Saturday, September 3, 2011

Closing Time

Well I arrived back to the U.S. a few days ago and so begins the journey of transitioning back to my old life!  My internship in Kolkata India flew bye and it feels as if I just left.  If I had to pick one major highlight of the trip it would be the cultural experience that I gained.  A different cuisine, religon, climate and style of life are several things I experienced there.  My international internship stretched my boundaries and now, I appreciate some things that I took for granted before. 
I start school in a few days and I will transition back to the normal Eau Claire college life; however, the memories, friends and relationships I made in India will always be in the back of my mind!  Thank you Citytech Software, UWEC along with AIESEC for a unforgettable experience half-way around the world.


Monday, August 22, 2011

End of week 5!

Week 5 has come to a close and time is flying by.  It feels like I just landed in Kolkata; however in 7 days I'll be heading back to the USA.  I still am doing quite a bit of marketing work and finally feel like I "fit in" with the company.  My boss has been very gracious and along with some other friends, I have seen a good portion of the city.  The city and the surrounding area of Kolkata has a population of almost 15 million people and even though Kolkata isn't the biggest city in the world it is number 3 for people per square kilometer. 

This is my last week of work and even though I didn't hit the Sunderbans, I plan on seeing more of the city along with some restaurants that my boss will take me to.  One thing I won't miss is the humidity.  Every night it dips to maybe 78-80 degrees and with no A/C the cool nights of Autumn in EC will be accepted with open arms when I return.  One more blog til I come back home. 


Friday, August 12, 2011

Week 3 and 4 Finished!

Week 3 is done and I'm a little late posting this; however, I have had some busy days at work!  I am finally getting used to the humidity though I swore to myself I would never live in a humid climate when I graduate.  At Citytech Software, I continue to send email along with phone calls to the U.S. and I am gaining real-world marketing experience.  It's crazy to think that my internship is almost 1/2 over but you know what they say: time flies when you're having fun.
I have moved to another house in the south of the city and everyday I take the metro to work.  The metro has a few air-conditioned trains; however, the majority of them do not and are hot.  When I say hot, I mean workout, run a mile on an 90 degree day hot.  At night on the way back to my house the trains are packed, elbow-to-elbow and it's always good fun.  There is a saying in India that if you can live here, you can live anywhere else in the world.  I'm not 100% that is true but I'm learning to live with a different culture, environment and cuisine.  (aka I haven't had beef in weeks, haha) 
Here are few photos to give you a small taste of Kolkata.  More to come.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Week 2 Done!

Well week two is coming to a close.  This week I spent a good majority of it in the office.  My boss wanted me to really work on the marketing side of my job so everyday I have been making 10-15 phone calls to the United States.  My main job duty is contacting old and new customers in hopes of them partnering with my company.  Being an American with fluent English I call companies and give them my sales pitch!

Overall, calling many different U.S. companies has stretched me and has given me more confidence.  Even though you can't see the person the conversation or the "sales pitch" feels just as hard.  I came close to finishing a deal and this week I will find out if the deal was done this coming week.  I am getting really good at sending email and I guess in hindsight, I never expected to be doing what I am doing; however, this experience so far has been productive.  I feel it will help me in my future endeveour.

In my free time (1/2 of Saturday and Sunday) I was able to see a little more of Kolkata including "Park Street," which is a famous street for restaurants, bars and clubs.  I went to a modern club with my Indian roommate known as Roxy, Saturday night and it had the "Big City" feeling to it.  Tomorrow starts another day of work. Work.. Work. :)



Monday, July 25, 2011

Week 1 Finished! "BEEP BEEP"

So my first week is offically over, it went by extremely fast.  I spent most of week (near 55 hours) at work, where I received various trainings on website developement, mobile application development and CRS systems.  All those things sound techincal but after only a few days, I am getting the hang of things.

I work everyday 11-8 with an hour lunch break where I always go to the "Food Station."  This American-style restaurant is very close by and reasonable.  A normal meal costs me around 150-200 ruppes or 4-5 USD.  They don't sell beef here in Kolkata, so I eat a lot of fish, chicken and eggs.  My boss took me to an interesting northern-Indian style restaurant Saturday night where I tried near 30 different types of food.  From potatoes to curry to different types of bread -- overall it was a good experience and I tried everything. (well.. almost everything) :)

The weather is very humid -- similar to a summer day in Philly or Tampa.  It is around 85-90 everyday with at least 50-70% humidity.  I find myself sweating a lot and take more showers then normal.  Sometimes 3 a day!  I eat less food, even though I probally should be eating more for all the sweating I do, haha! :)  I haven't gone swimming yet because the only body of waters I have seen are quite dirty.  I saw over 100 people bathing in somewhat of a mini-river on Sunday and I can't imagine it was clean water!

On Sunday I went to a science park with my boss and his kids.  It brought me back to when I was little and how much fun those science parks were.  I was able to experience more "Indian-driving" from my house and on the return trip.  I wasn't the one driving but my boss was.  Let me say that Indian driving is more crazy than U.S. driving, and even more crazy then Mexican driving.  Indian drivers cut people off without warning, random people walk through the street, there are no street lines, so in a street that should hold 2 cars there are usually 3 that are parallel to each other.  My favorite part of Indian driving is that everyone BEEPS.  It doesn't matter if your approaching an intersection or if you see someone crossing the road -- almost every Indian driver will beep -- and not once, usually up to 4-5 times in a row.  After a few days of this the beeping is almost becoming normal to me.  That's all for now.  Soon I will add photos or maybe a video.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

First Impressions

Day 1!
So here we go.. I arrived to New Delhi this morning and had a layover for a few hours.  Within the first few minutes, it seemed everyone was staring at me as I was the only "white" person around.  The city, what from I could see in the airport was how I imagined it would be.  Big, crowed and hot.  However, this was not my final stop.  I was on route for Kolkata or "Calcutta."

I was awarded a scholarship to do an internship in India and my final choice was a company named City Tech Software in Kolkata, India.  The company deals with Business to Business (B2B) marketing with websites.  I arrived to Kolkata around 8:30 a.m., a little jet lagged and tired, but my aspirations were high.  I was met by two gentlemen from AIESEC that greeted me and paid for a taxi.  We were off.

I will be staying with a family of one of the AIESECers friend for a few days while my other house gets prepared.  His name is Jimmy.  I was greeted by the family and right away they offered me a typical India dish known as Thepla. It is similar to a Mexican tortilla and I dipped in potatoes and a yogurt type food.  I realized quickly the family that did not eat meat as they are Hindu.  (predominately the main religon of India)  After breakfast I was given a tour of the area around their "flat" or house.  I went to subway for lunch.  Thank God for chicken! haha!

My first impressions of the city, to be completly honest, are shocking.  I saw many people sleeping on the street in the midday.  I saw many beggers and felt sorry for them.  The drivers are similar to Mexico city: crazy.  Because India was british ruled, they drive on the opposite side of the street and the steering wheels are on the right.  There are no street lines and I swear every biker almost gets hit by random cars and buses!  The food so far has been good but I have so much still to try.  Tomorrow is my first day at my job and I will go to the office, as I am told, around 10 a.m.

That was my first day in India!  Kolkata is a city that has a rich history and I'm eager to explore and learn more about it.  A place I am excited to go to is The Sunderbans.  It is a jungle with a wide variety of creatures from alligators to the local bengal tiger.  I'll try to upload pictures soon enough of my adventure.  I will post on a weekly basis.


Dane Ziperski