Our Final Week in India – Week 6 with the Bharti Foundation

Our final week here in Gurgaon started off with a hectic trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal (it would be rude not to when in North India!). The train journey1 was just as crazy as the bus journey to Rishikesh in week 5. A lack of understanding resulted in the team buying the wrong tickets and the first hour of the journey was spent playing musical chairs across nearly all the carriages. We arrived at the hostel Saturday evening but had an early night in preparation for viewing the Taj at sunrise on Sunday morning.

It was certainly worth the effort, for when we arrived we were part of only a handful of people in the complex. The monument itself was even more spectacular than we had been told, however the ongoing maintenance work prevented any of us getting new Facebook profile pictures! Another highlight of the trip was bumping into another Economics student from Newcastle who had just graduated… Small world!

An equally stressful journey back returned us to Delhi on Sunday where another quiet evening was needed to prepare us for work. The last week has been the most stressful with the report needing to be complete for Frida2y and the small matter of presenting our findings both to the Vice-President and CEO of the foundation. We quickly realised that presentations in India are very different from back home. There is no etiquette for waiting for questions till the end and a phone will be buzzing every 30 seconds, however these proved to be nice breaks when presenting and the feedback we got was incredibly positive.

We finally finished the report after a painfully slow process of making sure the formatting and grammar was perfect, this had to be done because there is a very large chance the report will be published!

It was extremely sad saying goodbye to everyone at the office, as we have had the opportunity to work with the most amazing, dedicated people who have gone above and beyond to make us feel welcomed. We have all learnt so much from the experience and the chance to work on such a meaningful project that will help the QSM team in the future is the best thing for all of us.

The 6 weeks has been full of ups (and maybe a couple of downs)… from Chris falling in a giant puddle to working with the amazing students during the field work. We’ve been so lucky to experience the most happening place in the world that is Delhi!

Over and out,

GEO Bharti Interns

Saying Goodbye is Never Easy- Week Six with SEWA (RUDI)

We were welcome3d with open arms into India, IIM-Ahmedabad, SEWA and RUDI and it is with heavy hearts that we have slowly begun to say our goodbyes to this beautiful place. Keeping in mind that this was our final week in India, we all tried to make sure we to do all the things we want to do before we leave on Monday.

Josh, Shari, and I made it to Agra last weekend via a short flight to Delhi and a 3 hour train which departed from the incredibly busy Delhi Train Station. During our visit, we managed to hit all of the mainstays of Agra: the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Baby Taj. However, our two additional, personal favorites, also included Akbar’s Tomb and Joney’s Place, a rather suspicious looking restaurant that served amazingly delicious food for cheap prices. With that, our time in Agra was up, and we headed back via train to Delhi. We had hoped to see some of Delhi during this visit, however, rain and train delays had different plans for us.

Back in Ahmedabad, we made our final touches to the 44 page document that we were to present on Tuesday to the officials of RUDI and SEWA. However, we showed up to our office to present and, in classic Indian fashion, we were told that the presentation would have to be delayed until Thursday. Though disappointing, this was good news for Sofia, since she had been running a fever all night and was miserably sick with an unknown illness that took 2 days to recover from.

When Thursday came around, Sofia’s health had improved and we were able to present our final report. They thoroughly enjoyed our presentation and were impressed by the recommendations that we provided. In fact, they were a bit shocked at the amount of time it required us to present our whole report. Despite this, you could tell how grateful they were by their engagement and questions. After this, it was time to say some our first goodbyes. We had built a close relationship with Mr. SS Patel and were sad to part ways. A few pictures later and we were taking our last rickshaw back to IIM-A from the office.

All in all, this has been an incredible experience that we both have enjoyed greatly. We have taken a lot away2 from this internship, including the numerous skills we have developed, the many friendships we have made, and the incredible memories of our visits around India. Not only was working with an Indian union and company an amazing opportunity, but so was working with people from the US, UK, and India and seeing how our different working styles and viewpoints came together to make a flawless group and a fantastic end product.

India has treated us so well, but all good things have to come to an end. We say goodbye to the IIM-A and international student friends we have made tonight and soon we will have to say goodbye to each other too. We have become a small family and made a small home in India and it will be hard to leave, but we will forever be grateful for the time we have gotten to spend here.

GEO SEWA Interns

Week 5 in India with SEWA

Last weekend we ventured to The Blue City of Jodhpur! We booked a sleeper bus once again after not getting the tickets on the train we had booked (India has a odd booking system!) but nevertheless we arrived in Jodhpur after a long restless nights sleep. We arrived early in the morning, checked into our hostel and did the first thing most tourists do in Jodhpur, check out the Mehrangarh Fort! As13775494_10153847883788261_7335014717373254917_n we edged up the hill in our auto, every moment was so picturesque as the blue city slowly emerged beneath the towering fort. There we spent hours admiring the intricacy in the architecture, the history and the spectacular views of the blue city below us. We then had lunch at a restaurant called Real Taste, probably one of the best meals in India we’ve ever had (even the butter naan was so delicious). We then wandered through the blue city, checking out the clock tower, market place and stepwell. The city was much bigger than Udaipur so we relied heavily on autos that took us down narrow and pothole filled roads, that were very much like Boston.

The next day Josh and I, went ziplining around the fort while Shari and Sofia went on the search for some bargains in the market. The food was that good at Real Taste, we couldn’t resist and had to come back again for lunch. We ended our trip with a walk about Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park, where we saw a number of different birds and plants, a monitor lizard, some weird looking insects and witnessed a pack of dogs trying to catch a rabbit! We jumped back on the bus that night and headed back to Ahmedabad to get to work the next morning.

Our second to last week has involved trying to finalise our Marketing Plan for SEWA Manager Ni School (SMS). Our goal has been to enhance the marketing strategies of SMS in order for them to be able to fully market themselves towards their trainees and in
vestors. In addition to this final proposal, we have also created a brochure, a video script, and a proposal for an external webpage. Everything is slowly coming together and soon we’ll present our plan to the SMS team, we hope they like it! As our fifth week comes to an end, we’re slowly realizing how little time we have left.

We’re also realizing that soon we’l13782204_10153862430858261_8840684078355884798_nl all be back home in the UK and US, not knowing if and when we’ll see each other again. But we are glad we’ve had the opportunity to work and travel in India together. We’ve learnt a lot about how different the work culture is in India and even our own cultural differences between us, such as in the way we speak, and the words we use. While we often tried correcting each other and debated about which was right, we’re appreciative of the differences we have and will cherish this opportunity we’ve been given to work in such a culturally diverse team. While it’s sad this internship is coming to an end, we’re also looking forward to our trip to Mumbai for our last weekend in India together.

GEO SEWA Interns

Week 5 at NISM: Blood, Sweat, Tears and Beers

The weekend was spent mostly in the office/ working on our reports, although we enjoyed breaking up the day on Sunday with another run around Vashi Pond, despite the disappointment at not being able to rent a pedalo…


In the morning we had our final session in the trading lab, where we incorporated real time news into forming our trading techniques. After lunch we had to cractimk on with our projects if we were going to get them finished by deadline on Tuesday evening. Upon realising that we were going to have to stay late at the office, we informed our supervisor, Nandini, who responded by asking us if we wanted breakfast. After the initial shock and concern that we were expected to stay overnight, we were relieved to discover that Indians have two breakfasts a day, and that Nandini had been referring to ‘second breakfast’ which, at NISM, is served at 5.30pm. This news only got better upon the revelation they had infact bought a mountain of Domino’s pizza which we soldiered through.


A hectic day in the office spent finalising our projects. Today the excitement of second breakfast got a bit too much for us, when we decided to make the most of the endless McDonald’s burgers with some of us (no names mentioned) consuming 5 each. Our supervisor came and found us looking very content to tell us, with a degree of concern, that the kitchen had infact only ordered one burger per person… and thus we gained the reputation of being the “greedy interns”.


Having finally handed in our research projects the evening before, we spent the morning preparing to present them to the board in the afternoon. The presentations went well and we were pleased to find out that Sandip is planning to incorporate them into some NISM seminars. After work we headed out for beers with Nandini and Sandip to thank them for their fantastic supervision over the last few weeks.


Our reports were returned to us with notes and we spent the morning making a few tweaks before officially handing them in. In the afternoon we were treated to another of Bollywood’s comedy gems, called ‘Tanu weds manu: Returns’. Without wanting to give too much away to potential future viewers, it involves several elaborate Indian weddings, a secret artificial insemination scandal, a sassy divorced Indian lady drunk wig shopping alone at night and it ends with a teenage athlete (confusingly played by the same actress as the sassy divorced lady) karate chopping a lawyer who has forcefully inhabited the divorcee’s bedroom at her family homegroup2. 10/10 would recommend.


Having finished all of our official work, the morning was taken up with certificate-giving and goodbyes, followed by a trip to SEBI for a tour and lunch with a member of the Director’s Executive Team. In the evening we were treated to a lovely meal at the Mumbai Cricket Association Club with Sandip and his wife.

GEO NISM Interns

RBI Week 5: Retreats and Reflections

This weekend we took a break from the busy streets of Pune and enjoyed a pleasant trip to Goa. Our adventure began at 9 pm on Friday evening when we embarked on an 11 hour sleeper bus that took us from Pune to Panjim. We didn’t have the best expectations for the journey, yet were delighted to find clean and spacious beds, comfortable pillows, and gracious bus drivers; the bus ride feIMG_1277lt like it only lasted 2 hours and before we knew it we had landed in Goa.

We were fortunate enough to be greeted by taxi drivers who knew exactly where we were going, although they tried to charge us for air-conditioning and a waiting fee for breakfast – after 5 weeks in India, we knew we didn’t have to pay. Upon arriving at our hostel, similar to the bus-ride, we were pleasantly surprised by the accommodations; we had a whole room to ourselves, clean sheets and towels, as well as access to a bathroom, food, and drinks. We spent the majority of our first day there at a local beach restaurant called Prince of Tides. The owner was extremely gracious and the food was quite inexpensive. The owner, Shelton, let us DJ, gave us complimentary drinks and food, as well as good conversation! Our night in Goa was equally fun as we visited local nightspots and bars. The next day we went back to Prince of Tides and were trapped by tremendous monsoon rainfall. While our original plan was to visit the city, we didn’t mind being confined to such a fine establishment.

After coming back from Goa, we realized that we should have planned other excursions, given that every part of India is a mystery of its own.

On Wednesday evening we returned for our usual dinner, but instead were greeted in the grassy courtyard by a live Indian band. There was an array of food stalls enclosed within the lit up trees surrounding the courtyard, freshly baking naan in a wood fired oven, accompanied by a variety of curries and a huge wok of assorted vegetables with spices. Feeling full after the meal, we expected to relax, however, we were forcefully invited to join in with the dance to a famous Indian tune. This was another time to experience the local Indian dancing, and once again we couldn’t keep up!

Entering into our final week in Pune, we can’t believe how quickly our time here has passed. We would recommend future interns to take our experience further by exploring other cities, indulging in street food (even if risky) and indulging in all India has to offer – something we are all very excited to do ourselves after we finish.

GEO RBI Interns

“Finding Ourselves” in the Himalayas – Week 5 with the Bharti Foundation

So this was our first weekend away, and despite changes in every single one of our plans, we miraculously made it on the bus to Rishikesh, a beautiful holy city located at the foothills of the Himalayas where we decided to go and “find ourselves” – apparently that’s what you do when in India… With a bus that could more accurately be depicted as a roller coaster, we survived 12 hours of non-stop jumping in the air. Despite the bus, Rishikesh was undoubtedly worth it. To our surprise, we found it inhabited by more monkeys than people, while the whole town seemed busy walking around for 10 days.

As our journey coinciwaterfall 2ded with a traditional way of celebrating Shiva during the monsoon season. After a 15 km trek somewhere in the Himalayas on Sunday, we came back achier than ever before, ready to begin the busiest week of work yet. Interspersing our main research project, we were given the additional task of collecting primary data in two more government schools located in Haryana, where Bharti’s Quality Support Programme is well under way.

So, this time our aim was to assess its positive impact and thus we designed new questionnaires for the teachers and students, which we had to administer in two groups due to the time constraints. In the meanwhile, our report on the Quality of Education is taking its form, with only a few days remaining until we have to present our findings to the Foundation.

As our experience comes to a close, we all feel this incredible opportunity has flown by, and we don’t feel ready to leave just yet. On our first day, our supervisor told us that “Indians are always in a rush, but they never reach on time,” which was arguably one of the most accurate descriptions of India ever uttered. Also, when asked what makes India unique according to us, we realised that we couldn’t name solely one thing. Everything and everyone here has a special aspect that simply makes it impossible to compare to what we are used to, and this is perhaps the best thing about India. From the cows that stroll down the middle of the street, to the hospitality that verges on force-feeding, to the shameless and fascinated stares (that make us feel like celebrities), and to the abundantly but expertly spiced food, India couldn’t have made us feel any more welcomed.

GEO Bharti Interns

Visiting Pune – Week 4 in India with NISM


To Pune, the team ventured for the weekend to experience a different part of pune visitIndia and observe how it differed to where we have been staying in Vashi. After arriving at the hotel we were staying at, Aurora Towers, we all went straight to the pool for some swimming games and well executed lifeguarding by our resident lifeguard. After the swim, a shower and a change, we went to Pizza hut to fill the cravings of missing the western world and then out to meet some of the other interns on the RBI internship at a local place called the Frozen

Sunday morning whilst a number of us were enjoying one of the few lie-ins we have been afforded, Tim and Mark went to explore Pune. Visiting a cave temple and an old castle which was previously owned by the government of Pune, which was made an experience by a very determined and persistent woman, who kept asking for money.


Monday and Tuesday seemed to merge, with not much happening bar more work on our projects as we start to near the end of our intern before we go on to travel. Along with another interesting session in the trading lab where we were given more practice of experiencing the different aspects of the market and provided information on how different financial products work and how to deal with them.

Wednesday/Thursdaybeing told to do work

Talking to convince was the topic for the next two days, with renowned speaker Pawan Gupta providing a presentation on the different scientific processes that occur when presenting presentations on Wednesday. Though not many people are aware of these subtleties that are occurring. With Thursday providing insights in to how to creatively present, through the use of all participants impromptly being made to give a minute speech on a range of topics, with some great stories being provided… Including a funny insight into how Arnold Schwarzenegger built himself up and didn’t listen to the naysayers. With the ending of the conference being finished with a traditional trip to Tight, where it seems the locals have come to recognise us.


With the week coming to a close and only a week left of the internship, the group started to put one final push into our projects and spent the day trying to get them to a point at which they will be ready for the deadline next Tuesday. Before finishing off with a night in together listening to music and having some fun.

GEO NISM Interns

Work Hard, Play Hard- Week 4 Interning at the Bharti Foundation, India

Saturday was the13775599_1287642804580885_7501570343305090450_n last day in the field at the Sarvodya Kanya Vidyalaya school, thus completing our research. The team headed back to the guesthouse physically and emotionally drained after 4 days exposed to the heat. However, we were all thankful for the opportunity to work with the amazing staff and students at both schools. Saturday night saw us socialize with a colleague who took us out in Delhi. He had promised to show us the “real” Delhi Nightlife. A party in the top floor of the tallest building in Delhi certainly did not disappoint.

Sunday saw us continuing our exploration of Delhi. This time, we headed to the Chattarpur temple. Although this temple was not as historic as some of the other sights we have seen, it was no less beautiful. Built in 1998, this temple was designed to give the homeless people of Delhi somewhere to take refuge during extreme weather. The biggest feature of this temple was a giant red statue of a Vishnu (Hindu god) that can be seen in for miles around in all directions (nice pose Andy). Later that Sunday, we headed to cyber hub to have dinner with another work colleague, and then utilized an early turn-in to recover for timage2he upcoming busy work week.

Work this week has us focusing on analyzing our results from our fieldwork, as we try to complete our report. Therefore,making the basis for our recommendations on how the Bharti Foundation can include key stakeholders to help deliver their ultimate goal of delivering universal quality education in India.

This weekend, the team is heading to Rishikesh in the foothills of the Himalayas for an action packed weekend of white-water rafting, yoga, and trekking. (Not thinking about the overnight six-hour bus journeys on Friday and Sunday nights).

Looking forward to the next installment!

Andy and Chris, GEO Bharti Interns

Week 4 With RUDI (SEWA) – Happiness “Rains” in India

It is hard to believe we are coming to the closing stages of our fourth week interning with RUDI and the work we’ve completed on our project is simultaneously moving closer to the finish line.

To date we’ve made three long and tiring visits to Pij (a small town an hour and a half away from where we are staying) in order to carry out our market research into how RUDI products compare against competitors. We met with the Rudiben who are involved in producing RUDI products at the Pij processing centre and Rudiben who sell RUDI products to customers in the surrounding villages. We have also interviewed RUDI customers, Pij residents and local shopkeepers. The language barrier has been difficult to overcome. Our interviews have all been carried out through a translator and at times have required a double translation from Gujrati to Hindi and then into English. Being unable to speak the language makes the interviews challenging, time consuming and at times frustrating for us but we have (soMeeting the RUDIben women far) successfully managed to gain an interesting insight into how the Rudiben operate and how RUDI is perceived. And if these interviews are tiring for us, we can only imagine how draining it must be for Siddharth (our Indian colleague who studies at IIM Ahmedabad), who is the main cog in translating from Hindi to a language we can understand.

We have planned a further visit next week to the Anand office, which is the main office in the district we are conducting research. We will interview the district coordinator, several more Rudiben and a few Leaderben. Successfully completing these interviews is vital for our ongoing analysis and will help us provide suggestions and recommendations to incorporate into our report which
focuses on areas of RUDI that could be improved.

Though this seems as if it would take up all of our time, we have still managed to meet many people on campus at IIM Ahmedabad, where we are staying during the Internship. From regular students, to exchange students, to kids taking English classes at IIM-A, there is no shortage of people to meet. We watched the Euro 2016 final with many French students who suffered the agonising heartbreak of losing to Portugal in extra time. We say hello to people we must have met at the beginning of our stay here, but quite honestly, who we don’t really remember. One of the highlights was playing football with kids from underprivileged backgrounds who are learning English. They showed us how football is played here with complete happiness as they slid through the muddy pitch which has been ruined in the past week from the heavy rainfall from monsoon season. The happiness of these kids has been shared with us from many of the people we have encountered and seems to be endless here in India.

Coming up nextFootball, we have planned a trip this weekend to Jodhpur, the second largest city in the Indian state Rajasthan. Jodhpur is famous for its forts and temples and has been nicknamed “the blue city” for its many buildings painted in blue. We will be travelling by the infamous Indian trains which we have heard a lot about and are definitely looking forward to.


Josh and Sofia, GEO SEWA Interns

RBI Week 4: Monsoons, Mumbai, and Masala: Making Memories

“A nation’s culturfddse resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people” – Mahatma Gandhi.

At the end of last week we had been planning our weekend trip to the beautiful province of Goa, a few hours southwest of us. Unfortunately, due to the difficulty in booking Indian busses without an Indian credit card, we have had to reschedule to this weekend. However, this did mean that we had the opportunity to explore more of Pune and the surrounding area this weekend, and the chance to look forward to Goa for another week.

Several members of our group took a trip to a spa in Pune called Touche and found that 90 minutes and 1 deep tissue massage later found themselves de-stressed and content. As they found one way of relaxation, the other group of us headed to Lonavala, a lush green hillside divided by rivers and waterfalls. We headed to Pawna Dam to take in the wonderful scenery and converse as best we could with the locals. Of course, as it has been monsoon season for several weeks now, it rained for nearly the entirety of trip, and we founrbiintersd that we didn’t need to go anywhere near the lake to get our feet wet.

We spent most of the first part of the week working diligently on our projects as we realize that now time is of the essence. On Wednesday we were taken to the main Symbiosis University campus just outside Pune, which resides on the top of a larg
e hill, providing excellent picturesque views. We got an insight into the student’s projects there and were pleased to find similarities to our own projects. We found that many of the students also had an interest hearing our views on the recent decision for the UK to leave the EU.

The next day we traveled back to Mumbai to visit the RBI central office. We took our first real tour of the city and got a feel for how large the city was in comparison to Pune. We were able to visit the RBI museum, the Mumbai regional office, and the famed RBI central office, all in one busy afternoon.

As our fourth week here comes to a close, we realize that the end is nearer to us than the beginning, and can’t help but feel that the time here has slipped away from us. We plan to use our remaining time here to the fullest extent, and can’t wait to find out what India has in store for us next.

Nicholas and Daniel, GEO RBI Interns