A journey of personal growth
The step from Skövde to Pune, a city of five million in west of India, can seem far. But despite the long distance, the collaboration between the University of Skövde and D.Y Patil University (DPU) is close. Just back from Pune is Helena Enroth, professor of molecular biology, boosted with new ideas.
Helena Enroth, second from the right, is just back home from D.Y Patil University in India.
– A trip like this broadens ones perspective. India is a very exciting place. You should defiantly go there if you get the chance. It was truly amazing, says Helena, who during the fall of 2017 spent three weeks in Pune as a part of a SIDA financed project called Linnaeus-Palme. A teacher exchange program between the University of Skövde and DPU.
The cooperation between the Institution of Biotechnology and Bioinformatics at DPU has been fruitful for quite some time. Since 2009 teachers from the department Life Sciences have travelled to the town outside of Mumbai. Abul Mandal, professor of molecular biology and colleague to Helen, is a true veteran. Over the years he has run several successful research projects together with the colleagues in Pune.
– We have several patents together, and working on a couple more, says Abul who was also involved in the latest project, to establish a student exchange program.
Friendly and open minded
There are several differences to being a student in India, but also similarities
–They take classes at the same time, but are tested in a shorter time-period. The summer break is only a few weeks long, but India has more holidays during the year. The level of difficulty in the courses is similar even if the layout is different, says Abul.
As a teacher Helena had to get used to a different kind of approach.
– You are either called "Madame" or "Sir". "You" does not exist. But everyone is very friendly and opened minded, especially the other teachers.
Even if the teacher exchange was a contributing factor to why Helena looked into the project, it was the possibility of meeting another culture that ultimately made Helena take the trip.
– A lot is different. The mentality is one. Just take power outbreak for example. Even if Pune and DPU is a modern University, power could go out several times a day. In Sweden that would not have been accepted, in Pune you would just go and have a cup of tea. People work very hard, but at the same time are very relaxed, says Helena, who is now in many family albums.
– As a western you get attention, absolutely. But like I said, people are very friendly so if you go to Pune you'll have to take selfies with the residents. A small price to pay for the fantastic experiences you'll get during you time in India.