Students organize trips to India to promote intercultural dialogue

In India over 23 official languages are spoken, along with over 1,000 minor languages and dialects, each belonging to a different culture. The best way to experience this cultural diversity is through travel.

Destinations India UBC is a program founded by three UBC students who want to present India as a travel destination, and share their own experience of touring through the country. Founders Aadil Brar, Asad Ali and Amiteshveer Mann are all from the Indian sub-continent -- and hope to introduce it to other students.

With this program, participants will be able to experience India without having to deal with the stress of planning a trip to a foreign country.

“We are going to show you places [in India] that you don’t usually get to see as a regular tourist. It’s not any conventional tour, there’s also a social work aspect to it,” said Brar.

The first trip is planned for August 2015, spanning approximately two weeks. The intended itinerary involves visiting all the major cities in North India: Delhi, Amritsar, Agra, Bombay and Jaipur as well as visiting the famous tourist spots.

Additionally, this trip provides an opportunity for humanitarian work in the country as the organizers have collaborated with established NGOs in the cities to create day trips to rural villages, allowing insight into both urban and rural life of the country.

“India is just so diverse in itself. Each city has its own language and culture. For us India is like a mini Europe,” said Ali, when asked about the inspiration behind choosing India as the destination.

India celebrates it's 69th year of independence on August 15 -- providing an ideal time to experience what the country has to offer, according to the founders. The parade in New Delhi, the country’s capital, is both a solemn and a jubilant event.

“We are familiar with this part of the country. We already have an existing network there, so we will be able to organize a trip specifically designed for you,” said Brar. “It is something different and special -- to see a new place through someone else’s eyes. It will be a lasting experience.”

Destinations India UBC hopes to initiate an ongoing dialogue between Canadian and Indian students, and aims to organize two trips every year to the country.