trip that had enhanced our learning skills. It was a very good experience at looking at the true face of rural India while living within it.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY National Young Sociologist Competition 2018-19

The Department of Sociology, CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bengaluru, organises an annual National Young Sociologist Competition for undergraduate students having Sociology as one of their subject. It aims to encourage the young generation to carry out small research projects on socially relevant subjects and issues to enhance their critical and analytical thinking. The competition seeks to fulfil this aim by inviting the participants to write original papers on topics prescribed below to participate in the paper presentation competition which will be held on 07 December 2018.

Theme and Topics

The theme for the National Young Sociologist Competition 2018-19 is 'Social Mobility and Identity'. Social Mobility is a phenomenon which occurs over time and involves movement from one social group to the other. This is characterised by change in social positions which arises out of social interaction. The process of social interaction aids the formation, initiation or change in identity of a social group thus making identity a historical and social construct. Additionally, identity of a social group or individual reinforces social mobility through interaction between groups. Hence the interrelation between the phenomena of social mobility and identity can be stated as being co-dependent variables that aid the formation of one another. The purpose of this competition is to explore the interrelation between social mobility and identity among the different social groups and its dynamics under the various sub themes. Contributions beyond the subthemes are also invited which further add to the overall theme of the competition.

Sub Themes

a.)    Caste and Identity
Considering that caste is still pertinent in the contemporary world, this theme aims to find   out how caste contributes to the formation of identity or vice versa.
b.)    Class and Identity
Our identity gets influenced by many factors in society. This theme explores how class plays a factor in forming our identity.
c.)    Role of media & Identity
Media has a considerable impact on identity, how it is constructed and perceived.  This theme tries to enquire into the role of media and identity.
d.)   Gender, Sexuality & Identity
Sexuality and gender plays a role in forming identity. This theme aims to look at the association between the three.
e.)    Human Movements/Migration and Identity
Migration/Human movements is one of most studied and relevant phenomena of the contemporary age. This theme aims to understand how identities are developed on the basis of human movement and cross-cultural interaction.
f.)     Occupation and Identity
An individual's labor is an integral part of what defines her or his identity as it an activity that allows one to express one's own subjectivity. This theme aims to understand the relevance of labor and livelihood practices in process if identity creation in contemporary society.
g.)    Diaspora Communities and Identity
With the extensively accounted narratives of impermanence and identity crises among diaspora communities in contemporary society, the relation between the same and identity become important in social research. This theme aims the bring out such narratives and complexities of self identification in such communities. 

The competition is open to all regular undergraduate students studying Sociology or Anthropology as one of their subjects in any of the institutions in India.

Submission Guidelines

1.      As a first step to participate in this competition all participants need to send a 250 word abstract of their paper by August 15, 2018 to the following e mail:

send a hard copy to
National Young Sociologist Competition 2018-19
C/o Dr Sudhansubala Sahu, Department of Sociology
CHRIST (Deemed to be University)
Hosur Road, Bangalore–560029
Tel: 91-80-4012 9735

2.      An abstract is a short summary in 250 words about the research project that the student has done/is planning to undertake. It should mention the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s), the methodology, major findings/trends/scope of the research.
3.      The abstracts should be accompanied by the contact details of participants including name, college/institution details, postal address, email address, and phone number.
4.      Participants need to enclose a bonafide certificate from the Head of their Institution and a copy of their college/university identity card along with the abstract.
5.      The academic papers can be conceptual or empirical. The length of the paper need to be around 2500-4000 words. The references should be given in the APA format (the style prescribed by the Publication Manual of American Psychological Association-6th edition).
6.      A conceptual paper should develop arguments or theoretical perspectives on issues related to 'Social Mobility and Identity' using evidences from prior research. It should present a comprehensive and focused review of the relevant literature to support the argument.
7.      Empirical paper should have a brief and focused literature review to justify the need of the study. It should mention objectives of research, explain methodology, present the data and their analysis, arrive at logical conclusion and discuss the theoretical/practical implications of the research, the limitations as well as the scope of research.
8.      There is no limit to the number of entries from a single institution.
9.      All entries should be original works of the participant with appropriate references. Plagiarized entries will be disqualified. Plagiarism is the inclusion of someone else's verbatim or paraphrased text in one's own written work without immediate reference. Verbatim text must be in quotes or indented if it is longer than four lines.
A citation must follow right after borrowed material (usually the author's name and year – eg (Stephen, 2000)) and the full details of the reference must be incorporated at the end of your full paper.
10.  Co-authored papers will not be considered.
11.  Submitted abstracts will be screened and the authors of shortlisted abstracts will be notified by August 25, 2018.
12.  Authors of shortlisted abstracts have to submit two hard copies and the soft copy of their full-length paper in word format to the above-mentioned e mail or addresses by November 1, 2018.
13.  Participants whose papers have been selected for the final presentation at CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bangalore will be notified by November 15, 2018.
14.  Travel will be reimbursed (second class sleeper) for outstation paper presenters.
15.  Accommodation will be provided for outstation paper presenters.
Evaluation Process and Rewards
1        The entries will be evaluated by an eminent panel of judges and the authors of the ten best entries will be invited to CHRIST (Deemed to be University) to make a presentation and to defend their ideas in the presence of students of Humanities and Social Sciences.
2        Awards are given to the prize winners. The first prize carries Rs 15,000/-, the second Rs 10,000/-, and the third Rs 7,000/-. The conveyance expenditure of the finalists would be reimbursed as per CHRIST (Deemed to be University) guidelines and the finalists would receive hospitality from CHRIST (Deemed to be University) community.

 Important Dates
August 20,  2018
Last date for submission of abstract
August 25, 2018
Notification of shortlisted abstracts
November 1, 2018
Submission of full-length paper
November 15, 2018
Announcement of finalists for paper presentation
December 07, 2018
Final paper presentation at CHRIST (Deemed to be University)

Golden Jubilee Special Lecture Series

Talk by Prof. S. V Srinivas on Media, Hero worship and Fanculture

16th July 2018

On 16th July, 2018 the department of Sociology started its Golden Jubilee lecture series with a talk by Prof. S. V. Srinivas from  Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. A very well reputed scholar in the area of cinema and cultural studies in the south Asian region Prof. Srinivas has published papers and books on cinemas, mass communication and politics in Indian and International academic journals. His interest on research extensively focuses on literature, popular culture and mass politics, Media and Public sphere etc. He has also done considerable amount of work in the areas of film and cultural studies, audience research and cultural politics. In the talk he discussed about inherent  promises in film studies for a sociology scholar. He basically touched upon two distinct but interrelated aspects of south Indian cinema – one, the persisting fanculture in the south Indian film industry, especially Tamil and Telugu cinema, and two, the political economy of cinema in general with specific reference to its 1930s and 1940s time and the consequences of the same. The audience mainly consisted of all the teachers and students from Sociology department and teachers from Social work and other departments in the university.

He started the talk by telling the students the relation between media and social sciences and its importance in the contemporary world. The methods that are used by sociologist with regard to media studies through the different modes of analyzing a text were seen problematic by him. He said that sociologists should focus on their own research methods like ethnography, participant observation etc. They should not move into other disciplinary methods like content analysis and textual analysis which is restricted to fields like media studies and communication.
He spoke about film productions and the cinema industry. He said that the people who are the audience analyze and interpret films through different perspectives and they acquire the textual content of the films through different modes/ways. He spoke about the public sphere that is dominated by the capitalists thereby leading to the ideologies of the Bourgeoisie. He spoke of the hegemony and dominance attached towards the content in newspaper articles that favors the haves and is written from the perspective of the haves. Film production looks at how caste comes into play and he gave an example of the Telugu cinema (his area of specialization) which are run by peasants and are connected to land. He speaks of how certain upper caste people dominate media spaces and how it thereby influences films on the same lines. Hence, in Telugu film industry the Reddy’s are shown as the dominant and the film thereby overtly expresses certain caste ideologies that favor the upper caste in that particular region.
Prof. Srinivas said that film is loss making industry and said that Indian Cinema lost a lot of money over the past few decades. 80% of films have serious issues in earning the money that they have invested and the production houses in such cases face a huge loss if the film is not able to reach its audience. The cinema is also seen as a platform for the new elite where the bourgeoisie controls the media. He also spoke of archives that media houses maintain with regard to distributors, actors, laborers etc. He also spoke of the role of research in these platforms where he focused on “gendering of creative labor”. Cinema’s attitude towards women were clearly discussed as to how they are viewed as objects for the male gaze and how women from certain low caste/ race backgrounds are given roles according to their  identity. The representation of women in media is of serious discussions among the researchers. He then spoke of changes in film studies. He gave examples of books like House full- Indian Cinema and the Active Audience, written by Lakshmi Srinivas. He spoke of how the audience perceive the world, how they think and how attitudes are shaped through the films they watch.
He then focused on talking about Hero Worship and how the audiences behave in theatres. He screened few films from the Telugu and Tamil film Industries where for instance, the movie Vedhalam depicts actor Ajith (hero) showing a pistol to the villain and the audience jump in joy and scream out with happiness and when Ajith shoots him the audience are happy about the death of the villain and how the audience also embrace Ajith. He spoke of audience responses and their different emotional transformations while watching a film and observing a text. Then he speaks of hero worship in relation to religion where actors are seen as Gods and how the audiences worship them. He speaks of how media influences people and their mindset and the way they interpret the content in the films that they watch. Media also promotes a lot of violence yet he says that people will use their minds, interpret the content and act according to the norms of the society. He also speaks of how women depict the image of Goddesses (which he calls as horror) to kill the villain and the response of the audience.  He ends his talk by saying how theo -visuality transforms film consumers to devotional people through Hero worship.  Dr.Victor Paul, HOD, Department of Sociology and Social Work expressed vote of thanks to Mr.S.V. Srinivas and all partcipants.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Orientation Programme on Civil Service Examination

An orientation programme on civil service examination was conducted for second year PSEco students on Tuesday, 26 June 2018 during 3-4 pm. The facilitators were Mr Renjith and Mr Manjith from the Department of Professional Studies.

Every year millions of Indians aspire to become part of the most prestigious service offered by the Government of India. The process is hard and life changing but is very fulfilling for the individual. The Department of Professional Studies took up the initiative of making the students aware of the various facets of Civil Service Examinations. The representatives of the department gave us an overview of the steps involved in leading up to the ‘Mother of all Exams’, which is the exam conducted by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission). UPSC is a constitutional body, which takes care of the Civil Service Recruitments and are known for their transparency and efficiency. The exam is based on meritocracy - where everyone has a fair chance at acing the exam with their hard work and discipline. The exam is conducted at 2 levels - The Preliminary exam and the Main Exam. The paper assesses the individual’s aptitude in fields like economics, political science, history, science, geography, mathematics and any one Indian language of the individual’s choice.

The speaker emphasised on the importance of prelims. It is the exam that filters in the potential candidates for the Main Exam. The candidates who cleared the mains as well as interview are appointed into one of the following posts - IAS, IPS, IFS officers and other listed services. Social change is key in every society and the people in power are the ones who can bring about the change through the resources available to them because normal people are in positions of power and they are better able to cater to the needs of the general public because of their understanding of ground reality. Job security is one of the biggest motivating factors for people to choose this field. The speaker also opined that the scope of career growth in state administration services are limited when compared to the offerings of the centre. UPSC has a multidisciplinary approach to this exam and therefore the candidates who appear for this exam are well equipped to face the challenges of other competitive exams like the ones offered by the Reserve Bank of India, Staff Selection Commission, The Ministry of Finance and others. The speaker also provided the details about the career opportunities relating to economics for our benefit.

The session ended with the contact details of the speaker and about the open elective course that they are offering to the students. The speakers (Mr. Renjith and Mr Manjith) also gave us a glimpse of the questions that appear in the civil service exams. Overall it was a very informative and enriching experience.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

A session with a Bamboo Artist

14th June 2018

The fifth semester UG elective students doing Social Ecology had a rendezvous with Mr. Vizo Putsure, an alumnus of 2010 EPS batch who is currently working as a Bamboo artist with the Nagaland bamboo Resource Center on Thursday, 14 June 2018 during 11-12. 

He was talking about the popularity and growing acceptance of bamboo based constructions and products from the environmental sustainability angle especially in Nagaland and how people like him became the advocates of bamboo based products. He narrated the process involved in treating bamboos to make value added products and how it can be used in constructing houses and doing interiors. He showed pictures to explain the same. He also demonstrated a product designed by him – an echo- to the class. Students were eager to know more about his works, the durability of bamboo based constructions, the acceptability of bamboos among common people, the benefits and limitations in using bamboo, types of bamboos ad their uses, harvesting and treating bamboos and the various products.  

Orientation on Youth for Seva

15th June, 2018

An orientation was conducted by Youth for Seva, a Non-governmental Organization on 15th June 2018. The orientation was conducted as a part of the curriculum. The students of fifth semester PSENG,PSECO and EPS attended this orientation as a part of their Sociology Elective on Analysis of Contemporary Sociology Problems. The orientation exposed us to the services of the organization: its purpose, the services conducted, their achievements and to highlight their ten years of service. Ms. Kavita from Youth for Seva briefed the students about Youth for Seva. She highlighted the impact of the organizati0n’s work on national level.
Youth for Seva has established itself in 34 cities across the country with approximately 45,000 volunteers, over 150 corporate partners and 200 NGO partners. The organization works on improving the lives of underprivileged families, providing improved quality of living, education and employment to women. The organization’s motto is ‘experience the joy of giving’ which is evident in the dedication that they have towards their contributions. Ms. Kavita had informed us of the activities that we would be a part of through which we could apply our learning.
The session gave us an insight of the amount of effort and work it takes to make an effective change in the lives of people. The orientation gave us a clear idea about the kind of work which we would be undertaking as a part of our curriculum. Students were well informed about Youth for Seva and their concerns were efficiently clarified. It was enriching orientation and several students have decided to perform their Service Learning under the guidance of Youth for Seva.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Orientation on Janaagraha

June 12, 2018

An orientation class was held at 11am on June 12th for 5th semester students (of PSENG,
EPS, PSECO) studying Analysis of Contemporary Social Problems. There were two speakers
for the session-Ms. Sangeeta and Ms. Sunita, representing the Janaagraha Organisation.
The main purpose of the session was to introduce the organisation to the students so that
they can engage in fieldwork for service learning which is a part of their curriculum.
In the one hour session that followed, a lot of information was shared with the students.
The students were informed about the core mission of Janaagraha and its focus on two
main aspects i.e. infrastructural quality and quality of citizenship. They shared various
attributes essential to being a responsible, engaged and active citizen of the country. The
kind of work that the organisation involved itself in was explained to the students. They
mainly work with school children of age group of 11-13 years and provide them with
experiential learning. They design lesson plan for these children accordingly. The speakers
encouraged the students to join their organisation and apply their knowledge practically by
serving the community. Flexibility in certain aspects of volunteering was allowed to the
students. The students were informed about the benefits of joining the organisation i.e.
they could be catalysts for behavioural change that leads to active citizenry and they would
also receive a certificate from the organisation for volunteering with them. Certain
expectations of the organisation were also mentioned to the students.

Overall, the session was an informative one. A lot of queries were raised by the students
and they were effectively answered by the speakers. The students made note of the
organisation and its areas of work. Interested students decided to sign up and look forward
to having more detailed sessions with this organisation.

Friday, 1 June 2018

An Interactive Session with Dutch Minister and Diplomat Sigrid Kaag

(Image from Nuffic Neso)
Nuffic NESO (Netherlands Education Support Office) India had organized an interactive session with the Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, to be held on 25 May 2018 at The Taj West End. Unfortunately, due to an emergency meeting, the Prime Minister had to fly back home. However, the question and answer session still took place, with Minister for Trade and Development Sigrid Kaag replacing the Prime Minister. Minister Kaag has previously worked as a diplomat, and with the United Nations in various capacities.
The event was attended by about a hundred students from IIM-B, IISc, IIIT and RV College, and five of us from Christ University. Each of the participants was required to prepare a question, which they would get the chance to ask the minister. The atmosphere was very relaxed, and the programme began with a couple of icebreakers, and a quick quiz on the Netherlands, with free goodies for those who answered correctly.
The session with Minister Kaag lasted about half an hour, and she was able to take a dozen or so questions, on topics ranging from education to traffic, technology, environment, economics and human development. The entire programme was also broadcast live on Nuffic NESO’s Facebook page. Several Dutch and Indian diplomats were also present at the programme.

The entire session was very insightful, and all of us who attended had some take away in the form of information about Indo-Dutch relations, world development and opportunities to study or work in the Netherlands. There was also a high tea arranged for all the participants at the venue. 

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Samhita Bharadwaj: Exchange student at Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea

My name is Samhita Bharadwaj and I am an exchange student from Christ University, Bangalore currently studying in Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea. I am assigned under the Department of Sociology but have taken subjects that correspond to my triple major course back home.

Preparing for the Move:

Travelling can be quite intimidating if you’re going to foreign place. Especially a country where you don’t speak much of the language. But still, the essence of travelling is such that the experience you get out of your whole travel can be filled with a truck load of experiences and lessons. And these experiences and lessons, we hold and cherish for a long time.  I am embarking on such a journey. A travel more so for one whole year, specifically 2 semesters. I look forward to learn and further cherish the experiences that lie ahead but even now I’m filled with a slight sense of disbelief. ‘Is this really happening?’ And as I think such thoughts, behind me the floor is filled with trays and boxes within which are all my medicines and creams. My suitcases are all open and waiting to swallow in all the goods and bags I’m planning to pack. But still, there’s still one thought that’s running in my head. ‘I am leaving home for the longest time in my whole life’

It’s been 6 hours and a half hours and my suitcase has finally devoured all that I stowed within. I am ready. All I need is a night’s rest in my bed which is quite conveniently facing the doorway. Moreover, my suitcases are all lined up near the door, some are in the living room, my camera and all electronic devices are left to be charged now. All what needed to be done is done.
With countless thoughts running in my mind, I decided to write a letter to myself titled “to be read after the exchange”. This way I can recall all those feelings and moments before departure. And I think this is a great way to put down the thoughts and somehow capture the time. Even though this week has been extremely hurried buying things in the last minute, there are quite a few things I have learnt and realized.
Firstly, there are three sets of things anyone choosing the exchange must know. It is Paperwork, Farewell and CIAs. The last 2 months running upto the exchange will be filled with so much running around for paperwork or visa or signatures on top of which your friends and classmates will prefer to demand more time with you. An important rule of thumb is Priority. What is most important, at this very moment must be considered. More importantly, what is not what’s important must be prioritized but never ignored to the last minute. In my case, contact lenses, glasses, hospital checkups and dental and eye appointments was a must before I left. However, because all these “must done” happened in the last minute, it became very difficult to get to classes and still focus on CIA activity.  Yet I did it, and fortunately I did it all and received what I needed to receive.
The Paperwork can be divided into the respective bound to university paperwork, (in my case Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea), the Student D2 Visa document list, and finally, finally, forms from our home university to be signed from several signatories like Head of Department, the Dean and COE. Another rule of thumb to be noted here is Time Management. Since most of these professors and sirs are not available at all times, it is crucial to leave some time aside through the week and gradually get all the signatures. The quicker we inform and receive the signatures, the better.
The CIAs include those from all subjects and even from the CCs that you may take. It is a must to tell our Open Elective and all our teachers before we leave about 1-2 months in prior. Better yet, informing them in December is a good decision as it also gives them to time to know when we are and are not able to attend classes or complete any assignments. Most of universities in South Korea begin their first term in the first week of March and require students to reach their respective universities and dorms by the last week of February. Thus, it is important to finish all the CIAs by the midweek of February or even the first week of February if possible to allow a little time for any native home visits or family time. It is also important to note then as we embark on the exchange, IPM freezes our attendance at a set date beyond which our attendance gets stuck and we cannot change it. So it is crucial to attend classes as much as possible to avoid any shortage of attendance.
And finally, the last and hardest bit for me is Farewell. Indian families are so complex that as an individual we are related and connected to so many people we look up to and admire. Maybe the family can compose of even friends and in my case, my university friends. It’s almost as if it was yesterday when I told them I am leaving. Seeing their reactions, watching their gestures always created a mix of emotions in me and it still does. But still, it is essential to set some time aside to visit any relatives, cousins and most importantly grandparents.

Before I have travelled to places where families and friends were certain to welcome me with open arms. For the very first time, I am embarking on a journey to face the unknown. With a nervous and excited heart, I hope and pray for this beautiful journey to be filled with so many moments I can look back and smile too. Once again, it’s all about keeping an open mind and hoping for the positive. And of course, there’s always to remember that one person’s experience is not necessarily another person’s destiny.
Both my mother and father both chose to come along with me to Daegu, Korea. These are our suitcases 
In Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea: 

As my timetable has been set for this semester, I will be attending the following classes.

1.      Modern Korean Society ( Sociology and Anthropology)
Where we survey the structure and patterns of contemporary Korean Society with an emphasis on understanding the cultural themes underlying Korean behaviour and social organization. Major concepts in sociological and anthropological approach will be taken throughout the course.
2.      Cognitive Psychology and Practice (Department of Psychology)
Where we discover the inner workings of the human mind and how efficiently humans use the mind in a variety of tasks they perform. Attention, Memory, knowledge representation, reasoning, language use are some of the cognitive capabilities will be analysed along with several research methodologies in the history of experimental psychology.
3.      Money and Banking (College of Economics and Business Administration)
Where we cover the essence of structure of financial markets and financial system along with understanding topics such as asset allocation, behaviour of interest rates, investment and banking.
4.      Politics of International Law (Department of Political Science and Diplomacy)
Where we focus on the significance of International Law in global politics and the political dimension of international law. The roles of international legal norms, institutions, practices and regimes will also be analysed. Other concepts covered are Sovereignty and Territorial rights, Just war, Human rights, International crime and ethics of commerce will also be analysed
5.      EU and Global Development ( Office of International Affairs)
      Where we understand the EU as a special international organization with its role in global order and politics. Through the module, I will gain an understanding of integration and role of EU in sustainable development. Topics such as Budget, Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Security and International Aid and Education will also be analysed.
6.      South Korea and International Relations ( Office of International Affairs)
Where we survey the international relations of the Republic of Korea with other countries in its foreign policy. Countries within Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and West Asia along with other territorial countries in their diplomatic relations with Korea will also be dealt with. Us, students will also be presenting our countries and their respective relationships with South Korea.

My experiences in photographs:

  It snowed in Korea on March 8, 2018

The temperatures drop in the evenings

The classroom for South Korea and International Relations

Among the tall trees...

Wearing the hanbok, the traditional dress of Korea

Posing in front of a wall in a street in Daegu