Tuesday, April 19, 2005

IIMC from the eyes of an exchange student

An incredible amount of work has gone into making this website a 'must read' for all Jokaites and future students.

The IIMC campus is actually not in Calcutta, rather it's located in Joka, a town about 25 km south of Calcutta. The students call the IIMC campus "Jokaland" - which recognizes that the campus is located in Joka, yet is a microcosm that is entirely separate from town. Concrete walls enclose the campus with one central gate serving as entrance and exit, and within the secluded walls, the IIMC students have almost everything and anything they need. The students sleep in hostels, and eat four meals a day at the hostels' mess halls. Each hostel has its own small retail shop, selling convenience goods such as snacks, personal care items and prepaid cell phone cards. Newspapers are delivered daily and magazine sellers spread out their wares every morning after breakfast. There are excellent multi-media classrooms on campus as well as a new auditorium that seats 1100 people. A basketball court, soccer field, tennis court and badminton net ensure that students have opportunities to stay fit.

Never in my university experiences have I been lucky enough to be exposed to such a natural sense of community among students. In my observations, I have seen a few reasons for this closeness: the isolated campus at Jokaland (with 5-star hostel accommodations), technology - the online blueboard postings (even with the ranting) and the "send" instant messaging software - , and the students' sense of shared purpose. I'm sure there are other factors, but having only been here a month, this is what I have so far observed.

I've also been asked if I would want to come back to India - would I go through this again? My response: In a heartbeat. How could I not? The IIMCers have been so kind, generous, friendly, and funny! Many have fantastic senses of humor (although many seem to have trouble understanding MY off-beat sense of humor!). These students have a lot to offer India and the world, and I hope to see many of them in New York or wherever else we all end up!

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