We spoke with a former volunteer named Trisha from the United States who talked about her experience interning abroad in India with us. Let’s learn more about how Trisha found her environmental engineering internship focusing on water literacy issues!
What was a typical day for you like at the office working as an environmental engineering intern?
I worked as an environmental engineering intern in a very small town outside of Bangalore at a place called Water Literacy Foundation. The office was actually in the basement of the house of the founder of the foundation! The office environment was very laid back and I felt like I had a lot of control of what I could do on a daily basis. On most days however, I would start by helping update the Foundation’s Facebook and then I would ask if there were any documents that needed to be proofread for basic grammatical mistakes and rewording of sentences. I also helped research a couple different ways that the Foundation could help spread awareness to others. This usually consisted of thinking of creative ways to present information or looking into presentation software that was fun and interesting. For lunch the family would always cook and would let me have some of their wonderful Indian dishes :). On slow days there was also time to explore the town with the other interns and try some food from the local markets!
What is your opinion on India and it’s environmental/water issues?
I think India is great and is home to a lot of great individuals, but there needs to be a better connection between everyone on large scale issues like water scarcity. I think that one of the major problems with India’s water issue is the fact that people are not aware of all of the water saving techniques that could be implemented to help conserve water. I think if most people were aware of what they could do to help on a daily basis, it would become a bigger movement and would be able to make a huge impact.
Is there any way to better prepare yourself for the internship that Leave UR Mark didn’t mention to you?
LUM did a great job of reminding me to be very open-minded of all situations. This is some great advice that needs to be continually stressed. I have studied abroad through school and have learned that if you are not open minded and are not flexible, you will not have a good time.
I would have liked to be able to talk to someone directly at the place I was volunteering at, before arriving though. I would have liked to just have a short email conversation of what the Foundation’s goals would be fore me, and if there was anything I could have done to prepare so I could have hit the ground running once I got there!
What are the top 3 lessons you have learned from doing an internship in India?
• Indians are very proud of their heritage and culture and it is very important to learn about different traditions and take part in culture related activities whenever possible
• There is always an event or something going on that you can participate in, but you must be able to be resourceful and look for those opportunities.
• You must always be aware of your surroundings and be smart about not putting yourself in undesirable situations
Do you think this is an important internship for Environmental/Engineering students and recent grads from other countries to do? Please explain.
Yes, Especially if you are interested in water conservation specifically! There are a lot of opportunities in this internship for learning about Indian culture, going to specific sites to see how water harvesting techniques are being implemented and also meeting and interacting with some very passionate people that truly want to help improve India’s future. There are a lot of areas that encompass this specific internship and depending on what you want to do, it is easy to find something that will interest you!
What advice can you give to future interns who want to do an Environmental Internship in India?
Be prepared for a challenge. Indians are set in certain ways and it is hard to help make a large population aware of how they can change to fix what they have always known as a way of life.
To learn more about this internship, click here.