Ariana Pemberton is an alumna of the 2017 CLS Hindi program in Jaipur, India. Ariana is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from UC Berkeley in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Art History. In the Fall 2018 semester, she will be returning to UC Berkeley to begin her Ph.D. studies. After her doctoral program, Ariana plans to become a professor, or otherwise work closely with South Asian art and material culture.
Tackling Stereotypes and Misconceptions
While studying in India, I encountered many locals who asked lots of questions about America and Americans. This experience made me reflect on the assumptions about India and Indians in America. Now I am reaching out to communities around me in the U.S. and trying my best to eliminate many misconceptions and stereotypes about India.
Relationships Go Beyond Language
My host family had three members: my host mother, host father, and host grandmother. Although my Hindi was not quite good enough to fully converse with my host grandmother, we built mutual understanding beyond the language barrier and developed a very sweet relationship. I have a very fond memory of her taking me up to the roof of the house and listening the peacocks sing. She spoke to me in Hindi, and I admit I sometimes pretended to understand more than I really did, but the amount of time we spent together was meaningful to me – it didn’t matter that I didn’t understand her word for word.
Daily Dose of Hindi
Hindi is the first foreign language I’ve learned and I have found it useful in my daily life since returning from the CLS Program. I speak Hindi every day at work with my co-workers and customers and have been able to establish good connections and contacts with people related to my field of interest. Knowing Hindi is also very important when I conduct field work in India for my studies.
Learning Hindi in India
I think that learning Hindi on the CLS Program is an excellent choice! Studying in India and living with a host family there, especially as a woman, was challenging at times. It would be a lie to say I didn’t miss home a lot when I was there, but I do feel it was an excellent experience and I wouldn’t change it if I could.