Five natives of India guests of Rotary Club

STEUBENVILLE – Members of the Steubenville Rotary Club were in for a treat during a meet and greet held Tuesday at Bella Hall.

Five natives of India were on hand to meet members of the local Rotary during the visitors’ first leg of a month-long trip to Ohio.

According to Jim Emmerling, Steubenville Rotary president, the group traveled to the area as a part of a Rotary group study exchange program.

“I started planning this venture when I first became president in June of 2012,” he said. “Cory Wingett is the chairman of this group and he played a big part in making sure the exchange happened.”

Dharmendra Joshi, Tiny Jain, Kushagra Rajul Rawal, Pamil Modo and Suril Jayrajsinh Sarvalya arrived in Ohio on Sunday and spent four days in Steubenville, Emmerling said.

During their time in the city, they were housed by local Rotarians, including Emmerling, Paul Rothfuss and Ashley Steele.

“We took them to a Pittsburgh Pirates Game at PNC Park as well as Phipps Conservatory, which just recently opened an Indian exhibit,” Emmerling explained. “They also toured Franciscan University and visited with the Rev. Richard Davis as well as received a tour of Trinity Health System thanks to Public Relations Director Keith Murdock.”

All five members are Hindu and follow a vegetarian diet so they visited a vegan restaurant in Robinson Township, Pa., during their stay. Christine and Bob Hargrave also hosted the group for dinner.

Emmerling mentioned the five members are from various parts of India and they did not know each other until they were selected to participate in the program.

Joshi serves as the group’s team leader and is the only member that serves in a Rotary club in India.

“This group is designed for non-Rotarians to be involved in a cultural and vocational exchange,” he explained. “It is meant for them to explore and gain awareness about other cultures.”

This was Joshi’s first time guiding a group outside of India. He explained the participants went through an interview process at both local and district Rotary clubs.

“Part of the program is that the participants are required to stay at local Rotarians’ houses and learn the culture even more,” he noted. “This is the first time any of the group has been to the United States, so it is an exciting experience.”

Joshi said he is “excited to learn Rotary in this part of the world and how people work in Rotary in the United States.”

“There is such a need for community service in India and that need is not as wide in the United States, ” he said. “I am intrigued to learn how the Rotarians work to serve their communities here.”

He enjoyed touring Franciscan University of Steubenville as well as Trinity Health System.

“Everything was so different, especially the health care facilities,” he said. “The facilities are very nice here. The money people put into the hospital systems in this country is very different than in India.”

Jain, a dentist from Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, spent time with Dr. Tom Brown during her stay in Steubenville. She and her husband own their own practice in India.

“I spent two hours with Dr. Brown, and it was a great experience,” she explained. “I was excited to come on this trip to learn about the American industry and see how advanced it is. I enjoyed learning that the Indian industry is coming close to that of the United States.”

She said that her host home has been very comfortable and she has been able to see how different life is in the United States.

“I noticed that there is a lot of independence amongst families here, as where in Indian we have a precise family time each day from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.,” she stated. “We sleep in later, starting our work days at 9:30 a.m. each day and ending at 8:30 p.m. Everyone has been very warm and welcoming during our stay in Steubenville.”

Rawal is from Bhuj, Gujarat, India and is an adviser and faculty member at a secondary school. He also owns a business counseling and mentoring students.

“I decided to pursue this opportunity to learn about the U.S. education system and see what I may be able to implement in my work in India,” he explained. “I am planning to meet with some high school principals and college professionals during my stay in Ohio.”

He, too, said he enjoyed visiting Franciscan University as well as PNC Park.

“This was my first every experience at a professional baseball game,” he said. “I also had a great time with Jim (Emmerling) and his family. He is a great man and has become a good friend.”

Modo is a music lecturer and performing artist of Indian classical music from Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. She also teaches children to promote Indian classical music.

She decided to participate in the trip to learn about different cultures and to see how India differs from the United States.

“I especially wanted to see the way music is taught and was interested in learning new techniques to take home with me that will help teach children in India,” she noted.

She spent some time with Carolyn Glaub at the Center of Music and Art in Wintersville and she said the teaching style is different.

“The student and teacher relationship, one on one, is the norm here, where as we teach our students in a group so they have a feeling of togetherness,” she explained. “Music is very vast in India. The northern and southern parts of the country have absolutely different kinds of music. Those in the north are not able to sing the classical music of the south because it is so different.”

Sarvalya is a computer software engineer from Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India. His primary reason for joining the group was because his grandfather was a founding president of his Rotary club.

“I was excited at the opportunity to meet and stay with people in the United States and to get to know the culture,” he said. “I will visit some IT companies during my stay and hope to learn new technologies to implement in India. I work for a multi-national company and many of my clients are from the U.S. as well as other European countries, so I am excited to be able to learn techniques that may benefit them.

“I really enjoyed PNC Park and the atmosphere of the game,” he said. “Baseball is similar to cricket in India and I enjoyed learning the game of baseball because I previously played cricket at the national level in India,” he said.

The group will leave Steubenville Thursday morning for their next destination. They are scheduled to visit Rotarians in Alliance, Wooster, Canton and Youngstown.