Photo by Dr. Ullas G Kalappura

What problems do North Indian students face at the CUSAT?

To be very frank CUSAT is not the place for the losers, the ones who doesn’t give a fight and the ones who are always comfortable in finding out why not to do a thing. I may sound a little rude, but thats what I experienced in my four years as a Northy guy in CUSAT. First of all let me clarify that CUSAT is an awesome campus, Kerala is one of the best states in India and Malyalis are really down-to-earth and helpful people. There are many other positives too, which I will be writing in some other article, but here I will focus mainly on the difficulties that a regular Northy guy faces in CUSAT.

1) Unfamiliar Language which is difficult to understand and almost impossible to learn:

Malayalam as a language is difficult to understand and I would say almost impossible to learn for the Northys and this is the single biggest problem a North Indian faces in CUSAT. From the jokes your classmates will crack in Malayalam to the doubts of the local students your teachers will be solving in Malyalam, as a northy you will always find yourself in an awkward situation, guessing things like a fool. But there isn’t much to worry about, your Malayali batchmates will be helpful, supportive and more than willing to explain things to you in English and even in Hindi (if they know Hindi).

2) Totally new culture and people with very different mindsets:

Kerala’s culture is what CUSAT follows. Don’t be in an illusion that since Kochi is a metro, you will escape typical Kerala culture. Yes Kochi is a metro when it comes to infrastructure, transport or mall culture, but you won’t be able to escape the typical Kerala culture atleast in Campus:

Girls will be seen nowhere in campus after its dark on regular days.

You wont generally find girls in western dresses moving freely in campus as is the case in DU, DTU, JNU or other North Indian campuses.(May be they feel that they will be judged wrongly if they do so as the culture doesn’t permit or the more cultured south indian girls will single them out.)

Guys in traditional Kerala Munds can easily be seen in official buildings.

One thing I really admire about Kerala and CUSAT is that the people here won’t judge you by the brand of jeans or shoes you are wearing,as is the case in North India most of the time. Local CUSATians take much pride in their Kerala culture and you should not have any problem with that. You will slowly realise that metros in North India have been westernised to such extent that we are not even appreciating the positives in our culture. You should learn from Keralites, how to appreciate your own culture.

3) No frequent home visits

Kerelites in CUSAT will be visiting their homes every time they get 2-3 days leave, sometimes even clubing bunks with weekends and going home, but you will have to wait, wait and wait patiently till the semester ends, and you get a leave longer enough to pay your parents and relatives a visit. But this is not that big a problem if you have a good group of friends and you love travelling and touring. Kerala do have many awesome natural heavens and hill stations to visit.

4) No Say in Campus Politics:

Northys have almost no say in campus politics in CUSAT, may be because of the different language and culture, or may be because many are disinterested in politics as they are very far away from their home. This hugely suppresses the genuine voices of the Northys in campus, and most of the organisational and administrative roles for various events and programs of the University are assigned to locals without even consulting the northys.

Note: The views expressed above are totally based on my experince and ought to differ person to person.