Global Citizen of the Week: Chagan Sanathu

Global Citizen of the Week: Chagan Sanathu

Chagan Sanathu, a business and public relations major, came to the U.S.from India in August 2008 to attend Goshen College. She is now an Admission Office intern, an International Student Club leader and a member of the Photovoice Project sponsored by the CITL office.

Facts about India:

• Capital: New Delhi

• Official Languages: English and Hindi

• Size: 1,269,219 sq. miles, slightly more than one-third the size of the US

• Cost of round trip: $1300

• India has the largest number of post offices in the world.

Information from the CIA World Factbook and the Pakistan Defense.

Q. What do you miss most (besides family):

A. I miss the variety of smells: the smell of the local tea shops, the wildflowers, and the smell of the ground right after rain. The smell of the pine trees is my favorite.

Q. What do you like and what don’t you like about America:

A. I like the opportunities that America provides for young, independent women. I run my own life, pay my own bills, file my own taxes, and earn my own money through my campus job.

What I don’t like about America are the racial barriers that are created in the society. I find it hypocritical when I hear criticism in the media about the Latino immigrants. Americans seem to forget that they were all immigrants at one point.

Q. What is your favorite childhood experience:

A. I went to boarding school at the age of 10 and I absolutely loved it because I got to live and go to class with my friends. We would go hiking, stop and drink tea at the local tea shops, and get in trouble for not making it back to the dorms in time.

Q. What did you think about America before coming here:

A. I thought America consisted of all the big cities like New York, Chicago and D.C. I thought college was going to be like in the movies: shiny cars, big buildings, and little to no studying. Turns out one shouldn’t blindly believe what the media says and presents.

Q. What inspired you to come here:

A. I graduated from Woodstock and my high school counselor there, Dan Liechty, had talked to me about Goshen College. My grandfather always encouraged me to strive for the best possible education and my parents persuaded me to go to America. After looking at a few options, I decided that Goshen College was going to be the best fit for me.

Q. What are some of differences between the American and the Indian culture:

A. America is an individualist culture, whereas India is a very family-oriented culture. The food in these countries is also different. American food is bland compared to the spicy food of India. Also, Indian culture is generally more colorful and lively. I’ve also noticed that Bollywood romantic movies are so much better than the romantic movies here.

Q. What does a typical day look like for you in India:

A. A typical day in my boarding school starts at 7:30 a.m. and continues with a breakfast at eight. We start our hike up to the campus around 8:15 and begin to assemble in the high school by 8:30. Classes go from 9 till 10:45 after which we have a 15 minute tea break. The classes end at 3:30 in the afternoon after which the entire school gathers to drink tea. We have to be back in the dorms by 6. The doors to the dorms close at 9 and the lights are out at 11.

Q. How is Valentine’s Day celebrated in India:

A. Typically, you are surprised by your boyfriend or girlfriend with a giant card, a teddy bear, roses, or chocolate. In school we have “secret Valentines”, where you could anonymously put a note and chocolate in the locker of the person you like.

Interviewed by Bojana Jankova

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Written by Matthew Amstutz

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