Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center at the American Immigration Council,...
Krishan Yadav shares his Indian Culture
The Exchange Visitor Program is pleased to announce Krishan Yadav as January's Exchange Visitor of the Month. Each month, we select an exchange visitor who has made an effort to get involved in his/her community and explore American Culture.
Krishan, 24 of New Delhi, India, came to the United States as a J-1 trainee to train at Planet Aid, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in developing countries. Although Krishan feared a potential communication barrier with American friends and coworkers before he came, he has continued to successfully share his Indian culture through food, story telling, and traditional holidays.
For example, Krishan shared the Indian religious festival Diwali with his coworkers.
"Diwali is the biggest religious festival in India," Krishan said. "I explained Diwali to my coworkers and the significance of this day to Indians. It's just like Christmas in the U.S. They were very receptive and asked a lot of questions about the significance of this day."
Diwali, according to Wikipedia, is considered a Festival of Lights for Hindus. Part of Diwali involves lighting diyas-cotton-like string wicks inserted in small clay pots filled with coconut oil-to signify victory of good over the evil within an individual.
Krishan has also prepared Chapatti and Dal for his friends and coworkers who, according to Krishan, were happy to have eaten a "foreign traditional meal." For most J-1s, half the battle of experience American culture is taking the first step-talking to your coworker, inviting friends to an event or talking about your home country. For Krishan, sharing his culture has heightened his understanding of American culture.
"Sharing my Indian traditions and customs has helped me realize that American culture is more Western and the Indian culture is more traditional," Krishan said. "Blending the two cultures has helped me to better understand American culture in more detail."