Switch and Bait

Last week I spent three days in the (now infamous) Global Issues module. I’ve made no secret here on the blog that I’m not enjoying the work for this course and that I’m having trouble finding it interesting.

Everyone is aware of what a “bait and switch” is.  Somebody advertises one thing, and then you get to the store and they offer something else that isn’t as good, or isn’t as cheap, etc.  We use it to refer to people deceiving one another on the value of time, people, etc. all the time.

My experience in class last week was in many ways the opposite of that.  I was completely unsold on the value of the class, and had been avoiding the work related to it as much as possible, and openly dreading the time in class as it approached.

First of all, Dr. Iyer kept class interesting and I found the topics we spoke of much more engaging than I’d expected.  Despite being tired and up late almost every night this week, the days whipped by pretty quickly and I was expecting them to drag.

We covered quite a bit of ground around ethnocentric attitudes and preferences vs. ethics and we got a huge look into Indian culture in particular by the end of the three days.  I know some of the practices that are frowned upon (and some which could get us arrested!) in India, and some various customs to avoid and embrace while we’re there.

A brief excursus into poorly translated signs for westerners (like the dry cleaner sign that said “for best service, drop your trousers…”) gave us a good laugh, and we did case studies on the film industry, medical tourism, Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs) and the dabbawallas.

The dabbawalla are a fantastic lunch delivery service with nearly 100% accuracy despite having thousands of staff workers and over 170,000 lunches delivered (from the worker’s individual homes!) each day.  Check out this short documentary on them:

I didn’t expect to enjoy the class, and after these three days I’m getting pretty excited about the trip.  Now I just need to finish my packing list and get everything ready!

Monday numbers:

  •  6 class days left.  (really 5 1/2….we won’t have a full day on December 6)
  • 11 days until we leave for India!  (It’s going to go fast.  I have been vaccinated for typhoid now, though)
  • 75 days until the last class when the capstone has to be done.
  • 89 days until graduation.

It’s really time to pick up the pace now, put my head down and push through.

Oh, and as a parting “fun”…here’s an instructional video on how to use a non-western toilet when visiting India:

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