India - A Country with Many Faces

Bachelor student Alexander Maxelon writes about his experiences during his internship in India.

Colourful, loud, chaotic. These were my first impressions of India as I went with a taxi from Bangalores airport to the Infosys campus. The two-hour drive through the Indian traffic chaos marked the start of a three-month adventure during which I learned a lot about India, but also about myself.

Infosys is India's second-largest IT corporation, has over 225,000 employees worldwide, and has been my home for the past few months. As part of the renowned InStep internship program, which was named the best internship in the world in 2019 by the career platform Vault, I lived together with 130 other interns from over 35 nations at the Infosys headquarters. In the heart of Electronic City, the district of Bangalore, which is also known as India's Silicon Valley, lies the huge corporate campus where everything from office buildings to a swimming pool, a cricket field and various food courts can be found.

But why India at all? Why not an internship in Germany or other European countries? I consciously decided to get to know India because it was a completely foreign culture to me, at the same time India becomes in a globalized world more and more important, especially economically. India is often described as the largest democracy in the world, is known worldwide as one of the largest software markets and will soon catch up with China and have the world's largest population. But there is also the other side of the coin: The majority of Indians still live in extreme poverty, the infrastructure, especially in rural areas, is often inadequate and the number of fatal road accidents is higher than anywhere else in the world. In India, backwardness meets progress, poverty meets wealth. In Mumbai, for example, it is less than a thirty-minute drive from Asia's largest slum to the world's most expensive single-family home. Such contrasts are what interested me and what I wanted to learn more about.

Naturally, I got to know India only from the perspective of a foreigner, but I was able to get a feeling for the customs and practices there thanks to many weekend trips and the work with my Indian colleagues. What fascinated me most of all was how diverse India is. In each state, a different language is spoken. From a physiognomic point of view, you can find everything from the highest mountains in the world to beautiful beaches. If one walks in a metropolis like Bangalore, it can happen that within a one-kilometre long road section one finds a temple, a church and a mosque. It is also remarkable how colourful India is. Nowhere in the world have I ever seen so many people wearing so many bright colours.

Besides all the impressions and the professional know-how that I acquired during my internship, I especially take back the many encounters with people. The contacts I made, the friendships I established. This allowed me to break down prejudices and to get the feeling that I witnessed a country taking big steps towards its future. It was a bit sad to leave India after these three months, as things will probably all have changed by the time I return.

My last task now is one that Mr. Murthy, founder of Infosys, gave us during a meeting: To represent India as a young ambassador in the world and to share all the great experiences, impressions and memories that will hopefully stay with me for a lifetime.