Hi! My name is Tayler and after completing my second year of studies in English Language and Linguistics, this past summer I was able to participate in one of the University of Southampton’s international internships. It was prefaced as a leadership and teaching internship, taking place in India. Located in the state of Tamil Nadu, I lived and worked in the city of Coimbatore – an industrious and vibrant city filled with a rich cultural heritage reflected in its temples, customs and traditions.

My internship took place at a local school in Coimbatore, which catered to students from the 1st to 12th standard. I was granted a rather flexible role, being allowed to engage and participate in different lessons and observe how the education system works in India – drawing comparisons to the education system in the UK. Navigating different teaching methodologies and observing the teachers’ dedication to fostering young minds, the experience was nothing short of exciting.

I was also given the opportunity to teach a few English classes, which pushed me outside of my comfort zone. The idea of standing in front of a room full of enthusiastic students was initially daunting, yet it became an avenue for immense personal development. It was certainly gratifying to impart knowledge, and also share my culture with the students – which they found fascinating and were eager to ask questions about.

The school itself was a hub of energy and passion. The enthusiasm for education and learning shared amongst the students and teachers was contagious, and I found myself inspired by the community that had developed at the school. My interactions within the school provided me with insight into the Indian way of life. Moreover, I had the privilege of attending the school’s sports day, which included an impressive grand opening ceremony, filled with performances from the students and even a skilfully conducted musical band presentation. The event showcased the student’s hard work and commitment to striving for excellence.

Outside of my internship, I was able to explore the south of India. Visiting temples, such as the Dhyanalinga Temple and the Pateeswarar Temple Rajagopuram, and also trying the cuisine of Tamil Nadu, such as dosa, pongal, rasam, sambar and so much more! I immersed myself in an authentic Indian experience – appreciating India’s vast and deep history and culture. Whilst I have already left India, I look forward to returning very soon.

Reflecting on my time in Coimbatore, I’m deeply impacted by the invaluable lessons I’ve gained. The internship has provided me with vital experience and knowledge in the field of education, offering applicability not only to my undergraduate degree in Linguistics but also enhancing my career prospects upon graduation.
Beyond the internship, I’ve acquired an understanding of a culture that is as rich as it is diverse. The experience has taught me the importance of open-mindedness, cultural sensitivity, and the power of creating connections across boundaries.

My advice to other students:

If you are able to take part in any internships or studying abroad opportunities which are offered by the University of Southampton, I highly recommend applying. Not only are you able to experience a different country/culture but you are also able to cultivate meaningful connections and create memories that will last a lifetime. Additionally, the team at Southampton is extremely helpful and it’s reassuring to know that when abroad you will always have support if needed.

A Summer in India

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