Where learning is a two-way process | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Where learning is a two-way process

mumbai Updated: Sep 05, 2010 00:17 IST
Kiran Wadhwa

Eva Kaufmann left her home in Austria last year to teach eight students German at the University of Mumbai campus in Kalina. After she teaches them, the 40-year-old goes to learn Hindi at a class.

“I first fell in love with India when my grandfather took me to an Indian dance performance when I was six years old,” said Kaufmaan, who lives at Churchgate and takes the train to work every day.

At the Kalina campus of the university, there are a handful of teachers who have left everything just to come here to be part of the Indian teaching experience and for them Teacher’s Day is even more special. They all had heard horror stories about the country, several of which are true, but somehow it does not bother them.

“I have never seen such crazy traffic. Everyone is honking here. In Spain, you hardly use the horn,” said Miriam Salas, the Spanish teacher who landed in Mumbai last week, her first visit to India. “When I was young, my brother’s friend moved to Delhi and would write letters about his life there. Since then, I knew I wanted to live in India for sometime and not just visit it as a tourist.”

While the humidity and noise might shake her up a bit, for Salas the people are what count and the spicy Indian chicken biryani.

“I love Indian food. The Indian food you get abroad is so bland and nothing like the real thing,” she added.

The one thing that all the teachers admire and acknowledge about students here is their respect for teachers. “When I taught at a college in Bhopal last year, I had my first experience of this respect. When I left, the students came to see me off and got me a lot of gifts. They called it gurudakshina, a concept I had never heard of,” said Edwina Sanyasi, who is of Indian origin from Mauritius and lived in France.

“My family has no connection left in India but somehow I wanted to live and teach here,” said the French teacher.