Social distancing brings international students closer to India

With the blockade in the city, many international students in Pune are struggling with feelings of anxiety, boredom, and nostalgia by virtually exploring Indian culture in a much deeper way.


“We are learning things during closing that we would never have had otherwise. How eating out is out of the question, and even non-vegetarian food is out of the picture, I'm experimenting with Indian flavors in the kitchen. Recently, I called my Indian friend, whose mother taught me how to make dishes like parantha, soy sabzi and dal, says Katim Touray, vice president of the Gambia Student Association.

Aspacia, a student from Germany, who came to India as part of a student exchange program for a few months, says that she, too, has been learning to cook Indian cuisine, that too, from her campus teachers! “The SPPU campus has groceries and vegetables for sale on campus, and the teachers who stay here are teaching us how to cook Indian dishes with them. That day, I had a lot of tomatoes out there, so I just texted my teacher asking for some recipes that I could use them on. She immediately shared a recipe for tomato chutney. She also taught me how to cook methi.

Aspacia, Germany 2

Maimuna Momade, who is from Mozambique, says that her friend from South India has come to her culinary rescue during these times and has taught her various simple dishes, such as rice preparations. Every time I feel the need to eat something different, my Indian friends are my favorites.


In addition to food, students are also learning more about design culture.

I listen to Indian songs (Bollywood) and then I try to learn to play them on my guitar, says Maimuna.

Neha Karna from Nepal, on the other hand, says that art is drawing her closer to both India and her Nepalese roots. “Mithila painting is common in both India and Nepal. Now I try and even my family is happy with that.