Alumni Spotlight: Dallon Asnes

Dallon studied abroad in India during the 2016-2017 school year. He is a physics major at Pomona College.

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Why did you choose this program?

UW's program in Varanasi is quite established and it seemed to have very good academic options. CET is very good at answering questions and responding to emails so that encouraged me to continue looking into the UW in Varanasi program.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Before the program started, UW/CET offered an online webinar. I worked closely with my college's study abroad office to help get everything set up.

CET offers a number of scholarships that can help cover program tuition. Also, I had a Boren Scholarship that year, which is another great option to help cover tuition abroad.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

You don't need to bring anything special, there are a couple of western grocery stores in the city so I felt I was able to access everything I needed. Also, be proactive in visiting nearby sites. The semester flies by and it is much easier to travel toward the beginning of the semester because research papers are due at the end.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Beginner through advanced Hindi courses were offered in the morning, but I didn't take those so didn't have to come in until the afternoon. I would spend my mornings exploring the city and have classes at the program house in the afternoon and evening.

On most Fridays, we went on a guided tour of the city that corresponded with our Urban Geography curriculum. I think this was the best part of the program.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was to be living in Varanasi. Before I arrived, I had heard that the city was the noisiest, dirtiest, etc. When I got there, it took a few days to adjust but it soon felt like home. The program staff were great resources to talk to when living in Varanasi did become overwhelming, whether it be from the heat, noise or anything else.

Do you have any recommendations for future students?

I shared a room with a local college student during my semester in Varanasi. It helped me reach another level of depth in understanding the culture and also was great for improving my Hindi, but it was also very challenging at times.

My roommate and I became close and having a local friend helped me explore the city. We even went on a trip to his village in a neighboring state during spring break. Depending on what you are interested in, having a local roommate might be something to look into.