Three students from SSLA, Divya Pillay, Aayushi Singh, Manasa Gopakumar and one faculty member Prof. Aditya Nain, along with three other students from the Symbiosis Centre for Liberal Arts (SCLA) and its Director Dr. Hilda David visited Hildesheim, Germany in December 2012, as part of a short cultural exchange program that the Symbiosis International University organises with the University of Hildesheim, Germany.
The students conducted two workshops on “Women in India” for the students of the Institute for Intercultural Communication at the University of Hildesheim, where they spoke about the various aspects of the life of women in India, right from their relationships to their careers. Through the workshops they tried to bring out the complexities of the position of women in the Indian society, shaped by various other factors like the caste system and the long history of patriarchy. The students also incorporated a short role-play on the Indian arranged marriage system into the workshop, to familiarise the foreign audience with these traditions. The workshops received a great response from the students of Hildesheim, and these were followed by sessions where the students from both the countries shared their respective cultural experiences.
The group from Symbiosis was also invited to attend a seminar on “The Intercultural Film” taught by Prof Francis Jarman, who had accompanied his group of Hildesheim students to SSLA in September. The seminar explored the interaction between culture and film, with a focus on Bollywood.
In the one week that the students spent in Hildesheim, they also took part in a few student activities organised by their “buddies” who had visited them in September in India as part of the same exchange program, and also attended a couple of regular classes at the University.
Following their stay in Hildesheim, the group visited Berlin for four days and immersed themselves into trying to understand the history and culture of the country. They visited some very famous art galleries, museums, building of historical importance and also went on a couple of walking tours around the city.