As a South Asian student doing this program, my experience was different from the other Scandinavians. This difference does not diminish my experience but it simply means, that I got an experience I would never get otherwise. The most ironic consequence of studying with people belonging to another culture in the place of your own culture is that, you end up really looking at your culture.
We all talk about widening our perspectives and looking at things differently. This is exactly the gift that this semester gave me. I never thought about the meaning of the small things that are present in my culture. We take most things for granted until we are faced by the question of their meaning. When my classmates would ask me the meaning of the meaning of the tilak (a dot on the forehead), the significance of the various rituals in a puja or the meaning of the confusing nods I would be led to delve deeper into the intricacies of my own culture.
The most obvious advantage for a South Asian doing this course would be the cultural exchange that occurs. I learnt as much from my friends about their culture as they did from me about mine. There is of course, the factor of being located in the South Asian culture that gives an emphasis on it. This means that the South Asian students get to experience their own culture through the eyes of foreigners which is a wonderful experience.
Academically, it is extremely enriching for South Asians to do this course as it is not often that we get to analyze our own conflicts from a point of view that is not South Asian. Listening to the opinions of others, nourishes the knowledge I had about these conflicts. Due to the accommodative nature of the syllabus, international perspectives on South Asian conflicts as well as on the discipline itself become accessible. Added to all this is, of course the amazing experience of just living in the gorgeous student house, in a part of India that stands out from the others.