Our member, Mr Sushil Ghosh, shares his memories of Aiken, Germany, where he went for his higher studies in structural engineering, with Mousumi Gupta.
Mr Ghosh fondly remembers his university days and the winter holidays when his friends’ families took turns to invite foreign students to spend five days during Christmas with them.
After completing graduation in science, he joined as a research scholar in Maithon Dam project, where he came very close to a German mechanical engineer working there. Mr Ghosh expressed his wish to go to Germany for higher studies.
Somehow, the German engineer felt that Mr Ghosh had the capability to do better in life but said “You have to appear for an exam and get selected and then can go there with scholarship.”
He took it as a challenge and appeared for the entrance exam, got selected and landed in a small university town in Germany named Aiken.
“Landing up there is one thing but getting to know the language was a big problem for all the foreign students as the lectures used to be all in German,” recalls Mr Ghosh. “I used to sleep in the class as I didn’t know even a bit of the language.”
A girl in the class, with little knowledge of English, helped him get the class lectures translated into English. The practical-oriented approach helped him cope with his studies in the beginning. Within a short span of time, Mr Ghosh learnt the language and started to converse.
During Christmas holidays, the families there would invite them to spend five days with them. That was an initial understanding about their culture, tradition, behaviorism and importance of families in their lives during Christmas.
The absolutely different variety of food preparation, participation of every family member in decorating the newly bought Christmas trees-all that was very exciting for him. Even the hosts used to be very proud to let their relatives know that an Indian came to stay with them.
He gradually learnt customs and adjusted his lifestyle. He was also invited to Helsinki and Stockholm during Christmas to some of his friends’ houses. Though he worked and stayed in the UK for 35 years, but the “colourful life” according to him and the memories of Aiken are very close to his heart.
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