Mary Storm is a resident director for SIT Study Abroad in New Delhi, India. The OSU approved program that she facilitates, focuses on National Identity and the Arts. In this post, Mary tells us about her job, and gives a glimpse into her world.
What brought you to be a resident director?
I completed my Ph.D. in South Asian art history at UCLA, so I spent a lot of time in India doing fieldwork as a graduate student. I came to love, not only the arts of India, but India itself. One day (many years ago) I decided that I would like to be immersed in what I study; I’d rather live and research in the same place.
What are some unique aspects of your city and country?
Delhi is a huge crazy city and just like New York, Tokyo or other big vibrant cities, it has its ups and downs. Delhi has many layers of history, back into antiquity, because of this there are monuments hidden away all over town. You’ll be walking down a road in a modern residential neighborhood and suddenly come across a 13th century building. As the capital, it has great exhibitions and arts festivals. There are good restaurants, shops and medical facilities.
What is one thing most of your students may not know about you?
I have a diploma from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, but I cook mainly Middle Eastern food. I am a dedicated vegetable gardener, and I have two much loved dairy cows.
What are some of your favorite aspects of being a resident director?
I love to see students rise to meet the challenge of living in a very different culture. We see students arrive in India shy, hesitant and unfamiliar with Indian society. They usually leave confident and excited with a world of new skills and knowledge. Studying abroad truly can change lives.
What are some of the challenges of your job?
We travel a lot during this program. Travel logistics are difficult in India, and we spend a lot of time fine-tuning schedules. I give about 1/3 of lectures, but it can be a challenge working with other academic schedules. India is infamous for government bureaucracy and we must negotiate that.
What have you seen as the biggest challenge for incoming students?
Physically: the heat and dust of India can be hard, and some students have tummy troubles. Socially: Learning to negotiate different gender expectations and notions of social behavior can be difficult for American students.
What is your advice for students planning to attend your program, or to study abroad in your country?
Come and join us! Experience a very different part of the world; come with “an open heart and a strong back.”
What is one thing you think students shouldn’t forget to pack for life in your country?
What do you think is the most important take-away for education abroad students?
Humility and open mindedness.
To learn more about Mary’s program, follow this link!