Classes have not started for our program, but everyone has begun settling in here at the university. I intend to find out about the campus and city little by little while I am here, but five months could not possibly be enough time to do as much as I want to. Already, though, I find great comfort in my semi-temporary home base. Home base is the University of Hyderabad.
Like most international students at the university, I stay at Tagore International House, a dorm hall on the south side of campus. Tagore accommodates us well, and I especially have no complaint about our meals, though the wi-fi connectivity can be unstable. For the most part, we each share a room with another student from the same program. A common area upstairs has space for schoolwork, games, ping pong, and movies. The house staff is so friendly, as are our program directors, whom we met late last week and who are enthusiastic and helpful.
This week, we did not attend classes but had some orientations on topics like enrollment, conduct, and health. Still, there was quite a lot of free time. We walked a mini hike on campus, watched the award-winning Bajirao Mastani, and talked over tea times. The campus is rather large at over 2000 acres, but the long walks are nothing to dread when greenery lines the streets. Passing by, there is the occasional peacock or water buffalo.
The University of Hyderabad is just on the outskirt of the city of Hyderabad. We are not far from the city, but getting to most areas requires a scooter bike, auto rickshaw, or car. In town this week, we have visited a few places like a local cafe, a nearby mall/supermarket, and another Hindu temple. For a kind-of-fancy dinner with our directors and also for fun, we shopped around Shilparamam for some nice kurtas. Kurtas are a sort of long shirts that can be worn casually, and Shilparamam is a bazaar with crafts and clothing. It is the type of place where one could, and probably should, go about bargaining. Earlier tonight, we watched Jagga Jasoos in theater with one of our directors, too. It was a pretty cute movie!
So far, I have gotten to see just a small part of the university and of Hyderabad. So far, I like it. Tomorrow is my first day of classes. I will for certain take Hindi, but three other courses are undecided because the enrollment process is slightly different for SIP students. As much as I have experienced in India in my first two weeks, the start of classes should be another kind of beginning. The start of piecing together a new routine, I have this to look forward to tomorrow.